The APG, World Building, and You


Homebrew and House Rules

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So, the other day, I was looking at stuff from the APG, looking at stuff about magic (arcane and divine) and looking at threads about Vancian and non-Vancian spell-casting, and I thought to myself: what would happen if the only non-NPC classes were the APG classes? Suddenly the world would look (and feel) very different.

Arcane and divine too similar? Not no more! Witches and Summoners look, behave, and feel very different from Inquisitors and Oracles, and Alchemists are different from any of them.

What to do about combat? Cavaliers, with their various orders all look different from one another and holy warriors are covered fairly well by Inquisitors.

How about skills? Tougher, but several classes have a good number of skill points, ranging from alchemist, to cavalier (four each) to inquisitor (a whole, shining six!). I don't recall oracles off the top of my head, though I'm pretty sure that witches and summoners both get only two... which, if oracles get four, again puts an interesting difference between arcane and divine and the class which straddles them while doing its own thing (alchemist).

So, I'm really hoping to summon up some of you world-builders out there. Tell me what this world would look like. Anything I'm missing with these classes? How would they come about?

One obvious loss are direct leads to several prestige classes being kicked to the curb (lack of barbarians, bards, and rangers-or-druids prevents several of the APG prestige classes innately, and, I think, the CORE ones as well). I might try to fix this using the Unearthed Arcane rules for class-abilities-as-feats to qualify (which themselves require skills).

Another problem is differing cultures. Obviously martial arts developed very differently in Europe and Western-and-North Asia than in Eastern Asia, and India. Cavaliers break away from the Eastern concepts, I think, though this might just be my current "view" of them. Magical presumptions, too, are different: oracles are very similar to ancient Grecian views of the cursed soothsayers, while witches are more similar to the ancient Gaelic and Pictish cultures' views. Inquisitors feel very European to me (although I can well see them re-skinned to feel middle-eastern as well... er, no pun intended) while summoners feel... uh... summoney? Alchemists feel indo-european.

Anyway, what do you guys think. I'm calling on your help! Let's flesh out this world together! Point out weaknesses, and ways around them. Let's make a "home brew"... online!

NOTE: I'm also thinking of dropping in an adopted PF-variant of the Artificer PC class and a PF-variant of the Mage Wright NPC class. What say you? How would we go about doing this? What are the long-term ramifications? Societal implications? Etc?


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There's one fairly major problem with this idea: The fighter and to a lesser extent the rogue allow people to build a VAST range of characters. They're pretty much universal for all settings of all kinds.
If you're playing without them, people will want to know why they can't be a bow specialist without a lot of thought and effort, why they can't be a tough guy who hits people without swearing an oath and practising mounted combat and why they can't be the clever sneaky guy or jack of all trades without delving into mad science or joining a religious order.

You can make a playable, fun and believable setting without most of the core classes, but unless you create new things to replace them, you probably can't do without all of them. I'd suggest at least creating archetypes that allow players to get around some of the limitations of the APG classes. Cavaliers without companions would be at the top of my list, followed closely by something that lets players be effective without being either a cavalier or a caster.

I think the cavalier works as either european or japanese, and probably as a few other things. Look at the samurai alternate class in ultimate combat. It doesn't change very much at all.


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FAIR WARNING: HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE POST AHEAD; READ AT YOUR OWN RISK

So, first, a long-delayed "thank you" to Mortuum: "Thank you!" I really appreciate the feed-back! I apologize that I didn't come back sooner, however it had been so long, and I never saw this on the main page, it had fallen so far, and I must have missed the day you posted for whatever reason. I just came back to check it and BAM, there you were! So thanks!

Also, I think you're right, ultimately. I'm most certainly putting the fighter and rogue back in (though the latter is limited to APG stuff), and debating the barbarian (very limited with APG only) and ranger too, although a) without spells, and b) with the APG options added (though unlike the barbarian and rogue, it's not limited-to).

I'm also thinking about either doing away with or restricting sneak attack to something like assassin classes (not just for t3h 3vilz, anymore!), as its a very mechanicistic ability, but I'd appreciate feedback and how it might be wise to undergo such a thing. Mostly, it's for campaign flavor, as described below.

After much thinking about it, and since there was little input from others here, I've realized this dovetails nicely with a campaign I was designing some time back. It's not a perfect fit, but here are some of the specifics below. Also note that this is in "Home Brew" for a reason, as this is both a high-powered setting (it presumes some minor gestalt-lite going on), and a low-powered setting (it presumes a very slow advancement and has hard, though by-passable with care, level caps).

New Campaign Setting, temporarily titled 'Witch Wood Under Whose' (emphasis on the 'temporary') wrote:

The basic premise of this is thus: magic is a wild force (either inherently evil or inherently chaotic), and that wizardry is an ordered, regulated (inherently lawful) one.

Innate magic is either evil or chaotic – demons and fey (which are really the same thing, as are dragons) are the originators of most such elements, and are creatures born from primeval magic itself.

Wizardry is the series of rules and regulations that bind all magic into a usable codex, and is itself immoral, but has a propensity towards evil (especially given the nature of the force it deals with).

Divine Magic is performed only by oracular clerics, and is very rare indeed. It is good, inherently.

That's the short version. The longer, goes as follows:

New Campaign Setting, temporarily titled 'Witch Wood Under Whose' (emphasis on the 'temporary') wrote:

THE WORLD(player's introduction version)
The level-cap for most all creatures in the world is sixth: after sixth level, unbelievable power is in the hands of a character, and they are deadly indeed. Once-great creatures and beasts are now all legends and ruins, and even their magical powers are weak. Most all children, and some adults, are actually 0-level (or partial level) – that is, they gain half their HD in hit points, and gain a commensurately smaller ‘trained skill’ bonus (2/3, 1/3, or none), as well as only +1 (or +0, if they are ¼ HD or less) on their good save. Prestige classes are gestalts (cost as much to get to next highest level).

Civilization runs on wizardry – without it, things would fail and start to malfunction. All the magical items most civilizations use are based on wizardry. Wizardry is a complex codex, giving a wizard the abilities of a specialist (both elemental and class-choice), with some traits of a red wizard, a master specialist, and an artificer, while requiring a lawful or non-good/non-chaotic alignment. Greater-than-normal mystical forces can be achieved, but they are dangerous, and almost always result in cursed, intermittent, or draw-back-prone items. Wizards represent 1/6th of 45% of the population {those with better-than-10 intelligence} [7.5% total]. Wizardry can be seen as nigh-diabolic (it is extremely lawful with some slight evil leanings).

Important Note on World Lore:
Wizardry is so well-established, and has flourished so well over the last 10,000 years, that all the basic formulas are known. Society has endeavored to keep all its lore well-tended and kept. Spell-books for learning (similar to normal PF wizards' spell books) are kept by the thousands in vast repositories of semi-secret knowledge in arcane colleges around the world. Although wizards jealously guard their secrets from the mundane, the truth is that most any spell can be found through perusal of any college, as the stuff is so ancient and so well codified that it's proliferated. Wizards (as defined in this campaign) are thus never unfamiliar with a spell or extract formula as it appears in the Pathfinder Core Rule Book or the APG, and all prices for acquiring new ones (where applicable) are only a quarter of the standard price for third level spells and below. Its not uncommon for wizards to still carry "spellbooks" - effectively books filled with scrolls of spells they've crafted from their university researches. These scrolls are valuable to withces who go to great lengths to acquire them to add to their own power... another reason why witches are generally rejected by society.

Important Note on how this rough-draft version has changed concept:

{NOTE: this is changing heavily, and was an early rough-draft. Instead, "wizardry" does not actually consist of the "wizard" class (which doesn't exist) and is instead separated into three separate concepts: alchemists, artificers (modified for PF), and summoners, each of which have a place in society (artificers being the most exalted); all "wizards" have the ability to participate in Circle Magic as if they were a red wizard of their level; I'm thinking of moving sorcerer bloodlines into summoners while leaving the specialist (both elemental and school [with Red Wizard bonuses to focused school]) bonuses for the other two "wizard" classes, giving "wizardry" of this world a complexity not seen elsewhere. Non-wizards can, of course, craft magical stuff, due to Pathfinder rules, but "wizards" as described above are the masters of it, can do it better, plus they are faster and less expensive because of their extensive ability.}

Witchcraft comes from those who are more in-tune with the natural magical forces. Usually witches are loners, who quickly rise to near-meteoric power, and are just as quickly head to a sudden end – often by their own excesses, earning witchcraft its much-maligned name. Witchcraft can be performed in covens (centered around a hag), and those covens require more and more from their members as they progress, but usually last longer (until the hag is hunted down and killed, anyway). This ‘safe’ witchcraft is no-less hated by society, but often brings many subtle benefits to the world at large, and is substantially less prone to violence and destruction. Hags (usually neutral creatures) are immortal and are very powerful patrons, and build covens for their own purposes. Witches combine elements from wu-jen, warlocks, sorcerers (bloodlines), and druids with their base class, while requiring any chaotic or any evil as their alignment. Witchcraft is often thought of as demonic.
[spoiler=Important Note on "feel" of the world]All witch spells that have verbal and somatic components are treated as songs/poems/rhymes/etc or dances, respectively, effectively meaning that a witch who focuses on enchantment and has access to healing replaces the bard class. It is not uncommon for witches to take ranks in a perform or two to "enhance" their magical power (this has no game effect at present).[/spoiler]

Important Note on how this rough-draft version has changed concept:

{NOTE: this is changing heavily, and was an early rough-draft. Instead, witches do gain traits from other classes (such as the Wu Jen spell secrets and elemental mastery, as well as the shujega element-sense) but they lose the bloodlines (to summoners, above) and they gain some of the druid class features (though not all), with perhaps a few warlock things (though, obviously, not the invocations). I've not fully detailed the classes here, and am able to be swayed, but that's the basic idea for now.}

Divine magic is an inherently non-evil force (deities are exclusively neutral or ‘better’), with oracle-clerics (and some paladins) being the sole, exceedingly rare, barterers in the miraculous. Priests are almost exclusively experts. Humanoid deities are twenty-first to sixtieth level (usually) spirit creatures of legend [ghost template] with 0 to 20 divine ranks based on mortal worship; they are also all psions (erudite-telepaths) gestalt {illumine} soul (knife/bow)[s] of their favored weapon gestalt psychics (as Green Ronin guide)^. Animal deities are legendary, dire, awakened spirit creatures. Other spirits are fey, elemental, or outsiders – anything of this nature above sixth hit dice is rare and powerful is often a “god”, while anything below is called a “spirit”.

