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1. The Beacon:

This is the plot to an episode of Babylon 5.

Just throwing it out there.


avr wrote:

There's a lot of races with strength bonuses there (even +4 for minotaurs) which makes the dwarves not really comparable as melee types. If they're supposed to be magical creatures who would be spellcasters rather than fighters that's fine I guess.

Monstrous humanoids get simple weapon proficiency from their type. It might be worth noting this, or ruling it out if minotaurs aren't meant to get that.

I had not noticed that. I'm going for a low magic setting, but I think one magically inclined race won't break the bank. It goes with dwarves crafting magic weapons and armor.

I'll add a note about the simple weapons for minotaurs.

Thanks.


ronald paris wrote:
like what i see but the phalanx ability of amazons is problematic they're medium size so its hard to visualize them being in the same space maybe a bonus for fighting alongside each other

OP or just hard to visualize? An average doorway is three feet wide. The average person's personal space is three feet (arm's length). Two people basically occupy six feet, untrained but I get needing five each to fight effectively.

Training gets you this.


So, like the title says: Are these races balanced with each other? If not what would you change? I'd prefer to beef up weaker races rather than weakening stronger ones, but I'm willing to listen to suggestions either way. Humans will likely need improvement, as they are standard and not homebrew. The dwarves are homebrew, however.

Amazons

Stats: +2 Strength, +2 Intelligence, –2 Charisma
Medium: Amazons are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Normal Speed: Amazons have a base speed of 30 feet.
Fearless: Amazons gain a +2 racial bonus on all saving throws against fear effects.
Resistant: Amazons gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting effects and poison.
Phalanx: Amazons are used to living and fighting communally with other Amazons. Up to two Amazons can share the same square at the same time. If two Amazons that are occupying the same square attack the same foe, they are considered to be flanking that foe as if they were in two opposite squares.
Weapon Familiarity: Amazons are proficient with short swords, shortbows, longbows, and shields.
Combat Ready: When Amazons wear armor of any sort, reduce that suit’s armor check penalty by 1, to a minimum check penalty of 0; and when Amazons use a tool of their trade (requiring at least 1 rank in the appropriate Craft or Profession skill) as a weapon, they do not take the improvised weapon penalty.
Languages: Amazons begin play speaking Omilía and those with with high Intelligence scores can choose from Aylic, Kor, Şıge, and Taghrid.

Dwarves

Stats: +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, –2 Wisdom
Medium: Dwarves are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Slow and Steady: Dwarves have a base speed of 20 feet, but their speed is never modified by armor or encumbrance.
Low-Light Vision: Members of this race can see twice as far as a race with normal vision in conditions of dim light.
Born From the Mountain: Whether in the deepest mines or on the heist peaks, Dwarves call the mountains home, moreover they call it mother, as they are descended from Earth Elementals. They are immune to altitude sickness and do not lose their Dexterity bonus to AC when making Climb or Acrobatics checks to cross narrow or slippery surfaces and can ignore difficult terrain created by rubble, broken ground, or steep stairs when they take a 5-foot step. Dwarven sorcerers with the elemental (earth) bloodline treat their Charisma score as 2 points higher for all sorcerer spells and class abilities. Dwarven clerics with the Earth domain use their domain powers and spells at +1 caster level.
Craftsman: Dwarves gain a +2 racial bonus on all Craft or Profession checks to create objects from metal or stone. Further, They are treated as proficient with any weapon they have personally crafted.
Healthy: Dwarves gain a +4 bonus on Fortitude saves against disease and poison, including magical diseases.
Long Memory:/[b] Dwarves keep extensive records of their history and the world around them. Dwarves receive a +2 racial bonus on Knowledge (history) checks that pertain to dwarves or their enemies. They can make such skill checks untrained.
[b]Stability:
Members of this race receive a +4 racial bonus to their CMD when resisting bull rush or trip attempts while standing on the ground.
Weapon Familiarity: Dwarves are proficient with battleaxes, heavy picks, and warhammers, and treat any weapon with the word "dwarven" in its name as a martial weapon.
Languages: Dwarves begin play speaking Kor. Dwarves with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Aylic, Omilía, Ötmek, Şıge, Söylemek, Taghrid, and Tale.

Kumo (spiders)

Stats: +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, –2 Strength
Medium: Kumo are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Aberration: Kumo are aberrations.
Normal Speed: Kumo have a base speed of 30 feet.
Climb Speed: Kumo have a climb speed of 20 feet.
Darkvision: Kumo can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
All-Around Vision (Ex): Kumo see in all directions at once and cannot be flanked.
Change Shape (Su): A Kumo can assume the appearance of a specific single human form of the same sex. The Kumo always takes this specific form when she uses this ability. A Kumo in human form cannot use her web ability but gains a +10 racial bonus on Disguise checks made to appear human. Changing shape is a standard action. This ability otherwise functions as alter self, except that the Kumo does not adjust her ability scores.
Web (Ex): Kumo can use webs to support themselves and up to one additional medium creature. In addition, they can throw a web up to eight times per day. This is similar to an attack with a net but has a maximum range of 50 feet, with a range increment of 10 feet, and is effective against targets up to large size. Kumo can create sheets of sticky webbing up to three times their size. To notice a web is a DC 20 Perception check. The DC to burst or escape the web is equal to 10 + 1/2 character level + Con modifier. Attempts to burst a web by those caught in it suffer a –4 penalty. Each 5-foot-square section of web has a number of hit points equal to the level of the Kumo that created it and DR 5/—. A Kumo can move across its own web at its climb speed and can pinpoint the location of any creature touching its web.
Languages: Kumo begin play speaking the language of the dominant culture in the area. Kumo with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic).

Minotaurs

Stats: +2 Strength: Minotaurs are incredibly strong.
Large: Minotaurs are large creatures and gain a +2 size bonus to Strength and a –2 size penalty to Dexterity. Large races take a –1 size penalty to their AC, a –1 size penalty on attack rolls, a +1 bonus on combat maneuver checks and to their CMD, and a –4 size penalty on Stealth checks. They take up a space that is 10 feet by 10 feet and have a reach of 5 feet.
Monstrous Humanoid: Minotaurs are Monstrous Humanoids.
Fast Speed: Minotaurs have a base speed of 40 feet.
Darkvision: Minotaurs can see up to 60 ft. with no light source.
Natural Cunning: Minotaurs possess immunity to maze spells and can never become lost. They are never caught flat-footed.
Natural Weapons: Minotaurs possess a gore that deals 1d8 damage; when using it they are not considered unarmed.
Languages: Minotaurs begin play speaking Kor. Minotaurs with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic).

Orcs

Stats: +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, –2 Intelligence
Medium: Orcs are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Darkvision: Orcs can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Damage Reduction: Orcs get damage reduction of 2 against bludgeoning and piercing weapons due to their tough, thick skin (DR 2/slashing).
Ferocity: An orc remains conscious and can continue fighting even if its hit point total is below 0. It is still staggered and loses 1 hit point each round. A creature with ferocity still dies when its hit point total reaches a negative amount equal to its Constitution score.
Weapon Familiarity: Orcs are proficient with bows, daggers, and hand axes; and treat any weapon with the word “Orc” in its name as a martial weapon.
Languages: Orcs begin play speaking Hau, Ua, or Waiata depending on what region they are from.

Xuilan

Stats: +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma
Medium: Xiulan are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Plant: Xiulan are plants. They have the low-light vision. They are immune to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms), paralysis, poison, polymorph, sleep effects, and stunning. Xiulan breathe and eat, but do not sleep, unless they want to gain some beneficial effect from this activity. This means that they can sleep in order to regain spells, but sleep is not required to survive or stay in good health.
Normal Speed: Xiulan have a base speed of 30 feet.
Languages: Xiulan begin play speaking Yun Shen. Xiulan with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic).

Humans

Stats: +2 to One Ability Score
Medium: Humans are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Normal Speed: Humans have a base speed of 30 feet.
Bonus Feat: Humans select one extra feat at 1st level.
Skilled: Humans gain an additional skill rank at first level and one additional rank whenever they gain a level.
Languages: Humans begin play speaking the primary language of their kingdom of origin. Humans with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic).


There's a lot of advice in here. And a lot of it is pretty good advice.
I, myself, am a DM of nearly 30 years experience (started playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons in 1988 and have picked up numerous other systems along the way). I've seen every kind of player you can imagine.

I've both played with, and ran games for this kind of player.

Here is the best advice I can give you: Kick him out. I know, that seems harsh, but there's a reason for this.

If this player has the chops to DM (and from my read in your particular landscape, he does so frequently) he knows what he's doing and, at the very least SHOULD know what kind of effect it is having on the other players (if it's pissing them off, they won't exactly be shy about it, and even if they are, as a DM, it's your responsibility to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves).

