Mesopotamian Adventures!


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I've been batting this idea around for a while now, and have come here to see if anyone has any thoughts.

Oriental Adventures was obviously a huge success, and Easten culture (primarily Japanese, but with increasing proportions of Chinese, Korean, Indian, Tibetan, Thai, Indonesian, etc.) has been an increasing presence in the RPG sphere. We've transitioned away from ripping off the intellectual bandwagon of a British linguistics nerd and have begun plagiarizing from a much wider variety of sources!

Which has led me to ponder a Bronze Age Mesopotamian setting, especially after the release of Mythic Adventures.

Since records from the Bronze Age are incomplete, and thus focusing on a single culture would be overly restrictive, I've lumped together Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia up through the Achaemenid period, the Hittites, Israel and Judah, Tyre, Sidon, Ugarit, and Old Kingdom Egypt.

There are, of course, several Mesopotamian and similar Bronze-Age monsters in the Bestiaries, some of whom are obvious, but others which I might have missed. After all, cultural references can be subtle. For example, I would never have guessed that the marut inevitable was from Indian mythology, but there you go. Golden helmets and breastplates, association with lightning and thunder. Easy to miss the forest for the lich-hunting robotic trees. So there's no telling what Mesopotamian influences in the core rules I might have missed.

Monsters:

Girtablilu, B3 p 130 (Akkadian)
Humbaba B3 p 151 (Sumerian/Akkadian)
Lammasu B3 p 175 (Sumerian/Akkadian)
Maftet/Mafdet B3 p 188 (Egyptian)
Nephilim B3 p 200 (Hebrew)
Shedu B3 p 243 (Sumerian/Akkadian)
Tophet/Topheth B3 p 271 (Hebrew)

Elohim B4 p 86 (Hebrew)

Ahkhat B5 p 14 (Egyptian)
Anunnaki B5 p 28 (various Mesopotamian)
Apkallu/Abgal B5 p 32 (Akkadian/Sumerian)
Karkadann B5 p 148 (Persian)
Sha B5 p 226 (Egyptian)
Shabti B5 p 227 (Egyptian)
Uraeus B5 p 259 (Egyptian)

And of course divs and ghuls derive from Persian mythology, and Pazuzu/Hzuzu derives from Akkadian and Babylonian mythology.

A few things occur to me:

Wizards and arcanists would be extremely rare, and alchemists only slightly less so. Their spellbooks, formula books, and scrolls would be tablets and cylinders of fired clay.

Perhaps scrolls would, instead of being consumable, function as 1/day items for 10 times the price (spell level * caster level * 250 gp), with the same material and focus component cost adjustments as wands.

Barbarians would vastly outnumber fighters. The lack of heavy armor proficiency would be far less detrimental in a world where iron is extremely difficult to come by and nonmagical full plate does not exist.

The bard would still exist, but would need a new name.

There would be essentially zero monks, but a larger-than-normal number of brawlers.

What cavaliers that do exist would be charioteers.

Clerics would be somewhat rare, with almost all of them being members of priesthoods centered around one of the handful of major city-states. The average divine spellcaster would be a shaman, with a very large proportion of those having the animist archetype. Oracles would be somewhat rarer than shamans but more common than clerics. The druid class need not be any more or less common than normal, but would need a new name.

For fighters and barbarians, there is the problem of iron being almost unknown. It would come mostly from meteorites (which in game terms would be adamantine) or rare nuggets underground (which would usually be cold iron). Using bronze for metal would remove quite a few weapons and armors from the game, at least until later levels. Players would also need masterwork versions of weapons to avoid having them break on a natural 1.

Just to give them a reprieve, I'd say that bronze items are immune to rust, and that spells like magnetic field do not function on them.

To make iron more valuable, I'd rule that all iron has the properties of cold iron (including price, and with the 2,000 gp cost added to the base price rather than paid later for adding magic enhancements), and can also bypass hardness of 10 or less when attacking objects.