^:
Does this make deities complicated? Oh, yeah. That's fine, however, as what this amounts to is tying them, thematically and intrinsically, to the whole mind/spirit/worship-thing that they've got going on, effectively acting like psychic feedback loop (the good kind) in their Divine state. Also, gods are not a dime-a-dozen kind of critters. Their stats won't come into play too much, unless a PC really get 'em ticked off.

Important Note on how this rough-draft version has changed concept:

{NOTE: this is changing a bit, and was an early rough-draft. Oracles are now the divine class, and they channel energy like a cleric and gain one domain (that which belongs to their deity); additionally, now both inquisitors and certain paladin archetypes (the latter lacking spells) are part of this campaign. I'm curious for a suggestion of a minor thing to boost the inquisitor and paladin like the oracle; for both I'm thinking of providing them with Mettle (as evasion, but for fortitude and/or will), but I'll need something more, and I'm thinking inquisitors (or paladins or both) will gain weapon focus, weapon specialization, and the greater variants thereof with their deity's chosen weapon; paladins shouldn't be casting spells for this setting, though, so all are likely to be warriors of the holy light archetype at least.}

Permitted non-spell-caster classes are barbarians, fighters, rangers, rogues, samurais, scouts, and swashbucklers. Psychic warrior and wilder characters are psionic, and are all sixth level +, only. Ninjas are monks who specialize in stealth, while monks (which, though psionic, are available at first level) are the only class able to bypass the level restrictions automatically.

Important Note on how this rough-draft version has changed concept:

{NOTE: this is changing a bit, and was an early rough-draft. I'm redacting samurai, scouts, and swashbucklers, and heavily limiting barbarians, rangers, and rogues, while heavily modifying monks; barbarians (if they're allowed) are restricted to only the breaker, invulnerable rager, superstitious, and totem warrior archetypes, while the rogue is limited to the APG archetypes (not the core rogue); I'm uncertain of whether or not to allow the ranger at all, though it would be without spell-casting, if I did.

The monk is a special case, and being one means taking on of the Hungry Ghost Monk, Four Winds Monk, or Monk of the Lotus archetypes, and blending those with the Drunken or Ki Mystic, or, alternatively, taking the Monk of the Sacred Mountain, the Weapon Adept, or the Zen Archer. Effectively, I'm attempting to push away from the "base" classes in the CORE rulebook as much as possible, although leaving the fighter allows for some options, here.

In truth, I'd probably vastly prefer to use the Ultimate Combat, but as I have no money to purchase it, and I have no income in the foreseeable near-future that isn't going toward caring for my newborn son (with a possible Jade Regent exception, based on budget), I'm probably not purchasing that right now, despite my rather desperate desire for both it and Ultimate Magic.}

In any event, I'm going to be looking for suggestions on how to beef the various kinds up a little (along the lines of gestalt-lite). I know, I know, I was just asking about replacing sneak attack. I'm still thinking about it. :)

Level progression is slow, and XP is awarded at a 10% lower rate – bringing the rate of level growth down considerably. (low-level) magic items are actually quite inexpensive, thanks to wizardry (generally a 25%-50% discount).

Just at 20% of the total populace is higher than first level. Of those, 15% of those (total 3%) are higher than third level. A mere 10% of those (total .3%) are higher than fourth level. Only 5% of those (.015%) are sixth level.

Levels: 0-Level [35%]; 1st Level [40%]; 2nd Level [8.6425%]; 3rd Level [8.6425%]; 4th Level [2.715%]; 5th Level [0.285%]; 6th Level [0.015%]
(0-Level: 20% under 16, 15% over 16 handicapped [mentally, physically, or socially, leaving 65% of the 0-Level characters in the world as normal, fully functioning adults.])

Ability Scores: (95% have average or average array ability scores [50%/45%] {3d6}; 4.9% have elite array {4d6, drop lowest, arrange as desired}; and 0.1% have the super-hero {5d6, reroll 1’s and 2’s, drop lowest two, arrange as desired})

That's the basic idea as a player would know it based on the world, and having had their character "grow up" in said environment. Would their character know the gritty details of class level and hit dice? Nah. But they'd get the gist of it means and that'd set the expectations for their characters.

More world-building stuff (more like GM-knowledge):

New Campaign Setting, temporarily titled 'Witch Wood Under Whose' (emphasis on the 'temporary') wrote:


On Hags:
THE HAGS

There is a “grand covey” of hags, as it’s called, consisting of all hags that live at a given time. A grand total of 2d12 Hags of each kind exist in the world at any given time. No more than 7d20 of each kind live in all existence. All hags are treated as “unique” creatures, even if they’re not (even if they have “standard” scores [all 10’s and 11’s]). One of each of the following kinds of hags are represented in the “grand council” of the “grand covey” – the (racially) elected leaders for all hags (and thus all coveys) the world over. In theory, the grand council holds absolute sway over all hags. In practice, their leadership amounts to broad suggestions on how not to get all hags killed (and expected behavior along those general lines, or else) with a few more pointed demands on rare, very serious occasions. Hags reproduce only by breeding with other races. Their children are either ogres (males) or nascent hags (females). Nascent hags at first seem normal children, but eventually are kidnapped by their mother and are led to undergo terrible rites after reaching adulthood to become new hags. Needless to say, this is frowned upon by society, and hags are thus viewed as monsters to destroy. All hags are treated as witches (though they need no familiar) of their hit dice in addition to their basic abilities.

Hags are fey (instead of monstrous humanoid), and are very powerful. They feel it is their duty to bring the power of magic (and fey) into the world – thus their establishment of covens for that express purpose. They grow as witches naturally (gestalt their HD) in addition to their base abilities. Instead of their listed alignment in the monster manual, Hags are usually morally neutral, with an ethos similar to whatever (law/chaos/neutral) is listed in the monster manual (so instead of always NE, for example, a Night Hag would be usually N).

Green Hag
Night Hag
Sea Hag
Annis Hag [Bonus Beastiary]
Dusk Hag [Eberron CS]
Dune Hag [Sandstorm]
Snow Hag [Frostfell]

{NOTE: it'd be really keen, for thematic number reasons, if anyone could provide a link to an online resource that provides two more hags' stats; this number works fine, but it would be neat to subtly connect them to the Nine - see below for details.}

Dragons:
DRAGONS
Dragons are worth mentioning, as the standard elemental dragons do not exist – or rather only one of each exists in all the world. Each of these giant, advanced, creatures of legend and were hatched with the creation of the world – and their lifespan measures the current world’s. When the last of them dies (natural or not), the world undergoes great cataclysm, wiping away the old, with a new world born from the ashes – a new age with a new set of twenty dragons (five each chromatic, gem, metallic, and primal). None of the dragons really care about this; they are generally as described, save they are far more somnolent than normal for other campaign settings. Each century spent sleeping is a century that doesn’t count against their lifespan. These are creatures that – for all intents and purposes – are truly myth to any given mortal era. One of the three "Creators" of the current world is the last surviving dragon, a silver dragon. See the Origin of the World for details.

“Dragons” are instead basilisks, behirs, dragon turtles, dragonnes, drakes, hydras, linnorms, pseudodragons, and wyverns, as well as a few other similar kinds of creatures. There are, perhaps, a few hundred (10d10 x 10) of each of these creatures in existence, with linnorms being the most rare of all (10d10 total linnorms, not counting the Great Old One). All extant linnorms are treated with the young template (with the exception of the Great Old One [the frost linnorm], see below). Many of these dragons have the advanced simple template (50% chance) or even the giant simple template (30% chance for most, 80% for pseudodragons). There is only one frost linnorm. See the Origin of the World, below. At least 10 of each dragon type has the half-dragon template (one of each of the true dragon types). Dragons of any kind can be anarchic, axiomatic, celestial, fiendish, or fey-touched. These templates are not uncommon (45% chance, roll 1d6 [6=roll twice add all rolls])

Therianthrope (or 'lycanthrope' to all you traditionalists):
THERIANTHROPY (LYCANTHROPY)
Lycanthropy exists in the world, and it is a very powerful, terrible thing. Instead of being limited only to animals, however, even magical beasts can impart the curse/disease. Further, it is called therianthropy instead. A given therianthropic curse could apply to any animal or magical beast, though the latter is rarely lives long – it always comes with a combination of cackle fever and mind fire, and those so affected are cursed with mummy rot and forced to re-roll any one successful roll against each of those three effects once per save. Even if it does survive, there are no recorded cases of that form of therianthropy passing its traits along to progeny, so there are no known natural magical beast therianthropes.

Therianthropy is a natural byproduct of magical run-off inflicting a base animal, and it is that base animal that the creature in question inherits – so an elderly man could acquire a young wolf body or a young girl could acquire an elderly owl body. When they reach the natural conclusion of one lifespan, it becomes difficult – even deadly – to continue in that form. Often a therianthrope will “retire” to a life as one or the other when one dies early. Also, due to most animals having shorter lives than humans, therianthropy is usually ends in an early death for a recipient – an ancient wolf might quickly be killed or die on its own. However, either aspect only ages while it is "out", meaning that, if carefully tended, a therianthrope can live for a longer time than most of their base race.

Although often (rightly) thought of as a curse (due to its nearly uncontrollable urges), therianthropy also represents an enormous power-increase – one that could easily place a would-be deity where they need, however, such divinity is fleeting unless properly done, as the animal and human are often at odds and the two sides may easily (and usually do) destroy each other, in the pre-divine, nascent-immortal, or even immortal or divine states. Most "ascended" with therianthrope are, instead, nature-deities – wild creatures, not quite animal and not quite humanoid, who bridge the gap between animal gods (the path they’ve chosen) and people and have come to a sort of inner-peace with themselves. It is possible, though unlikely, that a creature could advance in both forms of divinity.

Natural therianthropes exist, and have enormous personal power, but often do nothing with it, growing not as animals, but as people. These will occasionally produce shifters instead of natural therianthropes with their base race. Shifter, in this case, is a template based off the race in Eberron Campaign Setting.

Those with any therianthropy can determine whether to add XP to their animal track or the humanoid track (and have two different XP totals for each). Their animal track maximizes at double their base animal hit dice (or at six, if their base animal hit dice would be less than six).