And kicking this particular player out isn't labeling him a so-called 'Bad Player'. He just enjoys a play-style that doesn't mesh with the other players in the group. This happens. I've had to do this myself.

Now, yes, you COULD give him a chance to alter the way he plays, but then that, too comes with it's own innate unfairness. You're asking him to change how he plays to suit your game and that isn't right, either.

So it's best just to politely ask him to leave the game and tell him that he's more than welcome to continue running games for you guys and that you'll be more than willing to bring him back for games that aren't quite as role-play intensive and rely too much on group input.

Just a bit of advice from an old warhorse that's just about seen it all.

Good luck to you.


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Erushin Laaslir wrote:
I'm currently playing in an amazing Emerald Spire game with my friends. I ran ES as far as floor 3 as recently as a year and a a half ago, so I've read the whole module already. In the past session, my character died (and another was a 2 or lower roll on a Lesser Restoration cast away from dying) due to a Con sapping poison. I didn't remember this particular mob having a Con poison and in my mourning/curiosity I converted my PDF to text and Ctrl F-fu'd the boss. Turns out it was a Str poison. We haven't done anything past that combat. I have new characters in mind but don't want to scrap a character that didn't actually die. What should I do and how should I bring it up to the GM?

To ease your mind, simply ask your DM when you have a moment. Take him aside and ask if he made the change on purpose or if it was a mistake. As you said, if he screwed up, see what can be done about it. Just don't do it in front of the group. Most DM's have no problem being caught in a mistake. I'll ret-con s%%@ so my players get a fair shake. Any good DM would admit the mistake and do their best to rectify it.


Erkenbard the Eyeful wrote:
One of my players, an elf, can be defeatist in attitude. His ally, a human, will probably be killed next session (don't ask why; it is a plot thing) and I am concerned the elf will just give up and return to the town. However, a Raise Dead device is located a little further on in the dungeon. If the elf does not give up he may be able to discover it. (And Raise Dead is unavailable in the town) What kind of hints should I drop about there still being hope without outright telling him that there is a raise dead device there? How do I phrase it? I've written this lengthy scenario and finally, my wellspring of creativity has run dry so any ideas would be welcome. Finally, if nothing works and he walks away, would you say he only has himself to blame? or should I be to blame for not directing him more?

There are a couple things that need to be answered here.

1) Is it the player who has the defeatist attitude, or is the character? There's a huge difference and it's important to know. If it's the player who has this attitude, you have to get to the root of WHY. One or two bad experiences with a killer/cruel GM can completely kill someone's love of the game (regardless of system). If he is a new player and has had rotten luck in game or has played with horrible players/GM's then his attitude is somewhat understandable. Maybe this dude just isn't a fan of the game and gets easily frustrated with all of it. Just talk to him and get a feel for why they have the attitude. Once you chew it down to the bone, you'll know what you need to do to keep your player going. If the attitude is a CHARACTER flaw, then just let the player know that such a character, while initially humorous for a session or two, does tend to get on people's nerves and should be curbed for the rest of the campaign. It's about EVERYONE having fun, not just one player.

2) Is it completely necessary to kill off a certain character? I mean really, REALLY necessary? Is the world going to end, is the villain of the story going to rise triumphantly and cast the realm into a time of darkness and chaos if this character doesn't die? If the answer is no, then don't do it. Simply put. Change the story to fit the player's style. Don't try to change your player's style to fit the narrative. That's just drama for the sake of drama and is a sloppy and lazy storytelling tool. Instead of killing the Human, have him be poisoned with some heretofore unknown concoction. Have one of your players make a skill check to identify it. If successful, they know what it is and what is needed to counteract it. If the priest tries to magic it away, their spell doesn't work because the poison is an alchemical compound that resists magical healing. It gives the player a reason to go on to save his friend. You'll get more people willing to save a friend than to avenge one.


This is a good time to utilize the Pathfinder Society Scenarios. They're easily scaled up or down based on your party's strengths/weaknesses and can be played with just about any number of players.

I've used these quite a bit to give certain adventures or adventure paths some additional flavor and background.


Professor Rastaban wrote:

I'm sending my players on an interdimensional dungeon crawl, and the next "level" is on the aforementioned "Plane Where Lost Things Go". But what lurks between the mountains of keys and stray socks?

I had the idea of them stumbling across various cryptids like chupacabras and yetis, and mimics fit in anywhere, but what else might my players run into?

There are no monsters there. Lost things end up in a warehouse on the northern outskirts of Yakima, Washington.


IceniQueen wrote:

Our group has been having an ongoing discussion about treasure split, how it should be done and how un-fair it seems to be.

What ends up happening is items get found, people that can use them claim them and someone feels like they got left out.

If we have any items no one wants or claims and mundane items and gold, silver, copper, etc, all of this gets divided by the party.

In this case we have 6 - 8 players in a typical game. Some of those players where not there the entire game, yet feel they got slighted treasure.

So the question, how does your group divide treasure and not have hard feelings?

This has always been a sore issue with every group I have played in as someone always feels they did not get as much.

This is a deceptively easy problem to solve. The liquid assets and how you divide them is fine.

Magic items should be divided randomly. If an item comes up that is usable only by one class/race/religion, then that particular character gets it, end of story. Anyone who argues about it is just being a dick and should be told to quit b@*!%ing or ejected from the game. Problem solved.

When items come up that can be used by anyone (Boots of Striding and Springing, for example) and everyone wants it, everyone rolls a d20, highest roll gets it (reroll for ties). No bonuses to the roll, none of that crap. Simple number on the die.

Now, here's the kicker. The person who won the toss, isn't allowed to roll for another magic item until everyone else has gotten an item. So, eventually even the people who weren't there, will be left with some sort of item.

Yes, I know this can cause it's own problems, such as 'Well, that item is cooler than mine'. This is, unfortunately, something that can't be helped, but randomly rolling for items is the best way to absolve any guilt. It was up to the dice, not a particular player.

And if you have a player that is the only one that can use something, he is automatically banned from rolling for anything additional on the grounds of, by process of elimination, he already technically won the toss. If your players are even remotely understanding, this should solve most of your problems.

It's the method I've been using since Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and still employ today and haven't had a single problem with it.


Velithin wrote:

One of my friends is presenting me with a rather difficult (but worthy) challenge: Solo a normally 4-man campaign

Starting Level: 1
Books Allowed: Core, UC, UM, ACG, ARG, APG, UE, UCampaign

I was originally thinking synthesist or reach cleric, but those are the only ones I know are innately strong. We're aiming to last till 15th level.

Any advice?

Edit: Again, this is what you'd expect from a normal 4-man adventure. No, he hasn't told me what kinds of creatures I'm up against, nor has he told me any of the specific challenges I will face.

My husband and I play one on one all the time. He will play a character (usually either a Fighter or a Barbarian), that can soak damage and can have a few utility skills that will help him out. Knowledge Dungeoneering and Survival are your friends, here. These skills will both allow you to know what a good 90% of the monsters you're dealing with are as well as how to defeat them. And given that most low-level adventures take place in a dungeon, it becomes obvious. Maybe go for a Paladin, so you can take advantage of your own healing abilities.

Also, talk to your DM about being able to Gestalt (learned about this in 3rd Edition Unearthed Arcana). It gives you a bit more options and will help you out.


Albion, The Eye wrote:

Ok, so a Fighter would do well in specializing in a weapon or group, as well as in a particular fighting style?

Does he have enough versatility to combine multiple fighting roles (say... being a Bodyguard kinda guy and also a mobile fighter, or being a tank kinda guy but also be able to 'shutdown' or harass casters)?

One of my personal favorites for a fighter is to make her human, gaining the extra feat at first level. She now has 3 feats to start. Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Sawtooth Saber (is considered a light weapon for purposes of two weapon fighting), Weapon Focus: Sawtooth Saber (is applicable to both weapons simultaniously) and Two Weapon Fighting. Given that in just one level, you'll be gaining another feat, go for either Improved Initiative and get a quicker attack time or go for Double Slice and apply more strength damage.

I've found great success with this build and use it quite often. The fighter's full attack bonus makes the penalties almost negligible.


I've been playing Gestalt characters for the past twelve years (since Unearthed Arcana was released in 2004).
A few things you need keep in mind:
1) Gestalt characters played side by side with single-class characters? Bad idea. Horrible. Don't do it, EVER. Period. It's just gonna cause arguments about the power gap.
2) Only do this with small parties. Three people or less, allow Gestalt characters all day, BUT, and I cannot stress this enough, LIMIT YOUR RESOURCES. Put down firm ground rules on what classes will and won't be allowed. There are class/feat/feature/bloodline combinations that can, and will, shatter your game like an NBA backboard. You'll be left with monsters/encounters that are getting WALKED THROUGH because of some unknown factoid that you didn't factor in.
3) No matter what the module/adventure path says, Slow XP progression, all the way. If you're playing with two players, maybe, MAYBE go with the medium. But whatever you do, avoid the fast progression table like the plague. You'll be ending an adventure with your players being nearly twice the level they should be if you're running an adventure path.

All of this is taken from experience both as a player and a DM. Keep to these three pieces of advice and you should be fine.


Peter Stewart wrote:
LuxuriantOak wrote:

there is no yes/no answer to this, both sides can be advocated.

so I'm going to pick the "Yes, But ... "-side
ahem:
Yes you could have given slightly more description to highlight the fact that the attack was not having an effect.
But the players are responsible for asking questions too, and they could have been paying more attention as well.

All in all, you're good - the fact that you're asking youself the questions: "was I fair? am I making the game fun for everybody?" means you're most likely not a powermad 'Killer GM'.

Keep up the good work.

I disagree. There isn't really two sides to this.

The players only knowledge of the world around them is in your descriptions. If you provide no description of attacks or events, they don't know what is going on.

So yeah, he screwed up. He didn't have to say that the NPC had a given protection, but failing to describe the lack of effect by the PCs actions represents a mistake.

It really is about balance. In the midst of raucous combat like this, things are going to escape the combatant's attention. While yes, DM's should give as much description as the players present (players tell DM what attacks they choose and how it looks, DM provides an answer on what the attacks look like when they land). I've always done this with my players. But here, from the sounds of it, the players asked no questions, so the DM wasn't obliged to give them any answers. If that's what was happening here and he wasn't giving any feedback, yes he's at fault.

With that said, maybe the Oracle's vestments and gear was indeed burning, but his FLESH was unscathed. No amount of Perception in combat (unless you wanna apply stupid high modifiers to it) is going to notice that s~$@.
Absolving the players of all responsibility here is a douchebag move. Players have to ask questions, they have to observe their surroundings. If they don't, a DM has no choice but to assume that they just aren't paying attention.
I will only let players roll a skill check if they ask a specific question that prompts it (unless it's called for in a published module or adventure path). Otherwise, the group is assumed to be just wandering about, minding their own business, which seemed to be the case here.


Knight Magenta wrote:

In the campaign I'm playing in, my DM complained that my AC was too high and I was rendering mooks worthless. I looked up some alternative attack modes he could drop into modules easily.

I notice that this is a topic that DMs complain about a bit on the forums so I figured I'd put up a blog post with what I found.

Check it out.

Let me ask you two questions: One; Is your DM incredibly new to tabletop RPGs? If so, then this is just a learning experience for him. He's learning the hard way that some adjustment is always required when fashioning adventures for PC's. Nature of the beast.

Second; Are you, by comparison to your DM, a very experienced player? If so, min-maxing the s~## out of your character while your newbie DM is struggling to make things fun, it's just a douchebag move. Don't break the game, just because you can.
In light of that, this is what you need to do. Tell your DM to stop whining. He had access to the same information you did. He had to finalize your character. If he didn't understand what he was reading, then that's on him. No reason to penalize you for it. If he really has a problem with your character, just drop a Tarrasque on the party and be done with it. Yes, it's a serious dick move, but it wipes out the party and allows everyone a clean slate (I've had DM's do this because players were starting to get too big for their britches. "I am the DM. I am god, I say you die.") That pretty much ends the debate. If he says an attack hits, f~!! what the dice say, you take a sword to the ribs. Why? He's the DM. That's his choice.


Opuk0 wrote:

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll talk to my friend and see if she takes any of them!

I believe at the moment, her physical stats are:

Str 16
Dex 20
Con 16

I don't know about her int and wis, but I know she also got a special charisma boost.

Any suggestions for down the line based off those stats?

The Wizard, however, is only going to be impressive for a very short period of time. Woe to ANY caster that has to suffer through many of the grueling gauntlet adventure modules that are on offer. Or if their party members don't wanna have to stop after every encounter to let the Wizard rest. And at second level, Wizards just plain blow. Once they get the more powerful spells such as Lightning Bolt/Fireball (keep in mind, I only allow the Core Rulebook for classes), they can be fairly badass, but until then they don't have a hell of a lot to go with at the lower levels.


Alignment is really the itchy red blanket that seems to gum up the works and make difficult what should be very simple. In the campaigns my wife and I play and run, we don't include alignment at all. Just leave it blank on the character sheet, unless you really wanna live your life like that.
This makes things so much easier.


This is a pretty hot topic and has been since 3rd edition (in my experience). Personally, though the wording is a bit fuzzy - because let's be honest, if the wording of the RAW wasn't so muffed up, this would be a very, very short discussion - I allow all of the casters who had Cantrips/Orisons to use them pretty well infinitely. First off, the 0 level spells aren't exactly game breaking, and second it gives those that have had to cast all of their spells in a given day and don't have the chance to rest something to contribute. True, a lot of divine casters are basically meat-shields with less calories when they run out of magic, but Wizards and Sorcerers are boned when they deplete their spells. At least with some creative playing, the Cantrips can still be useful.


GreyWolfLord wrote:

So, I ran across this series and watched the first two episodes. I also watched some clips on Youtube.

Maybe it's because I'm not a big anime watcher, but I just don't get the excitement people have on this series. Why do people like this series and why is it interesting?

It didn't make much sense to me to tell the truth and almost felt like it came from a disturbed mind in some ways. The concept (sort of like a cannabilistic thing) also seemed rather...out there.

What am I missing about this series that makes it's fans all go crazy with enthusiasm for it?

Truthfully, at least in my case, it's because the series is, by and large pretty unique. Yes, there are a lot of elements that can be found elsewhere, but there are a few things about it that you don't get in a lot of other anime series. It isn't great by any stretch of the imagination, but it is sitting firmly in the 'good' category for me.

Also, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered as a way to draw people in. A lot of viewers watch it and are left wondering, hoping that in the next episode, or next season that they'll explain things. Where did the Titans ACTUALLY come from? Are they just brainless killing and eating machines or is there some driving force that is controlling them? Things like that. I suppose THAT is the appeal. It is for me. I've watched the entire series and have to admit that it's one of the better anime series I've seen in a while.
It boils down to taste, really. As far as the series goes, your mileage may vary, but suggest sitting down and watching the entire first season. It's a worthwhile watch.


I see a lot of Norse influence, some ‘Arabian,’ a little Asian, mostly generic d&d; on the surface. I could so build a world out of this stuff. But quickly, here are the things I got from it:

• A desert world split between the tundra in the north and the rolling dunes to the south
• Lots of Norse myth (a grittier feel than normal) for a brief overview: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0197623.html or slightly more in-depth: http://www.viking-mythology.com/ . Try 1001 nights for Arabian flair.
• Animal gods (lots of animal companions and nonstandard mounts, some anthro races)
• Trolls and giants for the bulk of monsters in the north, lots of dire animals and few fairy tale style monsters (the dark versions)
• The south is full of monks (and other unarmed combatants)
• Bandits, Jinn and the undead make up the core enemies in the south
• High magic
• Some pirates (Sand? River? Sky?)
• Small Asian influence (perhaps traders from across the sea)
• From the modern and future stuff, I’d either go post-apocalypse (‘ancient ’ technology can be found in lost cities) or add a bit of steampunk
• Forest have a literal heart beating beneath the oldest and largest tree, they can be moved by relocating the heart, or killed by destroying it

Does that give you any ideas?


The Mist of Eilsath

Final Entry of the Journal of Valmur’ss Helvindar; Official Chronicler to High Priestess Zaravin Zau’ath of the Night Guard:

I know not how much time I may have. Within this journal rests all that I know of the fiends that walk the earth, killing and maiming all in the name of the night. Few know what true terrors lay within what has been aptly named the ‘Dread Mists’.

But I know. For I have seen, with my own eyes what resides there. Dark, twisted beasts haunt that mist. Creatures of neither man nor wolf, but something in between. Sharp talons of steel, teeth like blades and eyes of fire. Some are as beautiful as the fey, with pale porcelain skin and death in their black, humorless orbs. Still there are others. Foul figures of mottled, rotted flesh, desiccated and melted like wax in a fire. Some of these are little more than shambling, cracking skeletons, risen from the dead to do some fell master’s bidding.

I am hidden from these creatures, penning this very entry to warn everyone of what is waiting beyond what can be seen or felt. The dangers of the night are no mere fantasy to frighten children. They are real. They hunt me because I have discovered their secret.