World Origins (mythical/pre-history events):
THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD

Each of the following has:
** gestalt with psion and soul knife/bow with their personal HD
** advanced, giant, creature of legend, phrenthic, faerzress-infused templates
The Phoenix has the half celestial and half gold dragon templates
The Balor has the half fiend and half red dragon templates
The Solar and Silver Dragon both have the fire-souled template
The Neolithid and the Ice Linnorm both have the fiendish template
The Destroyers all have half celestial, half fey, and half fiend templates

The Creators: the Solar, the Phoenix, the Silver Dragon
The Corruptors: the Balor, the Neolithid, the Ice Linnorm
The Destroyers: the Tarrasque, the Shoggoth, the Froghemoth

The Three Cursed 'Gods':
*the Mystic (Warden) [CG]
--> nymph [lycanthrope {dire <polar bear, wolverine>}]
--> gestalt sorcerer
--> cursed by a belt of opposite gender
*the Mysterious (Immortal) [NG]
--> doppleganger [vampire-lich]
--> gestalt rogue
--> cursed by a helm of opposite alignment
*the Majestic (Guardian) [LG]
--> rakshasa [½ (celestial, <silver> dragon)]
--> gestalt paladin
--> cursed by incense of obsession

The Way the World Was Created[b]
[b]The First Story

When it was first created, there were hundreds of divinities (all published in all books [all boosted to 300HD]) molding it, shaping it, growing it – for and against each other. From them came the planes of existence within the astral. As creation and destruction occurred, the world was created. From the conflict arose massive power and some <chaotic> good deities used it to create – the lawful imposed order, and the evil corrupted and tainted. And so the worlds were created, lived, and died.

This world was crafted with 12 true dragons, a choir of angels, two phoenixes, and seeded with mortals. When evil came, it corrupted, destroyed, and maddened. Then, the last angel, the last phoenix, and the last dragon, battled the last balor, the last neolithid, and the last linnorm. From their conflict the great world-enders were created (came about) – the Tarrasque, the Shoggoth, and the Foghemoth. And the world died. And the world died.

The Solar bound himself up in binding the balor, the neolithid fled destruction by coating himself in collapsed time (quintessence), and the two dragons slept, after the Shoggoth fell to the deep, and the Tarrasque into the earth. The Froghemoth was cursed and reduced to naught (a shadow of its former glory, though still immortal). And the phoenix created all new mortal life. Thus, the nine Great Old Ones recreate the world.

Three cursed survivors of the calamity built the world anew. Three cursed gods.

Mortals re-grew from the ashes.

The Second Telling

When the worlds were first created, there were hundreds of Great Old Ones – gods who were part of the very beginnings of all existence, and by whom all existence was developed. These great old ones were themselves under the Over Deities – the rulers of their various pantheons, who, in turn, owed their allegiance to the Creator – the over-lord of all, who allowed them to come into existence and live with free will.

The deities took the raw stuffs of creation and molded, shaped, and grew all the worlds and existence – both for and against each other. Into darkness and light, across vast expanses of space and time, and with power and will they shaped all things according to their whims, creating and recreating all things to their own purposes, subverting the creations of others and living, warring, loving, and destroying as their want dictated. The (chaotic) good created, the lawful imposed order, the evil corrupted and destroyed. Together all the realities were developed.

This world was one such. Within it, a cycle of existence was established for life to begin, flourish, and fade – a start and an ending of all things – and souls were created to populate it. This world’s life span revolved around the life of the ten dragons. Each of them would live, die, and at the end of it all, the world would fade with it. They were the pillars of creation and by their life and death they determined the life and death of the world.

At the end of the last world, there were only three of the ten true dragons left – an ancient silver and an ancient gold each of great power and glory who sought the continuance of the world they loved and the souls therein, and a red of unbelievable might and horror who desired the world to continue for his own glory and greatness. In his lust for power, the red destroyed the world. The red sought beyond the boundaries of reality and invited a horror too much for even him to control. The balor came and consumed the red, taking its power and essence for itself. His desire was to consume and destroy everything in the most painful and vile manner possible – first corrupting, then consuming.

The gold dragon became aware of this evil, and gathered a set of the greatest creatures of existence – the great solar, the silver dragon, and the last two phoenixes. The balor gathered unto himself allies equally vile and evil, sharing his essence and power with them, and the two opposing forces squared off. The struggle awoke three omens of doom and death, three creatures of annihilation, which rampaged across the globe. The world was shattered in the struggle and all other creatures were destroyed. The gold and one of the phoenixes were destroyed, but bequeathed their essences and powers upon their allies in their death. Though the Balor destroyed the star, the Solar bound the Balor with himself, and created a new one, permeating all the world with their power. As the world became unstable, the two dragons were forced apart, sleeping at the poles of the dead world. Phoenix and Neolithid were all that remained, and the latter fled deep into the earth, hiding itself outside of time; the former sacrificed itself to rekindle all life (though, with the possibility of resurrection one day).

And so new life returned.

There were three survivors from the old world, three cursed gods who’d witnessed the struggle and took it upon themselves to guide the new mortals revived by the phoenix’s sacrifice and raised them to civilization once again.

Now, all power is the remnant of these Nine Great Old Ones. Magic essence supplied by the Balor, focused by the timeless mind of the neolithid, and restrained from consuming mortals by the benevolence of the Solar. The world survives by the life of one, lone dragon; all souls and spirits exist only by the light of the phoenix’s grace.

Civilization has slowly re-grown and flourished in the 10,000 years since the Dawning Light. None of this is known, now, by those who still yet survive, though the sun (Taiia [Kossuth – the Eternal Flame]), all life (Elishar [also Kossuth]), magic energy (Toldeth [Zon-Kuthon – the Endless Shadow]), the arcane codex (Wethystral Jazuthran [Hecate the Ruby Witch-Queen of the Moon]), and the world itself (and its doom) (Yuan Ti/Couatl – the Twin-Headed/Two-Faced {Night/World} Serpent) are each given a personification, and are known as the Nine Great Old Ones (despite the fact that there are – at most – six, though most count up to seven by technicality, and four or five by practicality – it’s explained away as the great mystery of divinity, and/or missing some ancient records, the last usually by way of the Three Cursed Ones). There are also the Three Cursed Ones – completely credited with the survival of all life and civilization – that are revered as mysterious ancient ones that are less well known than the Nine Great Old Ones, are generally thought of as near-mythic hero-deities (and are often believed to be composite stories of many near-mythological ancient greats), while the deities most commonly worshipped (and directly accessed) vary from place to place, country to country, and are all great ancient hero kings and queens ascended (or, in some places, any given ancestor). These last are the means by which divine magic happens.

Path to Divinity (how the 'normal' gods of humanity came about):
The Path to Divinity
In order to become divinity, mortals must undergo a certain set of rites. Undead are, in fact, simply failed attempts at divinity, or the result (children) of such. Most undead will never be able to become divine, having been too corrupted by the powers and process. Such undead are naturally abominations and so need to be destroyed. A failure along any part of the journey is a complete failure. Any evil creature that attains immortality ultimately becomes either undead, or a minor fiend. All such failures and their progeny are abominations that need to be destroyed.

Ascension is (understandably) rare. Less than .1% of those who achieve fifth and sixth level (which is 0.3% of the population) pursue the paths that lead to divinity (so only .03%), and only around .01% (.0003%) who pursue it ever acquire it, and the journey is very long indeed – roughly a one thousand year-long journey. After ten thousand years, around six hundred different deities exist. The rest of the pursuant are usually enemies of all divinities having themselves failed the trials and difficulties inherent in ascension, and are often hunted down and destroyed by their would-be peers, or end up causing their own destruction through foolish actions.

* A mortal needs to be fifth level (or higher), non evil and then attain vampirism (or similar), which is called “nascent immortality”. Blood rites and sacrifices are thus necessary to see the potential deity through this part of the process, their life-draining abilities are simply infantile versions of claiming souls of the faithful, and many of their weaknesses are due to their status as in the most infantile state of divinity – any deity’s actual elements are overwhelming to their newly awakened pre-divine senses. The level cap increases to twelve.
*** [mummification is an acceptable substitute, but the character must be sixth level instead of fifth, and mummies start from scratch and must regain their lost abilities – they gestalt up to their undead hit dice (each level gained costing as much as it takes to achieve seventh level), before continuing past it]
*** [becoming a shade is also an acceptable substitute, but this is even rarer and more difficult than either mummification or vampirism]
*** [lycanthrope (see below) can actually catapult a mortal up through the ranks to achieve this rapidly]
*** [any nascent immortal must pass this part quickly enough to avoid a permanent fall to evil]
*** [animals must achieve “dire” status (double their natural HD, advanced template, giant template) or be awakened in order to progress further]
*** [one alternative method is to sacrifice life-force to create lantern archons, until death, at which point they become deathless as in Eberron; but ascended councilors are incorporeal (ghosts)]

* A nascent immortal needs to be non-evil, attain 11th level (or higher) and then lichdom (or similar), which is called “immortality” – such awesome power shows up in naturally overwhelming ways that life finds difficult to sustain, and is – at this level – difficult to control. The level cap increases to twenty-four.
***[a phylactery is composed of their philosophical statement which will be their future sphere of influence <acts as a phylactery of faithfulness without being bound on the lich's person>]
***[a lich that survives the destruction of its phylactery cannot ascend until it makes a new one]
***[animals must instead achieve a second status from the following list: becoming a dire creature, becoming legendary (new to this tier), or being awakened]

* An immortal needs to attain 20th level (or higher) and then have their phylactery consumed into their being and their body fade from physicality by their own power to become true spirit – a deity. They cannot be evil.
*** [a deity begins to replace their class levels with levels of deity at this point, unless they continue to gain levels – a difficult prospect without conflict with other deities (or extra-divine Powers), any of which can lead to rapid personal destruction]
*** [all deities of humanity automatically produce 1d20 + their level + charisma modifier lantern archons, and one astral deva (its scroll bearing the actual writings of the phylactery, thoughts of the deity, and so on – literally the portfolio of the deity manifest, physically) upon ascension – these archons and angel serve loyally until death, and are actually direct extensions of divine power, essence, and spirit; they serve the actual will of the deity rather than just its orders; a deity gains double this number (rolled twice each time) of lantern archons and devas multiplied by their (new) divine rank every time they gain a divine rank; deities can eventually gain the ability to promote their servants to greater forms; lemurs, larvae, and other such soul-types can be used to create new creatures and forms as well]
*** [an animal must eventually die, and have its life so important that the local ecosystem continues to behave as if it were still there – and it becomes so]

There are three gods of civilization and nine ancient ones that are very different from this. See the section on the Origin of the World for details.


On races:

Hume-races: Hume are the only creature that has a spirit separate from its flesh, and thus are the only creatures capable of achieving "divinity" as it's defined above. Wizardry feeds on this spirit, tending toward odd effects. Dwarves, humans, and orcs are the prime practitioners/inheritors of wizardry. Orcs are not wizards themselves, but are a corrupted off-shoot of a once-numerous therianthrope breed: wereboars. These are by far the most common kind of creature.

Fey-races: Fey are transformative flesh-spirits that come directly from Elves and Gnomes. Elves, gnomes, and kobolds are the prime practitioners/inheritors of witchcraft. They don't have access to the divine unless they are impure in breeding, as they don't ascend to divinity they progress to become demons or fey (or dragons, in the case of kobolds). These are far less common than their hume counterparts.