If this record survives me, please heed my words. Never let the fires extinguish. For the night is dark and full of terrors.

Quetzalcoatl carry us all.

Used the “Wife” method and got:
93. Dragon-based Humanoid (wildcard, make your own!)
34. Kitsune (shapechanging fox-folk)
5. Half-elf
74. Serpentfolk
11. Drow

Drow – Elven masters of the night
Half-Drow – The offspring of Drow and Kitsune
Irrithra – Fearsome decedents of dragons (use Degenerate Serpentfolk)
Kitsune – Friendly and good natured forest spirits
Serpentfolk – Wise and leaned rulers of the jungle

All the races of Eilsath have at least low-light vision, most have spell-like abilities and a bonus to Dex and Cha. So I picture this green and gold Mayan/Aztec world in the deep jungle with Stone Age weapons and high magic. With Quetzalcoatl as the main god, dragons are seen as semi divine and the Serpentfolk and Irrithra are seen as the decedents of the gods.

The Night Guard was once made up of only Drow and Half-Drow but in this troubled time they take any body they can get. The jungle is dense so even during the day the light at the forest floor is at best equal to early twilight. At night it’s pitch black.

The enemies in the mist are all manner of undead and lycanthropes lead by vampires and liches. They follow Tezcatlipoca. They use the mist to hide from the Drow’s Darkvision, and employ hit and run tactics.


Prime of Optimus should be Optimus the Prime. Then he falls in an epic battle against the ultimate evil and is replaced by Rodimus the Prime, only to be resurrected soon after and reclaim his title.

Druids should get Capt'n Plannett, defender of nature, or Ororo the Weather Witch.

Plannett is a perfect being made of the five elements: earth, fire, wind, water and telepathic subjugation... I mean heart. Or love, or the spark of life. Which actually ties nicely to Transformers Allspark.
Domains: good, healing, earth, fire, air, water and Love.

Ororo strives for peace and harmony as her emotions control the very weather.
Domains: weather, air, but also the emotion subdomains fear, isolation, rage, lust, loss, hatred, solitude, and resolve.


I strongly suggest not doing this. Random background generation can be fun, but give you some really strange results. I actually suggest using the "Twenty Questions" from the ShadowRun Second Edition Core Rulebook. It answers a lot of questions that can flesh out your character.
And it keeps you from ending up with the Dwarf-Raised High Elf Barbarian that, because of environment refers to others of his kind (Elves) as pointy-eared tree lovers.


My group rolls the appropriate profession skill, you earn the full check result (in gold) minus seven silver per employee (one silver a day for a week).

Even a roll of one nets you three silver, if you only have one employee.


1) The life spans shouldn't have any effect on PCs, and NPCs should be less arrogant and aloof and more relatable.

2) It's fine for the gods to have large portfolios. The important thing is to make sure all of the domains are available to your players. My homebrew world has two gods (neither evil) and they split the non alignment domains between them (clerics may select any alignment domain that matches their alignment).

Or just give the gods the domains you feel they should have and don't sweat the numbers.


The Amazons are a separate race from Humans. They are Humanoid creatures with amazon subtype. Their Base Height is 6' (+1d12, 6'1"-7') and Base Weight is 120 lbs. (+2d12×7 lbs. 134 - 288 lbs.)

Random Starting Ages
Adulthood 13 years
Intuitive Classes +1d4 years(14 - 17 years)
Self-Taught Classes+1d6 years(14 - 19 years)
Trained Classes +2d6 years(15 - 25 years)

Their starting age is low but all amazons serve two years in the military after turning thirteen. So it is a fine age to start them on adventures.


Creation Myths

Aylean:

In the beginning there was an empty darkness. The only thing in this void was Melanthia (mel AN thee ah), a bird with black wings, sharp fangs and fur on its body. With the wind she laid a golden egg and for ages she sat upon this egg. Finally life began to stir in the egg and out of it rose Heliosa (hee LEE oh sah) and Phoibus (FOY bus), the gods. One half of the shell rose into the air and became the sky and the other became the earth. They began to furnish the earth with life and the sky with stars.

Soon the Earth lacked only two things: man and animals. Phoibus set to work forming the races of people and Heliosa worked on the animals. As Heliosa worked she gave each animal she created one gift. After Heliosa had completed her work Phoibus finally finished making men. However when he went to see what gift to give man Heliosa informed him that she had used all the gifts, and told him he should have worked faster.

Annoyed, Phoibus decided to give man fire, even though it belonged to Heliosa. After all the gifts had belonged to both of them. As the sun goddess flew out into the world the next morning Phoibus took some of her fire and brought it back to man. He taught his creation how to take care of it and then left them.

When Heliosa discovered Phoibus' deed she became furious. He laughed at her and told her that she should pay more attention to details. Then she began to devise a punishment for mankind. However, before she could the people began thanking her for the gift of fire and praising her name. Smiling she let them keep it. Heliosa is power, Phoibus is the knowledge of how to use it.

Dao Ming:

There was darkness everywhere. Everything was in a state of sleep. There was nothing, neither moving nor static. Then Jiao-long (jeow long) arose, a great dragon covered in fur, feathers and scales. It created the primordial waters first and established the seed of creation into it.

The seed grew and sprouted. From it two flowers bloomed, the sun and the moon. From them were born the gods, Jin Feng (jin fung) and Yin Tuzi (yihng too zeye). As they grew their skins cracked and fell away creating the planes. They shed their claws and teeth and they became the people and animals.

Orc:

Here is the story of the beginning, when there was not one bird, not one fish, not one mountain. Here is the sun, all alone. Here is the moon, all alone. There is nothing more –no sound, no movement. Only the sun and the moon. Only Redbird, alone. Only Loudfoot, alone. These are their names, but there is no one to speak the names.

There is no one to praise their glory. There is no one to nurture their greatness.

And so Redbird thinks, "Who is there to speak my name? Who is there to praise me? How shall I make it dawn?"
Loudfoot only says the word, "Earth," and the earth rises, like a mist from the sea. He only thinks of it, and there it is. He thinks of mountains, and great mountains come. He thinks of trees, and trees grow on the land. It is a gift to her.

And so Redbird says, "Our work is going well." Now Redbird plans the creatures of the forest -birds, deer, jaguars and snakes. And each is given its home. "You the deer, sleep here along the rivers. You the birds, your nests are in the trees. Multiply and scatter," she tells them. Then Redbird says to the animals, "Speak, pray to us."

But the creatures can only squawk. The creatures only howl. They do not speak like Orcs. They do not praise Redbird nor Loudfoot. And so the animals are humbled. They will serve those who will worship Redbird and Loudfoot.

And Redbird tries again. Tries to make a giver of respect. Tries to make a giver of praise. Here is the new creation, made of mud and earth. It doesn't look very good. It keeps crumbing and softening. It looks lopsided and twisted. It only speaks nonsense. It cannot multiply. So Redbird let it dissolve away.

Now Redbird plans again. Redbird looks to Loudfoot "Determine if we should carve people from stone," commands Redbird.

He ran his hands over the rocks. He ran his hands over the stones. "What can we make that will speak and pray? What can we make that will nurture and provide?" asked Loudfoot seeking an answer for beloved Redbird. Then he gave the answer, "It is good to make people with stone. They will speak your name. They will walk about and multiply."

"So it is," replies Redbird. And as the words are spoken, it is done. The short squat people are made with faces carved from stone. But they have no blood, no sweat. They have nothing in their minds. They have no respect for Redbird. They are just digging in the earth, only mining. "This is not what I had in mind," says Redbird. And so the dwarves were left to dig the earth, tiling the planes making them fertile.

Loudfoot saw that Redbird was unhappy, so he wove a thin delicate people out of flexible reeds. But the were to afraid to come on the open plain. Then he saw the corn growing in the fertile plain. He harvest the corn, ground it and made a dough. Loudfoot formed a body out of the corn dough and wrapped the corn husks around it.

Loudfoot showed the corn doll to Redbird, but it did nothing. Redbird cried and her tears were fire. The fire baked the corn doll making it strong. The corn doll became the Orcs and spoke their names, praise their glory, and nurtured their greatness.

Amazon:

In the beginning there was only the swirling watery chaos, called Abraxia (uh BRAHK see ah). Then the sun goddess Heliosa emerged out of primeval chaos, she came out of a blue giant lotus flower that appeared on the surface of the water. Heliosa gave light to the universe.

Because she was all alone in the world, without a mate, she made a union with her shadow, Phoibus, the moon god. And from their union sprang the Amazon. There was no place for them to stand. So, Heliosa turned the leaves of the blue giant lotus flower into the earth. Phoibus wove the petals into a basket that became the sky. Finally, Heliosa drew all things up from their stagnant state.