Half-races: Goblins are a fey-touched orc breeds that straddle the line between fey races and hume-races. Halflings are a breed of humans descended from magically-reduced group (a result of fey pranks/gifts). Half-elves are the direct result of a fey race and a mortal one breeding. Genies are gnomes who – instead of following the fey cycle – plumbed the depths of wizardry, specifically elemental mastery, and in so doing became too powerful too quickly, outstripping (in some cases) the power of the gods, but also becoming slaves to all.

Elementals: elemental spirits are composed of spirit-stuff that has been lost to the power of wizardry over the many millennia, thus cast adrift and wandering through the maelstrom until becoming.

I have more about this stuff elsewhere, but I'll have to locate it and type it up later. Tell me what you think, things that need definite improvement, and I'll look into it.


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Wow, facinating thoughts.

Dark Archive

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Yikes, I was all like, 'it would be neat to play in a campaign where you could only play non-core races and classes, and the core classes / races either didn't exist, or were only for adversaries' but you just freaking *ran* with this non-core-class setting concept!

I like the idea of tying races together, and having some stronger fey associations. One pet concept of mine was that the First World and Shadow Plane were reflections of the material world, one closer to the positive energy plane, where everything is brighter, louder and 'more real,' and the other closer to the negative energy plane, where everything is muted and drained of color and vitality.

Elves and Gnomes would come from the First World / fey plane.

Hobgoblins and Goblins would be the exact same species, more or less, but from the Plane of Shadow / unseelie fey plane (with hobgoblins looking more 'dark elf' like than the football-headed hobs of Golarion, and utterly replacing Drow).

Bugbears would be another twisted reflection-race, but they've spent the last 1000 years hunting down and eliminating any trace of their First World counterpart... (Some of that counterpart race probably still dwell in the First World, but any who came across with the Elves and Gnomes are long-dead, or so deep in hiding that they might as well be!)

In the fey realms (both First World and Shadow Plane) the *real* elves, gnomes, hobgoblins, goblins, etc. dwell, truly immortal, and more magical and 'fey' than their earthly descendents. The elves, gnomes, goblins, etc. of the material plane have been diluted by centuries of existence on the material plane, and are as to 'real elves' as 'half-elves' are to what the mortal races think are 'real elves.' (More like 4th editions Eladrin, or even the leShay, from the Epic rulebook, with the Shadow Plane versions of the Hobgoblins being more like noble Drow or something.)

In this way, elf, gnome and the three goblinoid races would all be descendents of a fey-incursion into the mortal planes, and have 'gone native,' and, for the most part, not being welcome back on the fey planes, being regarded as having been sullied and lessened by the loss of their immortality and fey glamour and whatnot.


Sweet! More people!

Set wrote:
Some really nice stuff!

I like where you're going with this. One of the things that I didn't post, because I couldn't find it, is a mock-up of the "evolutionary cycle" I created for gnomes and elves specifically (showing progression from one elf/gnome type to another, the "triggering events" and how they could evolve back and those triggering events). I recall, now, that kobolds were a type of gnomish evolution for the other (pre-APG) campaign that I started adapting here (I'd forgotten when I was posting above).

My original concept is somewhat different than what you propose, but I like your idea of a mythic "first race" from whence all is descended, as well as your positioning of the fey/first world and shadow with the positive and negative energy planes. In some ways it feels 4E-ish, which I'm usually hesitant about, but actually tying it so that they have the pos/neg planes at their respective cores is really a nifty one, and very powerful. I'll look into finding the evo-charts later.

I'm still all open to all comers and ideas (even if they don't fit with mine)!

EDIT FORE CLARITY

Dark Archive

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I love tying races together, rather than just have them all kind of evolve independently.

For my Freeport game, which simply had to have Serpentfolk (despite my dislike of adding yet more humanoid races to a game setting that is already crawling with them), so I came up with the idea that the original Valossan/Serpentfolk civilization was 1000 or so years ago, and had collapsed per the Green Ronin story (disrespect of the gods, sinking of their empire). Using powerful arcane forces, many tried to use the procedures they'd used to colonize distant lands to transform themselves to adapt to and survive the great cataclysm, but lost much in the desperate attempt to merely survive...

Both the Sahuagin and the Locathah were two different offshoots of their people that magically adapted themselves during the cataclysm to be able to survive underwater. At first, they were quite similar, but the mental imbalances that made the majority of them cruel and prone to homicidal rages led to the more well-adjusted 'locathah' sneaking away and abandoning their increasingly psychotic brethren. They are now effectively different subraces.

Yuan-Ti were a different sort of degeneration, their attempt to adapt themselves to survive causing many to mutate into freakish monstrosities, and ultimately turning to dark and demonic serpent gods, who taught them to celebrate their new states. (And, for Golarion, would be just flat out abandoned, since they aren't OGL.)

Lizardfolk were yet another sub-breed of the Serpentfolk, already bred by the more erudite and lithe Valossans to be bulkier and more warlike, the 'soldier caste' of the serpentfolk empire, and, cut off from their more intelligent leaders, they fell into barbarism. If non-OGL sources are used, Blackscale and Poison Dusk Lizardfolk would represent similar sub-strains (perhaps originally bred by the Valossans to be brutes or scouts, perhaps developed after they were left to their own devices...). Another splinter group of lizardfolk, stationed (or fleeing) deep underground, degenerated even further, turning to demon worship and consorting with ghouls, and becoming the Troglodytes.

The only reptilian humanoid left, the Kobolds, are the only ones not in any way related to the progenitor Valossan/Serpentfolk.

I also tied the Giants together (with Genies and Titans and Ogres and Humans, even!) here.


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I had an Idea about dividing Arcane and Divine Magic further

Arcane Magic is that of wizards, sorcerers, summoners, and alchemists. It draws from ones inner life force to bend reality.

Divine Magic is for Clerics, Oracles, Paladins and Inquisitors. It is power that comes directly from an individual diety. It implants a small part of the gods essence into yourself to fuel the spell.

The new bit would be Natural Magic. Bards, Druids, rangers, and Witches draw power from becoming a conduit for the innate power of the world around them.

There is some fluff clean up to be done, but it feels a little closer to a sensible divide between magics.


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A further elaboration on your idea.
It's time to bring back some old 1e implications.

Raise dead does not effect fey races, there is no spirit to answer the call. They can be reincarnated if needed.
Reincarnation does not bring you back as a race outside your type, Hume is Hume, Fey is fey. Halfs might count as Hume, as they have spirits.

All conjuration(healing) should be necromancy. It just makes sense that way. Not just in your setting.

Perhaps there is a were-wolf or were-rat race that is emerging like unto the orc.

Other intelligent monsters may be therianthrope in origin. Like the Naga, or harpies. Others may be the tampering of wizardry in the quest for divinity, like trolls.

True giants might be a thing unto themselves, or maybe fey?

Dark Archive

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I have no idea if this information is available online, but for other sorts of Hags, the Creature Collection for the Scarred Lands setting has;

Brine Hags
Cavern Hags
Ice Hags
Moon Hags
Storm Hags
Swamp Hags

All are size Large, and range from 7-12 HD, and have the spellcasting ability of a druid or sorcerer of HD equal to their HD (with the exception of the most powerful, the 12 HD Moon Hags, who are 14th level Sorcerers).

Brine Hags breathe underwater and can Scry using magical shells.
Cavern Hags are eyeless and have blindsight.
Ice Hags can drain the heat out of someone they touch and have an icy breath weapon.
Moon Hags can fly, turn invisible and stun someone they touch, and often carry magic items that work normally for them, but are cursed in the hands of thieves.
Storm Hags can fly, and grapple and constrict people with their long, prehensile hair.
Swamp Hags have natural camouflage in the swamps.

Since they weren't written up for Pathfinder, and I don't even have the 3.5 conversion in the Revised Creature Collection, you'd probably be best suited to just design any you want to use from the ground up, to fit the other Hags you'd be using anyway. (Some, like the Swamp Hag, pretty much beg to have stuff like Swamp Stride added, as well.)

The Brine Hag and the Sea Hag pretty much cover the same niche, and would be redundant (although adding the seashell Scrying to the Sea Hag could be cool).

The Cavern Hag, Moon Hag and Storm Hag are probably the most unique, and not duplicated by what already exists.

(Edit: Jinkies! MOAR HAGZ!)

.

Another thought. If you are going to go with the idea of Witches using a more natural magic theme, having them be Wisdom or Charisma based might make more sense than having them Intelligence based.

(Heck, I'd even consider going so far as to allow several different types of spellcaster to choose from multiple ability scores for their spellcasting modifier. An Int-based Bard? A Cha-based Cleric? A Wis-based Paladin? Go for it!)

Scarab Sages

Marking this to read later when i get off work.


So, as it turns out, my internet totally wiped out. I'm temporarily signed in here, but it might be a day or two before I can get regular access again.

Anyway, when I attempted to respond last night the 'Net quit on me, so I lost yet [I]another[I] post, so I quit. And, of course, that's when I lose access.

Short version: I like where we're headed, though I don't agree with everything, there's much that I love. I also found my old evo-charts and discovered that not only were they heavily based on the class the particular race took (most of which don't exist now), but it'd be really complicated to put on the Internet, and far more so on an I-Pad.

I'm interested in elaborating on this, but I really cn't now. That said... Elaborate for me! Huzzah!


First: that's a lot of hags. Too many! Way too many! Wow! Thanks, Set! :)

Brambleman: I basically love every scrap of your second post. Pretty much all of it forever. :) By that, what I mean is: I totally use them all as necromancy already (one of my constant home-brew rules); I like the concept of reincarnation v. raise dead, plus it makes a lot of sense the fey would have access to reincarnation magic, since, you know, they need that to live; the therianthrope-thing is something I'm examining closely, and am thinking of making shifters into a template to apply to other creatures as such; monsters being fluctuations from core elements is interesting too - that's pretty much exactly what, in this setting, magical beasts are.

I can see giants being some sort of change from a baseline to a larger version. That would be interesting. Very similar to Set's stuff.

To your first post, I've actually heavily considered it, but it brings too much into the current dynamic. I might apply it to another setting, and in fact I have a concept I'd like to run by you in a sec, but for this one, especially since we're trying to pair down the classes, I don't think that functions as well. I really like the concept, though.

an old idea that I love that I might dust off for another setting, but since we're working with APG-only (or nearly so) it's not as good for this:

One old idea that I had was actually tying various magical types to various planes for their basis. So, divine to ethereal, arcane to fey, shadow to shadow, pact to far/xoriat, psionics to astral, and a few others that I don't recall right now. Further, combinations of planar basis made for interesting results: astral/ethereal (psionic/divine) yielded things like monk (ki), amongst others. I really liked it, and it was similar to your own concept.

The type of energy and plane you interacted with or aligned yourself toward heavily determined your ultimate fate in existence (but not necessarily your destination), whether it be a spirit (ghost/petitioner for the ethereal/divine) or a kind of weird, warped echo (a shadow for the shadow) or a combination of the two - a warped echo blended with your spirit (a wraith for the interaction of shadow and divine) each determined by your actions and mystical attunement, so to speak (there was some place for non-casters, I just hadn't figured it out, yet!). Magic became very segmented and different forms became very different very quickly because of it.

Anyway, I really look forward to hearing more from you guys - and others! - on some of these concepts.


So, I found a replacement for sneak attack. Added.
Also, temporarily redacting the Fighters once again. Reason: there are warriors for being good, well, warriors. Cavaliers, however, get better by using the link between the divine and the law. The power of their vows and codes are based off of divine respect for vows and codes.

The Exchange

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That's interesting - In the Hyborian (Conan Setting) The Big Power Spell Casters like Thoth Amon were required to learn religion and ceremony and become a priest to the particular Elder God (in Thoth Amon's case SET) to gain access to spells that would be available to characters beyond what you consider that 6th level limit. Thoth Amon is an 18th level spellcaster who summons demons to pull his chariot, deliver his mail, and guard his house. Lets not discuss the really big ones he sends to beat up rivals and kick over the sand castles of the other kids.


Tacticslion wrote:


Brambleman: I basically love every scrap of your second post. Pretty much all of it forever. :) By that, what I mean is: I totally use them all as necromancy already (one of my constant home-brew rules); I like the concept of reincarnation v. raise dead, plus it makes a lot of sense the fey would have access to reincarnation magic, since, you know, they need that to live; the therianthrope-thing is something I'm examining closely, and am thinking of making shifters into a template to apply to other creatures as such; monsters being fluctuations from core elements is interesting too - that's pretty much exactly what, in this setting, magical beasts are.

I can see giants being some sort of change from a baseline to a larger version. That would be interesting. Very similar to Set's stuff.

To your first post, I've actually heavily considered it, but it brings too much into the current dynamic. I might apply it to another setting, and in fact I have a concept I'd like to run by you in a sec, but for this one, especially since we're trying to pair down the classes, I don't think that functions as well. I really like the concept, though.

** spoiler omitted **...

Glad to be of help. I think that youre right, the magic divide makes more sense with the planar setting than the APG one.

The racial divides do reinforce the idea of monsters as a separate category of life. Fluctuations is a good word for it. Also, templated creatures would be a good fit here. I like things like the Thorny, and Beast of Chaos templates from the Tome of Horrors.


So dropping in, part again, to mention another realization I had recently. I don't think I really described what it was like to be 0-level, or rather "less than first".

Basically, zeroth-level characters are those who, for whatever reason, are less than first level. Sounds self-explanatory, right? Well... yes and no. Being zeroth level is not supported by Pathfinder, and, truthfully, I'd like to be able to (at a glance) know what a zeroth level character is. So, I've developed the idea of partial levels. Much like in 3.X there were 1/2 HD, 1/3 HD, and 1/4 HD creatures, zeroth level is broken into these gradients.

A newborn is effectively a 1/6 HD commoner with the young template applied twice. They gain no skills and no feats or save bonuses and have 1 hit point.

Very young children are 1/4 HD, have a shining two hit points (unless their CON would bring them down) and can place their one plus their current intelligence modifier (if any) skill points into skills, but still gain no bonuses for class skills so-trained.

A youth loses one of the two applications of the young template and is generally a 1/3 HD of whatever class they are being trained to become. They gain a +1 in whatever trained skill is associated with their class-in-training, their first level feat, and usually have two or three hit points (although barbarians have four, and for all of them, their current CON score alters it), but no other benefits from their class. Those with special disabilities may stay here, even though they lose the young template later (they may retain certain aspects of the young template, like a lowered physical or mental score).

An young adult loses the other young template and goes up to 1/2 HD (and thus half their maximum rolled hp plus their CON modifier), gaining a +2 in their trained class skills, a base attack bonus if their class has it, cantrips if their class has them (though not unlimited), or one other non-offensive first level class feature, as well as the least of the weapon proficiencies their class would give (simple for most classes, a staff or a dagger for some like wizards, even though wizards don't actually exist now). This is basically where many people hang out for the rest of their lives.

Now, again, if this seems complicated, it is, but much like deities, it's not going to come into play often (I hope!), but only for those situations if I want to see if that kid actually does survive the battle with the orc (as one example, insert your own example here, that sounds pretty vicious and I probably won't ever do it). It also tells me, at a glance, whether character X is able to do Y given Z. For any inconsistencies, they are covered up as "well, that's how the dice roll." i.e., not everyone always takes ten, and that works out better or worse, depending.

yellowdingo - I'd like to look more into the Hyborian Setting (I'm sadly deficient... I know, I know, here's my Geek cred), but I'm actually imagining this world to be more like what to the Romans what Steam Punk is to us (a vision of an alternate future-past).

Brambleman - I'd love a list of templates as you see the and how they might apply! Basically all creatures with the Magical Beast category are directly due to magical "run-off" from various mystical forces: normal, mundane animals were mutated in various ways in the past becoming either new, stable races or consistent mutations based off the creature and the particular run-off (arcane, divine, which spells/schools/element/etc). This would also allow various templates to come about too (probably these would be the more mutagenic types).

Hume Magic:
* divine - tied strongly to the tenets of law and good
- - - divine magic is the moral compass by which all societies is/are glued (this does not equate to making all deities right, much less all their clerics)
- - - divine "magic" is really miraculum, and affects more than most give it credit for - it allows not only "spells", but also enhances physical prowess (usually in combat), expands the consciousness to allow for greater skill, and can enhance the soul of whomever it touches

* arcane - comes in two different flavors; both can seduce and corrupt the unwary easily; the wildness at the base of arcane magic means that it often has unseen or even unknown long-term consequences for good or ill
- - - 1) wizardry: from the interaction of two complex forces - the chaotic and/or evil natural "state" of magic constrained by the complex codex of wizardry as handed down through the ages; wizardry is the fuel by which civilization runs; wizardry comes in three primary flavors: alchemy, artifice, and summoning; each of these are focused by eight "sub-flavors" (schools <each further clarified by sub-schools>), and elements)
- - - 2) witchcraft: the "fey" style of magic that allows magic to run its whims through you - your will is done as it feels like it; terribly chaotic or evil, yet following seemingly arbitrary and contradictory laws

Fey Magic:
* arcane/divine - the fey literally have no divinities; instead they have greater "spirits" (of their own kind or others) who are strongly tied to nature and its whim; effectively all fey magic is both arcane and divine in a way that's fundamentally different than hume magic (although witchcraft is arcane for humes)
- - - witchcraft: as mentioned before, this is the "fey" style of magic that allows "magic" (the force) to run its whims through you - your will is done as it feels like it; terribly chaotic, yet following seemingly arbitrary and contradictory laws
- - - something else: I really don't know right now. Since I've mostly restricted it to NPC styles {possibly druids to produce nymphs}

ALSO: an idea I'm kicking around about dragons and the future ages of the world and how they might be enabled:
* Kobolds - these are basically forest spirits, but I haven't really determined their origin. Nonetheless, I'm thinking that kobolds are actually the world's future dragons: basically the sorcerer class is open to them, allowing them to take the dragon disciple prestige class allowing them to actually become true dragons (incidentally explaining why all true dragons also cast spells as sorcerers. Kobolds are the only race that gains access to the sorcery class. Most kobolds remain kobolds; a few "grow" into lizardfolk (usually by something like a barbarian causing a mutation); very exceedingly super rare is the one that actually manages to become a sorcerer and thus even more rare is a dragon disciple and even more rare is a "true" dragon.

What do you guys think about this? Give me some ideas, kick them around, critique some of it. I know the magic is mostly a repeat of before, but tell me what you think of it nonetheless.


Sooooooo... I just thought of another way past the level cap(s).

Effectively, the sixth level limit is a hard limit. Most creatures will never go beyond this. However some will. MOST of those will continue to be sixth HD, but I'm going to implement something similar to the E6 idea that allows you to take feats. Instead, I'm going to allow you to gestalt. Each level after the first requires an additional amount of 7th level XP. So, for example, to gain a first gestalt level (6th level X, 1st level Y, total HD 6) you'd have to gain up to 7th level of XP. Double that for the next step (6th level X, 2nd level Y, total HD 6). Double that for the next. And so on.

The goal: attain a d10, best base attack bonus, best saves, and 6+INT mod skills (basically imitating an outsider - the idea is that you're effectively "tricking" the universe by being effectively the same or greater as an immortal spirit). Once you've done that for your current level cap, the cap is erased and you may progress... as one class only. Once you hit your next level cap, you can do it again.

Again, I'd be interested in your feedback!


Tacticslion wrote:

Sooooooo... I just thought of another way past the level cap(s).

Umm... I don't follow, what's the next level cap? And what if you dont get outsider-ness with gestalt? like Clr-Wis gestalt gives none of those things listed.

Also, with regards to templates. They kind of got their own thing going on, im not sure what more fluff youre looking for.
For reference, there is a Conan story called The Tower of the Elephant, that features, among other things, a pretty good example of a magic warped creature. It's a lion that has been majiked up to be be stronger, fiercer, and most of all, completely silent. No roar, no footfalls, no heartbeat, nothing. Im considering working up a template on the theme.

If you want a list of promising canidates, I think i could oblige. Though I really only have Beastiarys + tome of Horrors to draw from.


Tacticslion wrote:

Sooooooo... I just thought of another way past the level cap(s).

Brambleman wrote:
Umm... I don't follow, what's the next level cap? And what if you dont get outsider-ness with gestalt? like Clr-Wis gestalt gives none of those things listed.

Exactly. You gestalt one full level only. So, for example, once you gain a level of gestalt, that's the only level you gain. You don't auto-gestalt in the future. So basically, you become a 6HD outsider, but then the lowest cap is removed and you can raise as your normal class (non-gestalt) up to the next cap, as noted. This would have to be completely repeatedly. And you can gestalt more than one class. It could grant a great amount of power, for your hit dice, but the amount of experience points necessary would be relatively staggering. So, if you don't gestalt something that ultimately leads to "outsiderness"... you still have your current level cap. You can continually add other things (each time you hit the level cap) but doing so becomes rather cost-prohibitive XP-wise over time (given the description above). Once you've completed the necessary gestalts, you can bypass the level cap you're currently at with one class of your choice when you recieve enough additional XP to get to 7th level normally, and progress normally after that, until you hit your cap again.