Races

In addition to humans and dwarves from the core rule book I made some races for my world.

Amazons:

Amazons are a strong, predominantly female race. They possess exceptional drive and a great capacity to endure. Marked by moderately sized communities with compulsorily military service, Amazon culture is one that values independence as much as cooperation.

Physical Description
Both genders of Amazons stand between 6 and 7 feet tall with powerful, lean builds. They typically have brown or black hair, although any color is a possibility. Amazons generally possess amber, green, brown, or black eyes. Their skin tends to run from tan to bronze in color.

Amazon Racial Traits


  • Stats: +2 Strength, +2 Intelligence, –2 Charisma: Amazons are both strong and cunning, but also blunt.
  • Medium: Amazons are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Normal Speed: Amazons have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Fearless: Amazons gain a +2 racial bonus on all saving throws against fear effects.
  • Resistant: Amazons gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting effects and poison.
  • Stability: Amazons receive a +4 racial bonus to their CMD when resisting bull rush or trip attempts while standing on the ground.
  • Phalanx: Amazons are used to living and fighting communally with other Amazons. Up to two Amazons can share the same square at the same time. If two Amazons that are occupying the same square attack the same foe, they are considered to be flanking that foe as if they were in two opposite squares.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Amazons are proficient with Spears, Short swords, bows and heavy shields
  • Combat Ready: When Amazons wear armor of any sort, reduce that suit’s armor check penalty by 1, to a minimum check penalty of 0; and when Amazons use a tool of their trade (requiring at least 1 rank in the appropriate Craft or Profession skill) as a weapon, they do not take the improvised weapon penalty.
  • Languages: Amazons begin play speaking Vaak (VAY ahk). Amazons with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic).

Kumo:

Kumo are 400 year old spiders that have gained the ability to transform into humans. They are found predominantly in the Dao Ming Empire.

Physical Description
Kumo are man sized spiders. They tend to range in color from reddish brown to grey and black.
Their human form has black hair and eyes and skin as pale as moonlight. They are of average height but slender build.

Kumo Racial Traits


  • Stats: +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, –2 Constitution: Kumo are both agile and charming, but also a frail.
  • Medium: Kumo are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Aberration: Kumo are aberrations.
  • Normal Speed: Kumo have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Climb Speed: Kumo have a climb speed of 20 feet.
  • Darkvision: Kumo can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
  • Change Shape (Su): A kumo can assume the appearance of a specific single human form of the same sex. The kumo always takes this specific form when she uses this ability. A kumo in human form cannot use her web ability, but gains a +10 racial bonus on Disguise checks made to appear human. Changing shape is a standard action. This ability otherwise functions as alter self, except that the kumo does not adjust her ability scores.
  • Web (Ex): As per Pathfinder Bestiary 1.
  • Languages: Kumo begin play speaking Yun Shen. Kumo with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic).

Minotaur:

Minotaurs are fearsome warriors, quick to anger and just as quick to forgive. Most are fun-loving and good natured. They greatly enjoy physical competitions.

Physical Description
Minotaurs are large, bovine creatures with horns. They typically stand between seven and a half and ten feet tall and weigh as much as 650 pounds. Their horns and hooves are always white, black or brown but their fur can be any natural color. They tend to have red, brown or black eyes

Minotaur Racial Traits


  • Stats: +4 Strength, –2 Dexterity: Minotaurs are strong, but are not particularly agile.
  • Large: Minotaurs are large creatures and gain a -1 size penalty to their AC, a -1 size penalty on attack rolls, a +1 bonus to their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense, and a -4 size penalty on Stealth checks.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: Minotaurs are Monstrous Humanoids.
  • Fast Speed: Minotaurs have a base speed of 40 feet.
  • Darkvision: Minotaurs can see up to 60 ft. with no light source.
  • Natural Cunning: Minotaurs possess immunity to maze spells and can never become lost. They are never caught flat-footed.
  • Natural Weapons: Minotaurs possess a gore that deals 1d6 damage, when using it they are not considered unarmed.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Minotaurs are proficient with Naginata, Battle axe and Great sword, and treat any weapon with the word “Minotaur” in its name as a martial weapon.
  • Languages: Minotaurs begin play speaking Kor. Minotaur with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic).

Orcs:

Orcs are seen by most as uncultured, uncivilized, and unruly.

Physical Description
Orcs are as tall as, but wider than, humans with ruddy, brown, grey or black skin. They have yellow, orange, red or brown eyes and coarse, thick black, grey, white, red, or brown hair. They often have shorts tusks.

Orc Racial Traits


  • Stats: +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, -2 Intelligent: Orcs are both strong and agile, but are not particularly bright.
  • Medium: Orcs are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Normal Speed: Orcs have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Darkvision (60 ft.): Orcs can see up to 60 ft. with no light source.
  • Damage Reduction: Orcs get damage reduction of 2 against bludgeoning and piercing weapons due to their tough, thick skin (DR 2/slashing).
  • Ferocity: An orc remains conscious and can continue fighting even if its hit point total is below 0. It is still staggered and loses 1 hit point each round. A creature with ferocity still dies when its hit point total reaches a negative amount equal to its Constitution score.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Orcs are proficient with short bows (including composite), daggers, and hand axes; and treat any weapon with the word “Orc” in its name as a martial weapon.
  • Languages: Orcs begin play speaking Common and Orcish. Orcs with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic).

Xiulan:

Xiulan (zhew lan) are mobile plants originally grown as royal assassins, and guards. They are members of the Dao Ming military caste.

Physical Description
The petite Xiulan stand no more than 5’6”. Their hair is generally black but may have tints or streaks that match the twin flowers growing on their heads. The flowers are usually orchids but can be any type of lily or iris and rarely lotus. They tend to have ruddy, dark, or greenish skin tones and dramatic multi-colored eyes (partial heterochromia, where one eye is two colors, like hazel; not two different colored eyes, i.e. one blue, one green).

Xiulan Racial Traits


  • Stats: +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, –2 Charisma: Xiulan are both agile and disciplined, but are Aloof.
  • Medium: Xiulan are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Normal Speed: Xiulan have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Stealthy: Xiulan get a +2 bonus on all Escape Artist and Stealth skill checks.
  • Plant Blood: Xiulan get immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms). Xiulan also gain a +2 against paralysis, poison, polymorph, sleep effects, and stunning. As plants Xiulan breathe and eat, but do not sleep. They bury their bare feet in moist soil but are awake and aware.
  • Languages: Xiulan begin play speaking Common and Yun Shen. Xiulan with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic).


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This is a much to organize my ideas as to share them and see what you guys think.

Ilarion is based primarily in Greek/Roman inspired lands with an Oriental empire to the north, Cossacks in the west and mercantile Egypt/Arab desert kingdom to the south. The primary campaign ideas that went into the creation of Ilarion were: a caravan running a silk/spice trade over long distance (1-2 years round trip, overland); a gladiator revolt (ala Spartacus); and exploration of uninhabited/uncharted wilderness.

I have removed alignment as I wish to present a more grayscale morality. I’ve also ousted outsiders and replaced them with aberrations as the main ‘evil’ (or boogey monster) in the setting. They come from underground, so mining and spelunking are very dangerous.

I intend for this setting to be low magic. That does not mean I’ll be nerfing casters. It means that NPC casters will be rare and that magic items will have to be quested for or made by PCs. There will be very few magic item shops, and even then they will likely be curio shops that happen to have a few real magic items. (I always get a wish list from my players so when I put in the semi-rare magic item it isn’t wasted.)

Gods:

The only gods are the Sun Goddess and the Moon God. The entire world knows and acknowledges these two gods. They can be known under different names in different cultures. They are also apparently uncaring; there is no divine intervention or steering the course of mortal events. The followers of each deity are not in some great clash of ideologies with the followers of other. These two are often worshiped side by side, either as equals or with the Sun Goddess being slightly more important.

The dead are almost always burned, and the smoke is seen as their soul rising to the heavens. Birds are often seen as divine messengers and omens from the gods. Especially carrion birds, who are said to carry the souls of those not given a pyre to the gods.


  • Sun Goddess
    Known as: Heliosa (hee LEE oh sah), Helis (HEE lis), Jin Feng (jin fung), Redbird, Fire, the Sun
    Alone a warrior, together an army.
    Our Lady of Fire, the Shieldmaiden, Mother of Us All
    Goddess of the Sun
    Domains Animal, Artifice, Community, Creation, Destruction, Earth, Fire, Glory, Healing, Nobility, Repose, Strength, Sun, War, Weather
    Favored Weapon Shield, Spear and Sika (or any one melee weapon)
    Heliosa is commonly depicted as a tall woman with dark or tan skin and golden eyes. Her hair is fire when angered, and dark brown or black with wisps of flame at any other time. Wearing anything from a full suite of plate mail to nothing at all, depending on the purpose, she is always depicted with a shield, spear and sika as well as a cloak of red feathers. In the Dao Ming she is depicted as a gold dragon.