The level caps are (as noted under ascension, above):
* MORTAL: max HD 6
* NASCENT IMMORTAL: max HD 12
* IMMORTAL: max HD 24
* DEITY: no max HD

To clarify, I'm not expecting most people to get to deity level, or even immortal: most games, suspect, will only hover around mortal, perhaps a few nascent immortal, and rarely all the way to immortal. This is just one more way.

So, ways around the mortal base MAX HD (for Humes):
* vampirism (base nascent immortality)
* mummification (nascent immortal through ritual, rarely functions well)
* therianthrope (auto-bypassing the max HD, by granting the animal HD, potentially shortens or lengthens lifespan)
* deathlessness (as described in Eberron) attained through death via Create Lantern Archon (a 3.X spell)
* gestalt stuffs

Fey are different altogether and run by their own rules that I'm still working on hammering out. Effectively, they stop being their base form/self by 6 HD (possibly before) through evolution based on their power and style. For example transforming into, well, fey, or demons, of various kinds, dependent upon how they start out. No fey can retain their base form beyond 6HD, but I've yet to come up with a convincing (to me) reason for the rarity of the transformative process. I'm thinking that, as it looks now, perhaps it's about making wise decisions as you progress, forcing them to constantly alter themselves as time goes on via ritual to a new thing now; if they choose "wrong" they could possibly end up with no where to "go" i.e. no way to progress in HD (though this might never happen, I don't know); witches are the exception, but they're called any number of other things via fey, all with some amount (no matter how small) of honor - witchcraft is, after all, the fey "style" of magic. Regardless I haven't settled on that, and I'm probably not going to any time soon, I'm just kicking around loose ideas. I'll probably put this with more clarity later.

Brambleman wrote:

Also, with regards to templates. They kind of got their own thing going on, im not sure what more fluff youre looking for.

For reference, there is a Conan story called The Tower of the Elephant, that features, among other things, a pretty good example of a magic warped creature. It's a lion that has been majiked up to be be stronger, fiercer, and most of all, completely silent. No roar, no footfalls, no heartbeat, nothing. Im considering working up a template on the theme.

If you want a list of promising canidates, I think i could oblige. Though I really only have Beastiarys + tome of Horrors to draw from.

Yes please. :D


Also, keeping an eye on this.


If you find any other artificers, make sure to post them to that thread!


Well, it turns out that most templates work in the world as exactly what you think they are. A Mage Experamented and monsters resulted. But I still intend to post some fluff for a couple so stay tuned.


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Tacticslion, Ive written some world specific fluff for some of the templates from the Beastiary and the Tome of Horrors. May I Present:

Brambleman's Template Analysis::

Zombie and Skeleton: These are the results of early experimentation in to the nature of life death and immortality. Crude, but useful, these preliminary creations are now used as minions, while the search for divinity continues.

Beast of Chaos: This is the results of attempting to infuse a creature with pure energy to boost its life force. Partially successful, the subjects did indeed gain power, but not immortality. As a side effect, the raw energy warped the minds and spirits of the animal test subjects into beings of Chaos. It is unknown if these experiments were ever conducted on sentient beings. (This template is the result of witchcraft)

Deathleech: Many experiments were focused on the idea that life energy could be taken from another being to supplement ones own existence. While many know about the more prevalent failures, the cannibal ghouls and the more sophisticated vampires, fewer are aware of the Deathleech. Unlike a Vampire, a deathleech can be very much alive, and draws power from directly draining energy as opposed to blood.

Debased Fey: Humes can be cruel in their experiments. And sometimes, Wizards took to experimenting on the Fey to discover the secret of their longevity. The most popular theory was that you could implant a soul into a fey to turn it immortal. But the souls rejected their containers, the weak simply died, but the strong suffered greatly as their implanted souls withered. The defiled essence of this intrusion results in a debased fey.

Abominations and Amphisbaena Creatures: Most wizards like to claim these beasts are the results of contamination of the environment by magical energy. Others believe these creatures are the result of accident. But lets face it, sometimes people do dumb things. Doubly so when godhood is on the line.

Draconic, Celestial, and Fiendish: It seems simple enough, cross a creature with an immortal being, and it will become immortal. Sadly, that is not the case.

Plant Imbued and Thorny: These plant/animal crosses appear to be the result of Fey magic. It is suspected that powerful fey can become Plant imbued by allowing the magic of nature to become one with them.

Spectral Troll: An attempt to use Witchcraft to fix the famous creation of wizardry that is the troll. We wish they left well enough alone.

As I've Said before, most templates work with little extra fluff, so I included the ones that I felt would need the extra spin.


I always liked how the pathfinder trolls are hinted to be based from Plants.


So I recognize that I haven't been here in a while. Sorry!

Brambleman, Cheapy: thanks! Especially you, Brambleman: that breakdown is pretty great. I don't have the Tome of Horrors, though, so I'm afraid I'm not likely to be using several of those.

SPOILER WARNING: I'M PUTTING A FEW SPOILERS FOR SEVERAL CAMPAIGNS BELOW
(Legacy of Fire, Kingmaker, Serpent's Skull, Carrion Crown, Jade Regent)
I'LL TRY AND KEEP IT TO A MINIMUM, AND MINOR OR SUPER-OBVIOUS BUT YOU'VE BEEN WARNED

I'm actually planning a campaign using this stuff. Like, a real one!

The idea is to take the faction/"race"/exploration elements from Serpent's Skull, the caravan elements from Jade Regent (haven't played that one yet), and the Kingdom Building from Kingmaker (possibly with a dip into piracy - I really don't know if there are special rules or not, but I suspect something) and use these to develop a long-scale campaign. I'll be using the basic ideas and some plot elements, but changing them heavily to fuse seamlessly together (and ignoring some altogether).

Effectively:

1) SS AP#1: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv + Jade Regent pre-caravan stuff
--> this directly leads into the king-maker-style commission from the local government
--> this may be tied into the Pirate-style stuff before being really "rescued" (or being able to gather all the information needed to get to the Savinth-Yhi stand-in)

2) SS AP#2: Racing to Ruin + Jade Regent caravan stuff
--> this is also tied to the Kingmaker AP#1 Stolen Land
--> this could also be tied to several Legacy of Fire and Carrion Crown elements, making the stop half-way through the race at Kalabuto more of an enforced stop (having the evidence point there as the first step, for example), and causing the PCs and rival groups to head through this area (and probably clash repeatedly) while on a time-clock gaining information.

3) SS AP#3/4: City of Seven Spears/Vaults of Madness + Jade Regent post-caravan stuff
--> this is tied to Kingmaker#2/3 Rivers Run Red/Varnhold Vanishing
--> this could definitely be tied to the Carrion Crown gaining-trust mechanic
--> this may lead into Kingmaker #4 Blood for Blood

4) SS AP#5/6: The Thousand Fangs Below/Sanctum of the Serpent God + Carrion Crown (the later installments, especially those that rely on allying with undead or other evil factions) + Kingmaker AP#5 War of the River Kings. This could be tied in with the later parts of Legacy of Fire, too, combining that epic dangerous stuff together and having the ritual for creating/reviving the BBEG is a combination of SS and LoF.

Now, obviously, I'm taking a bunch of pre-published adventures and smashing them together. But I'm doing more than that. Tying their story cohesively and thematically together in different, interesting ways.

Once they find that the city does, in fact, exist, they need to find out exactly how to get to it. This could lead to a series of adventures in which they seek to find the lost treasures and secrets, all pointing to a politically boiling city, ready to explode. With five factions working hard at out-doing, sabotaging, and out-right destroying each other, the chaos in the city would likely peak. Especially with rival cities known to make attacks not-to-far-away. This could lead to the next leg of the race, and attempting to get to the next temporary stop to discover the final leg of the journey.

Whatever group invests the PCs with the writ of plundering the ancient lost city-site is also interested in having a sound, powerful neighbor. While the PCs have the writ of law to establish a kingdom, they've got to claim their capital first (the lost city) cope with the natives (ala Carrion Crown) and convince them to be with them. Further, there are groups that live in the local area, and even if the PCs manage to settle the lost city (the Savinth-Yhi-stand-in), they're going to have to deal with other people groups, natives, tribes, and the like around them. They'll have to slowly conquer, befriend, and/or absorb these groups. All the while, they're going to be exploring an ancient lost culture and civilization, and slowly reveal its ancient secrets.

One of those factions is bent on doing something stupid, and the PCs have to stop it, racing to discover what, exactly, the plan was this whole time, only to find out this deluded faction were pawns in the larger scheme of things.

In the end, they're going to run into other "factions", either keep the piece or keep them in pieces, and find that a sinister plan is being hatched under their feet. Literally. Heading to stop it (or perhaps being shunted to another plane when they succeed), allows their city above to fall to a second wave/attempt, even while they are stopping the first (or if they already have and have been shunted to another world).

Anyway, it's a thought, and it's in need of serious work, but that's what I've got so far.

Other things to note:

1) Rapid/Extraplanar transportation is heavily restricted (partially due to the level cap, partially due to world-rules) so that's going to be a factor. Locating real portals and gates is going to be very key to doing any sort of rapid transport.

2) I'm also thinking of/planning on dropping in some 3.5 one-shot modules. In the exploration/taming stuff, in addition to Kingmaker, there's some great Moonsea adventures. Ilmurea could make a great Undermountain. Adding things like the 3.5 Twilight Tomb and Sons of Gruumsh would enhance this whole thing immensely, and tying those to the Moonsea elements would be quite powerful, along with Cormyr: Tearing of the Weave and Anauroch: Empire of Shade. Add in a couple of adventure sites from Lost Empires of Faerun and the 3.0 FRCS and you've got nearly limitless adventure possibilities. Some re-statting will be required, but really not too much, compared to what you're getting.

3) With the above limitations, this adventure could take years in game time (possibly in real life, too, depending), so it's a huge investment to make. There are likely going to be lives lost here. So I'm going to have people make more than one character. The primary character is going to be the one they play, but the back-up characters are going to be part of the caravan and story, too, and friends of the primary character. If a character dies and there's no resurrection possibility, then back-up character comes in. Also, if this takes decades, kids could result, and perhaps the original adventurers (or at least some of them) do retire, and their children (or other young people from the newly established/tamed/civilized cities/country) take up the call to adventure.

4) It's a possibility, however far-fetched, that one or more characters might eventually go on to ascend. That, too, would be quite fascinating to watch.

Anyway, although what I've posted here is a rough idea, I'm constantly refining it in my head. What think you?


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Lo, the Thread!
Behold how it doth rise from dreaming death
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Thread R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!
Ia Thread! Ia Thread!


Are the stars right for it's full ascension? Or shall it fall back into that deep ageless slumber?

(Furtively.)


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Ahem.....
@ Tacticslion- If you do not have the tome of horrors, its content has just been transferred to the d20 PFRD

I think that Your campaign is shaping up nicely, you wouldn't happen to be planning it as a PBP? [/hope]

I think it would be awesome to play an Alchemist searching for immortality. Most of the Archetypes fit well too, with Internal Alchemist being my personal Favorite. I like to imagine them as being different experiments to unlock divinity.

As a note: the Animate Dead abilities should be made easier to reach as currently they are above level cap for all but the oracle.


Hahah! Sweet!

Also: Oof, I'm... not good at PBPs, I'm afraid. I mean, I could probably lead a few good nights of, say Windows Live Messenger, or something similar, but my history with most such things has been... poor.

Further complicating the fact is that I'm not actually done with several of the adventures I want to incorporate! I'm actually playing Kingmaker right now, I've yet to finish Serpent's Skull, we've not yet started Jade Regent or Carrion Crown, and Legacy of Fire is a really nifty thing on my shelf.

THAT SAID: if I learn enough self-discipline, and can control my own ADD, and can get enough interested players, a PBP could be pretty cool. (On the other hand, if you live in (or move to!*) Ocala, that'd be swell. I'm looking for a consistent group down here.)

Also, I really dig your character concept!

Mostly, though, it's still in the planning stages.

Part of the themes (I guess that's the right word?) include the power, majesty, and downright awe of truly great magical things: extradimensional spaces, demiplanes, gates, hallow/unhallow sites, etc.

Another part of the themes is to emphasize exactly how big the world is.

Personally, I'd find it very fascinating for a character (or two!) to ascend, and have subsequent characters in the setting worship the god that was a player character once!***

As far as undead creation, that's true, but I think that particular problem is solved three different ways (other than oracle, which comes with it's own host of complications and interesting RP, for an oracle allowing the most base seeds for creating a new god is a difficult theological choice to make...).

The first is through the ritual (circle) magic. As all arcanists have access to it, this can increase their effective caster level. What I'd rule is that, under these circumstances, they could cast higher level spells.

The second is - surprisingly - a Hag Coven (which witches can be part of) and you've got yourself some fascinating story concepts, such as having to deal with those vile, dark, scary, chaotic witches to actually find the beginning seeds of undeath...

The third is via item creation (most likely, I'd say, a scroll), and fudging your caster level and spell prerequisites. It would make actually creating the ritual to become an undead quite a difficult undertaking, and mean that it's not taken lightly, even by the most dynamic and well-prepared... because what if they've failed and created a cursed item, instead? That's a lot of resources to spend on it.

Still. A lower-level variant isn't really out-of-the-question. That would be interesting to come up with it's limits and balance it for a lower-level style thing. I'll have to think about it (probably slowly, as I do, especially now with a toddler!), and see what I come up with.

* Because moving to a city for the express purpose of playing a single campaign is totally a valid option!**

** No, it's not. I can dream, though!

*** This actually happened in a recent 4E game I ran, where several PCs worshiped some gods that were themselves PCs in the past in our 3.5 game. It was beautiful.


...
...
... yes!


.... Im in Orlando Actually.
Edit: At least a two hour trip each way


note to future: reverse two previous posts


... where... how... what... I... WH-BUH?!

... you sly dog! You never told me you were a time traveler!
(Changing your posts around!*)

(Also, I guess it depends on where in the city you are. It usually takes me about an hour to an hour fifteen-ish heading up or down the turnpike/75. But yeah, that's pretty far.)

Also worth thinking about is the recent Advanced Race Guide. There are some fascinating racial dynamics in that book that could make for a pretty good fit for this campaign setting, and some of the more exotic races could work, too, for both Hume and Fey. But again, I'm going to have to hold back a bit to think about it.

I've a question to you all. What do you think about firearms? It wasn't part of my original concept, but I could see it emerging in a world like this.

One other thought that occurs to me: 10,000 years is a really, really long time. That's the majority of human settlement (or longer than human settlement) by many accounts. That's a pretty interesting suite of things to be thinking about.

Also really interesting is the idea that you might run into super-powerful ancient fey, strange spirits, and long-forgotten (but still powerful and present) gods. There are six-hundred of 'em, you know. That's a lot!

Also, I'm not entirely sold on any one, particular area/feel, yet. While SS takes place in jungle latitudes, KM takes place in bitter northern ones, and JR takes place in a combination of both, but LoF takes place in the desert... etc. One interesting thing about all this, is that if the players do find portals, all this is still viable. The portals just go to places that I know they'll need for story purposes (and will likely be linked to those places because of the story of their creation in the first place.

*Yes, yes, the delete-and-re-post trick! Still, I'm going to presume "time-traveler"!


One other thing I was thinking of for this recently: how to apply other classes and races, and how to handle them.

I really like Set's ideas for the Fey (with Positive inside) and Shadow (with negative inside). That's really interesting.

I also think that Fey will be just that: fey. Elves and gnomes are going to come from (and mostly live in) the feywild/first world. However the veil is very thin between the first world and the material, and manifest zones (ala Eberron) will likely happen.

Fey will have access to some different classes, too. Elves will have access to druids, but only with certain archetypes, such as the elf-archetype in the APG (and will thus be on track to become dryads, nymphs, and other such creatures). Similarly, gnomes have access to bard, but only the gnomish bardic archetype.

Goblins, I think, shan't be the shadow races, though (even though I really like the concept, theoretically).

I'm also going to say that goblins are corrupted creatures, but they're corrupted in a slightly different way from before.

Orc + halfling -> goblin
Orc + dwarf -> hobgoblin

By tapping into the fey side of their heritage and the therianthropic side (via the orcs), both hobgoblins and goblins can evolve into bugbears.

It's worth noting again (as I did above) that orcs are distantly descended from therianthropes, meaning they're touched by the wild power of magic (and fey) anyway. At any rate, that's my current theory about goblins and goblinoids.

With the shadow plane, I've been running into some issues wrapping my head around it, but with the advanced player's guide (and flipping through the bestiaries) I've come up with several races that live there. Most of these actually migrated to the shadow plane, and were transformed by it's power. Here's my take on it for now:

Races from other worlds (either fey or material) who entered the plane of shadow from the material and got trapped there, slowly becoming the following:

  • Drow (elves): these can become noble drow or driders

  • Darkstalkers (humans): these can become shae or skulks

  • Darkcreepers (halflings): these can become dark slayers

  • Wayangs (goblins): these can become skulks

  • Duergar (dwarves): these don't have another form

  • Svirfneblin (gnomes): these can become skulks

  • Fetchlings (various): Effectively, this is what drow and darkstalkers produce. Also shae and humans. These can become shae or noble drow

One of the interesting things is the prevalence of both Fetchlings and Skulks. That may change, but that's what keeps coming to mind. I'm thinking of changing skulks to orcs, but that doesn't quite seem to fit (though there are some similarities).

Then there are the natives. These are the following:

  • D'ziriak: these may well be the only "civilized" race native to the plane of shadow.

  • Gloomwings/Teneberous Worms

  • Gray Render

  • Peryton

So that's all I've got for natives for now.

Anyway, that's some aspects of the world I've been thinking about.

Also, the shadow plane is (currently) much "farther away" than the fey. This shifts from time to time, but for now, that's where we're at. So there aren't really any links to the shadow, as there are with the fey, so transitions aren't likely to happen.

EDIT: to clarify, most of this stuff is completely off of the "races playable" list. At least for now and probably for any early campaigns I run.


Also a nifty thought I'd had (I forgot to put it in before, and it's different enough that I figured I'd place it here below) is the idea of genies.

First, to clarify, despite how we'd normally think of it, there are deserts in the fey. Those link up to the ones on the material. There is every kind of place in the fey (and shadow) as there is in the material.

Second, ifrit: these are the descendants of the genies. Specifically, ifrits have access to sorcery (unlike anyone other than kobolds), but they all have a twofold bloodline, and it's always both elemental fire bloodline and wishcrafter. (Kobold sorcerers, on the other hand always have a double bloodline of the dragon and kobold-trapster bloodlines).

I'm wondering how to tie the others in, but I'm thinking that oreads can only pursue their variant of the summoner; I'm just uncertain of the last two. Actually: since sorcerous bloodlines are now a tack-on to summoning, that's how I'm going to do it. A elemental-descent summoner (sorcerer) is going to slowly become more like the patron that it continues to summon a fragment of. The eidelon is only a pale reflection of the true spirit, thus explaining the strange evolutions it gains through the chaotic magic.

Historically this works very well: the gnomes sought out the powers of the summoner and through abusing that eventually became the "summonees" (aka genies). This is where sorcery came from. Kobolds, then, learned sorcery at the feet of the genies. Other races lack the innate gift for sorcery (but can still pursue summoning).

Also three more racial things worth noting:
1) Aasimar is now a template that can by applied to any hume or half-hume race. They are descendants of angels.

2) Dhampir is also now a template that can be applied to any hume or half-hume race. They are descendants of nascent or failed gods (the vampires).

3) Tieflings are now a template that can be applied to any fey or half-fey race (including the elemental ones). They are the descendants of those fey corrupted by magic instead of blending with nature or reincarnating normally.


i sense alot more of the core classes coming in, but i guess npc only doesnt count.


Actually, probably not. Now that "sorcery" (that is, sorcerer bloodlines) is actually covered under summoner, we may be able to excise that to. I've not fully decided, and am able to be swayed.

Druids are relatively unique, however the further limitation on them being the one racial archetype means that it's not going to look like Core at all.

One other thing to keep in mind: one set is fey magic, one is hume magic, and the two don't really mix well (save in witchery, which is generally rejected by Humes anyway). If humes are the "Core" of this world, than it's unlikely for PCs to be fey - fey are the kind of "monster" races, after all.

But again, these are just general ideas, and they're not even close to being set in stone. I'd like more feedback in general on the thoughts and ideas.

The Exchange

Tacticslion wrote:

So dropping in, part again, to mention another realization I had recently. I don't think I really described what it was like to be 0-level, or rather "less than first".

Basically, zeroth-level characters are those who, for whatever reason, are less than first level. Sounds self-explanatory, right? Well... yes and no. Being zeroth level is not supported by Pathfinder, and, truthfully, I'd like to be able to (at a glance) know what a zeroth level character is. So, I've developed the idea of partial levels. Much like in 3.X there were 1/2 HD, 1/3 HD, and 1/4 HD creatures, zeroth level is broken into these gradients.