    She dwells behind the sky, peering in during the day to watch over the world. Heliosa is both creative and destructive. A patient, caring, and vigilant deity, Our Lady of Fire believes in strict discipline, order, passion and creativity. She provides stable foundations, fertile farmland, a means to warm our homes, to cook our food, and to ward of the darkness. She encourages stability, strength, growth, motivation, will power, prosperity, drive, authority and leadership.

    While nearly everyone worships her special emphasis is placed on those with physical jobs; such as warriors, laborers, and athletes. She expects her followers to abide by laws (though not foolish, contradictory, or purposeless laws) and work to promote order and peace. Heliosa’s basic tenet is simple—people should strive to better themselves and their community.

  • Moon God
    Known as: Phoibus (FOY bus), Foy (foh EE), Yin Tuzi (yihng too zeye), Loudfoot, Stone, the Moon
    []The winds bring change[]
    Lord of the Sea, Her Shadow, Father of Stars
    God of the Moon
    Domains Air, Charm, Darkness, Death, Knowledge, Liberation, Luck, Madness, Magic, Moon, Plant, Protection, Rune, Time, Travel, Trickery, Water
    Favored Weapon (any one melee weapon)
    Phoibus is commonly depicted as a man of average height and a slim build with fair skin and grey or silver eyes. His hair is dark brown or black with hints of grey at times or completely silver at others. He wears anything from full royal regalia to nothing at all depending on the purpose. He is usually depicted reading. In the Dao Ming he is depicted as a silver dragon.

    He dwells behind the sky, peering in during at night, with his children the stars, to watch over the world. Phoibus is both a trickster and a protector. An ever changing, wise, and playful deity, the Lord of the Sea believes in individuality, freedom, knowledge and chance. He provides clean water, valuable knowledge, safe passage on land and sea, and a means to track time. He encourages change, flexibility, learning, fun, indulgence, independence and acceptance.

    While few truly worship him those that do often engage in mental tasks; such as scholars and merchants. In addition he is also worshiped by lycanthropes, anyone capable of shape shifting, bards and practitioners of non divine magic that have not aligned themselves with dark forces. Phoibus expects his followers to learn, adapt and work to promote freedom and change. His basic tenet is simple—people should strive to be themselves and their place in the world, or if they’re lucky in the stars.

    (The stars are not divine beings but rather heroes honored in the night sky.)

Kingdoms

Aylea:

Romanesque territorial expansionists, Aylea (eye LEE ah) is often at war with one or more of its neighbors. The kingdom is divided into three major sections: the mountain, the northernmost section surrounding the valley; the valley basin, a swampy and dangerous land at the heart of the kingdom; and the lowlands, the breadbasket of the kingdom, to the south.

Ruled by a king and highly patriarchal this nation treats women as delicate beings to be protected and provided for. Most Ayleans believe that the goddess favors men for their superior physical strength. While it is a predominantly human nation there are dwarves and minotaur in the mountainous and rough areas. Slaves, whether they are prisoners of war or debtors, are commonplace.

The kingdom’s standard is a gold centurion’s helm with a red plume on a black background. The praetors are charged with the protection of the kingdom and upholding its laws, but they are obsessed with honor and personal standing.

Traits
The following are regional traits for Aylea.
Child of a Praetor (Regional): You are a scion of one of the noble families of Aylea, and are well versed in maneuvering though the cutthroat world of politics. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (society) and Sense Motive checks.
Freed Slave (Regional): You were either born or sold into slavery, but were freed by your master, either for good service or bought with your own coin. Your strong will helped you persevere in captivity, and gave you strength to start again from nothing in your new life. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Will saves.
Regions


  • The Mountain
    The hills and mountains are dotted with mines and quarries as brave Ayleans work to uncover the hidden riches buried in the earth. As the men are often miners or soldiers the young and old tend to flocks of sheep and goats while the women grow gardens in clay pots. Gladiatorial arenas are common in this area, but pit fighting is looked down upon as having no honor and offering no glory.
  • The Valley Basin
    Filled with monsters, like Catoblepas, Basilisks and Manticores, and flooding annually the valley is a difficult and dangerous place to scratch out a living. Fishing, logging and gathering wild plants make up the majority of work in the area. True gladiatorial arenas are very rare in this area, but pit fighting is quite common.
  • The Lowlands
    Life in the lowlands is much more idyllic, with its rolling hills, lush forests and fertile farmlands. Logging, farming, and herding are among the most common professions. Gladiatorial arenas can be found in large cities, but pit fighting is almost unheard of and consider quite scandalous.

Crisania:

A rough, mountainous coastal land with the trappings of bronze age Greece, Crisania (cri san EE ah) is the land of Amazons. The kingdom is made up of city-states. Arenas are set up in each community for festival games and public spectacles.

Ruled by a Solitaria. The title is while somewhat hereditary, but can be won in personal combat. All Amazons serve two years in the military after turning thirteen. Anyone, of any race wishing to become a Crisanian citizen must serve two years in the military. Members of nearly any race on Ilarion can be found within this kingdom. Slavery is illegal and viewed as weakness in Crisania.

The kingdom’s standard is a gold sun on a blue field. The Legatus of each major city is charged with upholding the law and protecting the surrounding countryside.

Traits
The following are regional traits for Crisania.
Crisanian Citizen: You have served two years in the Crisanian army earning the right to call yourself a citizen. The skills you learned through daily drilling and protecting your fellow soldier gave you special insight into military life. Pick one of the following skills: Profession (soldier), Ride, or Survival. You gain a +1 trait bonus on checks with that skill and it’s always a class skill.
Spearmaiden: You’ve trained in the weapons of your people, particularly the spear. You gain a +1 trait bonus on attacks of opportunity made with spear weapons.

The Dao Ming Empire:

The Dao Ming Empire (DOW ming) is an Asian inspired meritocracy made up of nine provinces. Each province was once its own country and many still use their native language rather than the official language of the empire. A Daimyo runs each province and there are many differences between them.

There is a rigid caste system, but men may improve their station by performing well on the imperial examinations. Women share their father's social status even after marriage, and for that matter do not take their husband’s family name. Etiquette is of the utmost importance.

The empire’s standard is a gold dragon facing up or west and a silver dragon facing down or east on a red field. Slavery is illegal in the empire, however they do indentured servitude.

Traits
The following are regional traits for the Dao Ming Empire.
Traveling Merchant: You grew up in a Merchant’s caravan and learned early in life the skills of trade and travel. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Appraise and Survival checks. One of these skills (your choice) is always a class skill for you.
Well Educated: You grew up with many tutors and learned the basics in many subjects. You gain +1 trait bonus on all Knowledge skill checks. This does not allow a character to make Knowledge checks untrained.

Provinces


  • Hong Fai
    Nestled between the great rivers He Bai Yin and He Chun Heng, Hong Fai is the most northern and western province, known for producing fine healers and alchemists. is also the birthplace of black powder and firearms.
  • Jin Kuo
    Famed throughout the empire for their horses and cattle Jin Kuo is comprised of equal parts wide open plains and steep rugged mountains.
  • Tung Yue
    Tung Yue is littered with jade. As a result there are many artists and craftsmen in the province skilled at carving it.
  • Zi Bang
    A small but influential province Zi Bang grows the finest teas and spices in the known world.
  • Feng Zhin
    By far the largest province Feng Zhin is deeply religious, favoring Jin Feng almost to the execution of Yin Tuzi.
  • Sheng Si
    An island nation with minimal contact with the rest of the empire, their loyalty to the emperor is little more than lip service.
  • Lien Ji
    Lien Ji houses the capital city of the empire. It is a land bridge between Jun Rin, Hua Die and the rest of the empire.
  • Jun Rin
    Jun Rin is the gate into the south. It boasts the largest army in the empire.
  • Hua Die
    A wealthy province with many salt mines Hua Die was the first to trade with Crisania.

Halcyonea:

Halcyonea is a land of Cossacks where everyone learns to ride a horse and even the women wear pants. Horse breeding is an essential skill as keeping ones horse in good condition is a point of honor. Halcyonea Horses are prized mounts in any nation.

Halcyans prefer sprawling rural and suburban settlements to large compact cities. Much of the country is open plains. Wealth and prestige comes from holding land.

The kingdom’s standard is a silver horse with gold eyes, main, tail and hooves on a black field. The ruler of each major settlement, called a prince regardless of gender, is charged with upholding the law and protecting the surrounding countryside. They usually employ a militia to do this though some keep a proper standing army.

Traits
The following are regional traits for Halcyonea.
Born in the Saddle: You take to horseback like a duck to water. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Ride checks and the Ride skill is always a class skill for you.
Just Like New: Broken firearms are not problems—they are challenges. Your first attempt to remove the broken condition from your starting firearm and to upgrade it to a masterwork weapon costs 150 gp instead of 300 gp. In addition, when wielding a firearm that has the broken condition or is treated as if it had the broken condition, you take a -1 penalty on attack rolls made with it instead of the normal -2.

Ikarus:

The high peaks of the Ikarus Mountains are the home to dwarves. They live atop the mountains in stone houses that are fitted together without mortar. They do not worship the gods. They mine, forge and brew. Because they often work deep in the mountains where the foul aberrations dwell dwarves tend to give their children names that mean innocuous things, like Brogan (shoe), Khol (cabbage), Alan (rock), Carrick (rock), Kraig (rock), Lana (rock), Peadar (rock), or Stein (rock).

Dwarves do not see themselves as a nation but as mining companies. Colonies are lead by foremen. They describe useless things as ‘shale’: A barrel of spoiled fruit would be referred to as a ‘shale’s bunch’; Poor things, ranging from weather to business conditions, as ‘copper,’ average things as ‘silver’ or ‘gold’ and exceptional things as ‘platinum.’

The company logo is a pickaxe crossed with a hammer on a gold field. Dwarves do not keep slaves, it is not illegal it is merely inconvenient to do so. The high altitude at which they live makes most other races ill.

Traits
The following are regional traits for Ikarus.
Iron Liver: Due to a lucky constitution or frequent exposure, your body is resistant to poison, including alcohol and drugs. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Fortitude saves against poison and drugs, and a +4 trait bonus on Fortitude saves to avoid the effects of alcohol.
Ore Guard: You worked in the mines as a guard. You know your way around a fight against aberrations. You gain a +1 trait bonus to weapon damage against aberrations.

Mecenae:

A rocky and craggy land north of Aylea, Mecenae (me SEN aye) is less a nation and more a collection of tribes. They refer to themselves as dağ insanlar (dah in son lair), the mountain people. They call dwarves taş erkekler (tosh er kek lair), or stone men.

Brutish and aggressive, the tribes of Mecenae are loosely organized under a council of seven kings. They herd goats and sheep, and gather wild edibles. Tribes work together to survive. Particularly wealthy tribes will own one or more mine. The Mecenae tribes sell most of their ore to the dwarves; in exchange for high quality weapons and armor. A very ‘hands on’ people, they are particularly distrustful of magic.

The kingdom’s standard is a gold chevron with seven bees, four above and three below, on a silver field. It varies tribe to tribe whether or not they keep slaves, but none enslave another Mecenian.

Traits
The following are regional traits for Mecenae.
One with the Great Hunter Your tribe reveres the rage. The shaman has taught you new truths about the origins of your rage ability. You may use your rage ability for 3 additional rounds per day.
Mind of the Great Hunter Your determination allows you to hold onto a shred of your rational mind at all times. Select one of the following skills: Bluff, Escape Artist, Handle Animal, or Stealth. You may use this skill normally while raging.

Tribes


  • Buz Vadisi (booze vwad is i; valley of ice)
  • Dağ Tepe (dah tep aye; mountain peak)
  • Nehir Vadisi (ni hear vwad is i; river valley)
  • Kırmızı Kaya (ker im z ka ya; red rock)
  • Keskin Taşlar (kesh kin tosh lair; sharp stones)
  • Su Taş (sue tosh; water stone)
  • Kırık Pik (ker ook pick; broken peak)

Thebia:

Thebia is the southernmost country on the continent; a burning desert dotted with sparkling gems of civilization. Everything is for sale. A common saying to be taken both literally and figuratively is ‘I know my price.’ It means both that they have confidence in their abilities and that they know their value on the open market. It is a matter of pride to get the best deal. Contracts are taken very seriously; most of the law pertains to the forming of contracts. No contract may be for a period of time greater than five years. This includes labor, marriage and trade agreements.

There are no prisons in Thebia; punishment is either fines or execution. Execution is reserved for treason. Piracy is considered treason. Theft is the most sever crime you can commit; other crimes are often deemed unimportant. Savvy individuals will spin any crime as a form of theft. For example if a man is murdered his wife may sue for the theft of any wages he would have brought the family, his employer may sue for the theft of any work he was contracted to do, if he owed any debts the holders of the debt may sue for the unpaid portion and his children may sue for the cost of tutoring in his trade.

The kingdom’s standard is a black scarab with its wings out holding a gold coin on a greed field. Thebia is ruled by the wealthy. They make the laws and they enforce them.

Traits
The following are regional traits for Thebia.
Merchant’s Heir: You grew up at the knee of a member of the Trade Guild. You have even run a stall for them in the bizarre. Ss a result you start with twice the normal amount of starting gold. In addition, your reputation remains strong in the Trade Guild, and any transactions you make with its members are always beneficial to you; items you sell net you an additional 10% profit, and items you purchase are 10% cheaper than normal. This discount also applies to your starting gear.
Deal Maker: You grew up in the open air markets of Thebia and you know how to find the ‘off menu’ items. This allows you to buy and sell valuables that are otherwise too rich for the local community. Once per week, when looking for an item with a price greater than the local community’s base value, make a DC 10 Diplomacy check; add 10 to the DC for each community size category between the current community and the community size with a base value sufficient for that item. Success means (with GM approval) you’re able to sell or purchase that item as if the local community were of sufficient size. Each additional attempt (successful or otherwise) in that community increases the DC by an additional +10.


Anzyr wrote:
Liraz wrote:

Not a fan of Wizards or Sorcerers (or any variation thereof). I'm usually the kind of person that builds a character that can go it alone and make it through without HAVING to rely on my party (this generally comes from having a lot of parties that squabble and bicker and won't help you if you don't give them some of your Cheetos).

Everybody touts that Wizards and Sorcerers are OMG Uber McAwsomesauce, but there are too many variables for them to ever get that way. If your DM plays rules as written (RaW) and doesn't use any splat books (not even sure how many there are now. NO, this is not an invitation to post a list. I also really don't care to know) then the Wizard and Sorcerer, at low levels are screwed. They HAVE to have a party in order to survive. I don't take that chance.
I have played at least one of the other in every incarnation of the game from AD&D to Pathfinder and haven't found them to be very fun to play.
Bards are just useless. Yes, they can theoretically fill any niche in the group, but they don't really seem to be GREAT at any one of them. Like showing up at a Nascar race in an '86 Dodge Aries. Yeah, you can race, and yeah, you might finish, but you sure as hell ain't gonna be any good at it.

That may be your opinion but there is a... staggering amount of misinformation here. For starters Wizards/Sorcerers are both perfectly fine at level 1. A level 1 Fighter may be able to drop a single enemy with a Greatsword, but a Wizard/Sorcerer can drop an entire *encounter* at level 1 with Color Spray. Furthermore the stat differences between level 1 characters are largely negligible.

Bards are the best at skills. They make every other skill class look like a joke. Furthermore, they excel at making everyone else better, which is something that no other class is really as capable of doing at low levels. And they get even better at it as they level up. And that's not even mentioning how powerful they can be offensively if built correctly.

I'll admit, spell casters such as wizards and sorcerers have their place. Every class does. And yes with the right spells a Wizard or Sorcerer (again, not getting into the splat books, of which I, sadly, see the Advanced Players Guide as being, despite some of it's good points) can drop an entire encounter. But they can't do it endlessly. They run out of spells, it's over. A martial class can continue to fight ENDLESSLY without need to stop to get his spells back. Now, the case could be made that he has to stop and rest, I'll grant you that, but he doesn't suffer a BLARING handicap after her makes 4-5 actions in a 24 hour period. The Wizard, at low level, isn't a constant. The martial classes are. Fighter/Barbarian types can do a host of damage with that Greatsword/Great Axe all day long. They don't have attack slots.