A newborn is effectively a 1/6 HD commoner with the young template applied twice. They gain no skills and no feats or save bonuses and have 1 hit point.

Very young children are 1/4 HD, have a shining two hit points (unless their CON would bring them down) and can place their one plus their current intelligence modifier (if any) skill points into skills, but still gain no bonuses for class skills so-trained.

A youth loses one of the two applications of the young template and is generally a 1/3 HD of whatever class they are being trained to become. They gain a +1 in whatever trained skill is associated with their class-in-training, their first level feat, and usually have two or three hit points (although barbarians have four, and for all of them, their current CON score alters it), but no other benefits from their class. Those with special disabilities may stay here, even though they lose the young template later (they may retain certain aspects of the young template, like a lowered physical or mental score).

An young adult loses the other young template and goes up to 1/2 HD (and thus half their maximum rolled hp plus their CON modifier), gaining a +2 in their trained class skills, a base attack bonus if their class has it, cantrips if their class has them (though not unlimited), or one other non-offensive first level class feature, as well as the least of the weapon...

So you are thinking along the lines of a Roman Empire that built a causeway (even over the Adriatic and Black Sea) from Rome to Bejing and put a railway on it with legions stationed every twenty miles?


yellowdingo wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
<snip, snip> yellowdingo - I'd like to look more into the Hyborian Setting (I'm sadly deficient... I know, I know, here's my Geek cred), but I'm actually imagining this world to be more like what to the Romans what Steam Punk is to us (a vision of an alternate future-past). <snippy>
So you are thinking along the lines of a Roman Empire that built a causeway (even over the Adriatic and Black Sea) from Rome to Bejing and put a railway on it with legions stationed every twenty miles?

Somewhat, yes, but instead of using railways as we'd understand it, the primary travel forms would be Dimension Door (for personal use and transport to areas around the city), or Phantom Chariot (for more long-range transport), or levitated cargoes moved about by a very primitive steam engine (created and powered by magic), and guided by a flying attendant, for example.

Since all "wizards" (which is any of the arcane practitioners) can gain resources by using circle magic like Red Wizards in FR, that means that they can have substantially higher caster-levels for creating this stuff (especially the artificers*, who have a +2 higher CL anyway**).

With spells like Obsidian Flow to create useful materials out of dirt (magically made harder and tougher, both roughed and smoothed (by using non-cutting ridges turning it into a non-slippery surface) could be used to "pave" roads and cities, for example. Buildings made with heavy use of Wall of Stone and Stone Shape would be extremely rare (and expensive), but would exist as powerful examples. Kings and rulers would have these edifices as proof of their status. Given Witches are usually found on the outskirts of society have a more rapid spell-progression than anyone else, it's not really too much wonder that the more famous of them live in mysterious cottages that seem to appear and disappear, changing locations frequently...

(And so on.)

Anyhoo, that's how I'm envisioning it. More mundane means exist, too. Er, be back for more later... need to take care of my son! :)

EDIT: Just briefly, because I don't have too much time, the short version is: this is to the Roman Empire*** what Steam Punk***-type settings are to us. So while there may be rails and steam-stuff, it's not our steam-punk in Roman times that's the vision, so much as a Roman "steam-punk-like" thing would look like***.

* I'm using Eberron's artificers, but replacing the XP-pool with a gold-piece pool (multiplying it x5 for conversion purposes).

** It's worth noting, that since most characters don't get above sixth level, and most "wizards" don't have more than 2nd level spells/extracts/infusions by that level, and a circle usually only goes up to five total participants, the highest caster level for crafted items in typical society is +18 (sixth level caster, +2 per arcane effect sacrificed to the circle [x5 participants = +10], and +2 for artificer's special stuff).

*** Given that I don't actually know all the details of Imperial Rome, it's life, culture, and the like, and any historical view or information I do have is hopelessly romanticized and obscured by modern sensibilities, shows, books, and the like, I'm not going to claim that this is what the Romans would have had if they had a retro-futuristic thing like we do... rather this is my interpretation of a retro-futuristic vision of alternate-history earth, using interesting technology that they had at the time (like wooden computers, citrus-powered batteries in pots, etc), only developed with magic instead of lost, and that sort of thing. If there was a real retro-futuristic Roman thing, it would probably look substantially more like Greece. But that's boring, and would end up in a modified Greek setting, not a Roman one. So, you know, I'm going with this instead.

EDIT 2: To clarify, ancient Greece isn't boring (it's actually really cool), but rather just saying "it's like Greece, but different" isn't inherently interesting, and doesn't fit with the setting that I have in mind.


Please leave out citrus batteries. Take concrete instead. Its far less ridiculous. Use magiteck, but please, not citrus.

ps. Maybe its.... Bronzepunk?


Hmm maybe a hybrid of the Manapunk & Steampunk genres.


Brambleman wrote:

Please leave out citrus batteries. Take concrete instead. Its far less ridiculous. Use magiteck, but please, not citrus.

ps. Maybe its.... Bronzepunk?

... you do know that citrus batteries were a real thing, right? As in they really, genuinely, honestly existed (at least as far as we can dig up from the scraps of the many-times-burned-to-the-ground Alexandrian Library)?

'Cause that's entirely where I got that idea.

Regardless, it's not a "setting-defining" thing, so much as a single piece of background. I mean, I'm not saying that citrus batteries will line every street, but that's just one minor example that I pulled up from history. That said, if you've got other historical examples of almost-technology-but-lost, I'm all ears!

Give me cites, sites, and sights, and I'll check those puppies out!

Also, Bronze Punk is an interesting idea, so I looked up Roman Metallurgy!

EDIT (warning TV TROPES)
ALSO: Manapunk=Magitech? and Steampunk, make Bronzepunk?
(no, that last one doesn't go anywhere)

Indexes*! Everyone likes Indexes*!
*Note: this may be a lie. Some might not like it.

Relevant:PunkPunk

One thing I wish to mention: this is not steam-punk. This is closer to manapunk, but it's not full-fledged out there: airships are not a part of the setting, nor are cyber-magic-augments (or what have you). Even Leonardo DiVinci's tanks are too far in the future to consider, yet. Only those devices (to the best of my knowledge) that could reasonably have been extrapolated to have existed do, plus-one-step-further (a minor, obvious and logical use for said stuff).

While this is high fantasy, it's not Eberron-with-Roman-clothes. Unless someone convinces me that it's a great idea to be Eberron-with-Roman-clothes. (NOTE: I'm not against that at all. In fact, Eberron-with-Roman-clothes sounds pretty neat! But that's not the original look I was thinking of. IF, on the other hand, I get some good feedback that turns it more that way, I can be flexible!)


I read all the info on citrus electricity. Citrus can only enerate minimal power, and that is IF the jars found were actually batteries. At best, it could manage a parlor trick like moving a strip of foil or possibly magnetising a needle. Its not even enough for electroplating. Granted, much of the ancient engineering is to showboat for worshipers at temples. But citrus power cannot be scaled up without looking laughable. Plus the jars of the so called "Baghdad battery" were more likely to be storage jars then usable power cells.

The history channel had a special on this stuff to. Clock works and steam works featured in temples. They were used to do things like make statues cry, open doors "magically" or in one case a holy water vending machine. Alter fires powering steam expansion was the basis for most of them.

Concrete was an actual roman building material and features in the Dome of the Pantheon. where it was the largest unsupported concrete dome for millennia.


Manapunk is when the main source of power is magical. Such as a Steam Engine using a Continual Flame( just using a spell off the top of my head) to generate heat to create the reaction for steam. This is technically Manapunk running Steampunk. And is an extreme example.

Manapunk can simply be every torch is Either an Everburning Torch or a torch with Continual Flame permanently applied to it.

Manapunk and Magitech are related but not synonymous.

P.S.: Concrete, Steam power, and electricity have been used since at least the Greeks. Citrus Batteries were used for generate sparks to ignite fire to power the "steam engines".


Brambleman: I haven't had TV for the longest time (I have a TV-set, but it doesn't receive anything: I use it for videos/DVDs, or more rarely games, when the occasion comes up to do so, though it's infrequent at best), so I'm afraid I missed that special on the History Channel (which used to be one of my favorites, by the by). So, what I'm asking you to do, in this case, is come up with an alternate! Show me what we had historically! (Again, the citrus stuff wasn't meant to be what powered everything, simply the basis for what is refined thereafter). Also, I thought you meant "concrete" as in a "concrete battery", as opposed to the building material, which, you know, was a distinctive part of Roman stuff.

Azaelas Fayth wrote:

Manapunk is when the main source of power is magical. Such as a Steam Engine using a Continual Flame( just using a spell off the top of my head) to generate heat to create the reaction for steam. This is technically Manapunk running Steampunk. And is an extreme example.

Manapunk can simply be every torch is Either an Everburning Torch or a torch with Continual Flame permanently applied to it.

Manapunk and Magitech are related but not synonymous.

P.S.: Concrete, Steam power, and electricity have been used since at least the Greeks. Citrus Batteries were used for generate sparks to ignite fire to power the "steam engines".

Sure: actually, what I meant by "not steam punk" is "not Victorian England with clockwork Togas and air-ships" which is what most people think of when they think "Steampunk". I'm not averse to steam-power... I even mention it above! All I meant was "don't look for clockwork golems, air ships, sprockets [sic], and the like here" 'cause it's not the feel that's being aimed at.

Also, I linked Magitech because it's the closest they had to Manapunk in TvTropes.

So, guys. Link me. Hit me with historical stuff! Let's take the tech, augment with 3rd level and lower magic (and occasionally higher) and extrapolate one (or two) steps from there! (EDIT: like the Dome of the Pantheon, thing. Link me more like that!)

EDIT 2: For spelling.


I can't find a link right Now... but some archaeologists discovered a Grecian Hot Air Balloon about a year ago. It used pedals to turn propellers to move it and a special box to control the hot air.

It is effectively the oldest version of the blimp/zeppelin and was used for scouting. If you have an android phone you might look up Arcane Empire(s) and downgrade their tech a little bit.


... Dang it, I guess there will be airships in Rome.

Related: noice.


Tacticslion wrote:

... Dang it, I guess there will be airships in Rome.

Related: noice.

Technically it was just a Hot Air Balloon. It also required something a kin to a diving bell at higher altitudes.

Oddly enough the Romans Also used them when mapping areas and never used them during wartime.

EDIT: noice?


Heh, yeah, I'm not talking about war-type air-ships. It was mostly my tongue-in-cheek way of saying that air-travel will occur, now.

"Noice" is a funny way of saying "nice". It's a "terribad", colloquial-homonym-joke that's only a-joke-because-it's-in-print.

I blame Dr. McNinja.

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