Now, before this roars into a huge debate of this class vs that class (lord knows the internet is full of enough of those) it's about two things. DM preference and player preference. I am certain that you can cite quite a few instances where your Wizard/Sorcerer has been able to hold his own and gained mad powers and levels. It's safe to say anyone can say this about their favorite classes. I think we can all agree on, at the very least, that much.
If the DM really likes spellcasters, then he's going to build his games with favorable conditions for said individuals in mind.
To give you a quick and dirty example of how I allow my players to utilize Wizards. 1) I don't make you memorize spells. Anything that your level says you can cast, you can cast. You don't have to prepare them ahead of time and HOPE you picked the right spells. 2) You run out of spells that you can cast for the day, I allow you to cast straight out of your spellbook (though their is a chance of destroying the book in the process), 3) I don't make you have to LEARN your spells. As soon a you level up, the appropriate spell list is in your brain and BOOM you know all of those spells. 4) If a spellcaster wants to get a metamagic feat, I allow them to get 2 without there being a spell slot or spell level tax.
So, as you can see, I'm actually very kind to my casters.
I am, sadly, a victim of DM's that have cut their teeth on AD&D and Second Edition. Most of the DM's that have run games in these particular systems (at least in my experience) have always had the mentality of 'It's the DM's job to kill his party'. This has been the bulk of my gaming experience. Imagine how frustrating that is. I learned early on that to survive a DM like this, you need a tank. Someone that isn't dependent on getting a solid 8 hours of sleep.
If your DM isn't a douche, then yeah, a Wizard or Sorcerer could be a great way to go.
Hell, one of the best Sorcerer builds I've ever seen was a straight up Sorcerer that took two levels in fighter, picking up shield bash, two weapon fighting, weapon focus and double slice. He was devastating after that.
The Bard...I don't know. I mean, in an urban campaign where it's less about the combat and more about the role playing and subterfuge, I can see where you're coming from. His skills are damned impressive (second maybe to the rogue), but the Bardic Knowledge does make up for that. And yes, he does do a lot of buffs for the party, but that depends on how he's played.
If you could get a party where everyone played each class as they were MEANT to be played, then you'd have the most epic party in the world, but sadly, not everyone does. Thus, I have the opinions that I do.
Playing with you, I'd probably think the Bard is epic.
So no argument meant, just clarifying why I feel the way I do.
Opinions vary, and this is mine. Thanks for listening.


When I first started running games, this was something that frustrated me as well. Then my husband did the most wonderful thing for me. He sat down with the common monsters in the books and added class levels for a host of different classes and features to them. Now I have a veritable codex of monsters to draw from without having to create the Goblin/Orc/Kobold slot machine.
It is easy to do, just time consuming. If you take the time to do it once, it's a resource that can be used over and over again if the typical encounter just isn't doing it anymore.
Example: In my world there are what are called 'Initiates of the Dark Blade'. What they are is a collection of individuals, from nearly any race (even goblins) that sell their souls to some unknown benefactor for improved martial skill (benefits vary). They have no idea who they are selling their souls to, and given that all of those that are sought out are tormented and have suffered some sort of tragedy, don't really care. They just want the pain to stop. But, unbeknownst to them, they are slowly driven insane the more powerful they become.
It's rather interesting to see the reaction when you describe to a party 'the lone figure, cloaked in black, standing a mere three and a half feet walks toward you, mumbling softly to itself'. Players have no idea what to make of it and usually just attack it. Many a party has gone by the wayside doing this.


Not a fan of Wizards or Sorcerers (or any variation thereof). I'm usually the kind of person that builds a character that can go it alone and make it through without HAVING to rely on my party (this generally comes from having a lot of parties that squabble and bicker and won't help you if you don't give them some of your Cheetos).
Everybody touts that Wizards and Sorcerers are OMG Uber McAwsomesauce, but there are too many variables for them to ever get that way. If your DM plays rules as written (RaW) and doesn't use any splat books (not even sure how many there are now. NO, this is not an invitation to post a list. I also really don't care to know) then the Wizard and Sorcerer, at low levels are screwed. They HAVE to have a party in order to survive. I don't take that chance.
I have played at least one of the other in every incarnation of the game from AD&D to Pathfinder and haven't found them to be very fun to play.
Bards are just useless. Yes, they can theoretically fill any niche in the group, but they don't really seem to be GREAT at any one of them. Like showing up at a Nascar race in an '86 Dodge Aries. Yeah, you can race, and yeah, you might finish, but you sure as hell ain't gonna be any good at it.


I am going to be very honest here. I really don't understand how making a low-magic (as opposed to a no-magic) campaign is that difficult. My husband and I do it all the time. It's our preferred (along with our players of nine years and counting) choice of campaign.

Creating the setting is deceptively simple. Here's how we handle it:

1) Divine casters (Clerics, Paladins) (in most cultures on my world) are looked at with fear, awe and respect. Some even seen as a bit of a celebrity, depending on the individual kingdom. Inquisitors, largely are an exception. They are straight up feared. If they are out in public, someone's gonna bleed. They are brutal, sadistic and only answer to the gods and the church (and in a few kingdoms in my world, the ruler). To be any of the above takes a fierce dedication and the utmost commitment, so their numbers are very small. Not every town is going to have a healer. Arcane casters are reviled and hated. It is summarily believed (again it varies from kingdom to kingdom) that they form pacts with demons and devils to get their power. This is the main reason why in my world, arcane casters are so scarce. They are hunted down and executed for conspiring with dark forces.

2) Magic Items are almost non-existent. That isn't to say they don't exist. It's simply that not every Tom, Dick and Goblin chief is carrying the +5 Awesomesauce Blade of Hades. In game example: My husband is playing a character that is currently sitting at 9th level and the only magic items he has to his credit is a +1 bladed buckler and a pair of Boots of Striding and Springing. To get the buckler, he had to travel to the fey realm (which is a separate dimension in my world to that of mortals) and find a way to clear a pond of toxins to get it. He is playing a Fighter/Druid Gestalt (3rd Edition Unearthed Arcana) and was banished from his homeland for having the ability to use magic (Rangers and Druids are treated much the same way as arcane casters because they did not gain their powers through devotion to the church). His boots are actually not magical in nature. They were derived from the wings of a Green Dragon and thus have special properties based on the substance, as do many of the items in my world. But even then, what I give him is sparing and he enjoys the hell out of it. Given that he started playing D&D when Reagan was in office, that's saying something.

3) Do a rather quick and easy alteration to the monsters they come up against. A lot of monsters have DR that is element specific. Silver, Gold, Adamantine or what have you. It's a simple case of changing a monsters DR type to something of this caliber. You need a +3 sword? Well, now you need one forged out of cold iron. Need a Lawful Weapon? Now you need one made of volcanic glass. Things like that. A small bit of creativity and you're good to go. It needn't be difficult.

4) Explanation, explanation, explanation. You have to tell your players, in no uncertain terms "We're playing a low magic campaign. Don't worry, I'm not nerfing anyone. You won't be meeting a horde of monsters that all have DR magic. Everything will be balanced accordingly." It's been mine and my husband's experience that any player that enjoys playing won't have any kind of issue with this, provided the DM isn't a a~%!**# about it.

So there it is. That's how we handle it and for as long as we've been playing, it's worked out very well. We've literally played with dozens upon dozens of groups and we've yet to have a problem.

With that said, I have one more point to make. Pathfinder, as a gaming system, in fact, any game system out there, doesn't have to be completely reformatted for this type of game to work. Be it Rifts, Shadowrun, Unisystem, Pathfinder or any incarnation of D&D.
All it takes for this to function is a DM/GM that cares enough about his players and his game to do a little homework and come to a consensus with his/her players.
It isn't about what you find and what you have in a campaign, it's about what you did and what you have to do to get it. Players will appreciate that +1 Longsword a lot more if it's just as powerful at 10th level, as it was at 3rd...because few other people have one.


Okay. I just started this particular adventure path with my party and I've run into a bit of a SNAFU. As a player for more nearly thirty years (began playing in 1988 with Advanced D&D) I absolutely HATE being railroaded into something with no chance of prevention. So, I allowed my players the chance to make Fort Saves vs the Oil of Taggit (DC 15). My players made their saves. Both were monks. I didn't figure this to be a real problem. I would just have them get whooped into submission by Plugg and Scourge. The only problem is that my players (both of which are evil as hell, landed criticals simultaneously and Stunning fisted both of them. Both of the monks had very high strength scores (20 and 19 respectively, yes, they rolled VERY high stat scores) In the rounds of combat that followed, both monks rolled two more criticals.
Poor Plugg ran (as was his Morale) and Scourge got beaten to death. The four pirates that were with them didn't fare much better. In the end, I had the captain come in and offer the pair a place on the ship, one as the new Boatswain and the other (since she had profession: cook) as the cooks mate.
Here's the problem. The captain has obviously taken a liking to the two. I did have him keelhaul Plugg (who was found cowering nearby the inn) and he survived. He is now a swab like everyone else and is a nice little monkey wrench, but he's not a real threat right now as no one on the crew trusts him, being the coward that he is.
I need a way to keep the adventure on track and am having some issues. Can anyone help? I don't really know what to do here. I think I might have screwed myself.