Bronze-Age Weapons & Armor:
Light armor:
padded
quilted cloth
lamellar cuirass
leather
parade
studded leather
wooden
chain shirt
lamellar (leather)

Medium:
armored coat
hide
lamellar (horn)
scale mail
agile breastplate
breastplate
chainmail
lamellar (steel)
mountain pattern

Heavy:
lamellar (stone)
stoneplate

Shields:
buckler
light steel (quickdraw)
light steel
light wooden (quickdraw)
light wooden
heavy steel
heavy wooden
tower

Simple light:
battle aspergillum
brass knuckles
cestus
dagger
gauntlet
light mace
punching dagger
sickle
spiked gauntlet
wooden stake

Simple one-handed:
club
heavy mace
mere club
morningstar
shortspear

Simple two-handed:
boar spear
longspear
quarterstaff
spear

Simple ranged:
dart
javelin
sling

Martial light:
handaxe
kukri
light hammer
light pick
sap
shortsword
starknife
throwing axe

Martial one-handed:
battleaxe
heavy pick
light flail
terbutje
trident
warhammer

Martial two-handed:
earth breaker
greataxe
greatclub
heavy flail
mattock
rhomphaia
scythe

Martial ranged:
amentum
atlatl
composite longbow
composite shortbow
longbow
pilum
shortbow

Exotic light:
aklys
knuckle axe
pata
scorpion whip
sica
swordbreaker dagger

Exotic one-handed:
dwarven waraxe
great terbutje
hooked axe
taiaha
wahaika

Exotic two-handed:
bo staff
dwarven urgrosh
gnome hooked hammer
harpoon

Exotic ranged:
bolas
boomerang
halfling sling staff
kestros
lasso
net
rope dart
snag net

There would be essentially no magi that weren't eldritch scions or otherwise free of the need for spellbooks. The class would also need a new name.

Paladins with special mounts would be charioteers.

Rangers, hunters, and slayers would be unchanged.

Apart from the kineticist, the occult classes fit surprisingly well. Mediums and spiritualists are age-old archetypes, as typified by the witch of Endor in the Old Testament. Just replace the tarot decks and ectoplasm with seer stones and tuḫḫu.

The occultist's obsession with the spiritual properties of physical items fits in well with traditional sympathetic magic. The necroccultist and sha'ir also fit perfectly (genies predate Arabic culture).

The mesmerist is also thematically fitting, if you ditch the Victorian trappings (pendulums, "animal magnetism"), and focus on fascination (the technical term for the evil eye) and oneiromancy.

Gunslingers, ninjas, and samurai don't exist for obvious reasons, and inquisitors aren't very thematically appropriate in a world where religious belief is far more fluid, to the point that besieging armies try to bribe a city's tutelary deity to gain entrance, rather than scream that said deity is an abomination.

Class Names (Akkadian/Sumerian):

Alchemist . . . . . . . . . . sha-gabêshu
Antipaladin . . . . . . . . parriṣu
Arcanist . . . . . . . . . . . kakugallu
Barbarian . . . . . . . . . . urshānu
Bard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . nuāru
Bloodrager . . . . . . . . . maḫḫû
Brawler . . . . . . . . . . . umāshu
Cavalier . . . . . . . . . . . mār damqi
Cleric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . sangû
Druid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . nēshakku
Fighter . . . . . . . . . . . . zakkû
Hunter . . . . . . . . . . . . māḫiṣu
Magus . . . . . . . . . . . . multēpishu
Medium . . . . . . . . . . mushshipu
Mesmerist . . . . . . . . . . mupashshir shunāti
Occultist . . . . . . . . . . . . shagammāḫu
Oracle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . shā'ilu
Paladin . . . . . . . . . . . . . qarrādu
Psychic . . . . . . . . . . . . . shabrû
Ranger . . . . . . . . . . . . . dayyālu
Rogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . guzallu
Shaman . . . . . . . . . . . . kāribu
Skald . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ṭabbālu
Slayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . ṭābiḫu
Spiritualist . . . . . . . . . kashshāpu
Sorcerer . . . . . . . . . . . kalû
Summoner . . . . . . . . . sha-shipti
Warpriest . . . . . . . . . . arīru
Witch . . . . . . . . . . . . . āshiptu
Wizard . . . . . . . . . . . . ummânu

A more Mesopotamian cosmology would be very different from the traditional Great Beyond.

There would be a Dimension of Dreams, an Ethereal Plane, an Astral Plane, and a Plane of Shadow (whose version of the Underdark would be the destination for the dead). Flying high enough into the sky or climbing mountains of incredible height would bring you to another plane where deities dwell. And portals to demiplanes would exist all over, hidden in remote places and abandoned ruins.

I'm debating how to best try to fit the various supernatural monsters from the bestiaries (fey, outsiders, undead) into the Mesopotamian system of labels (utukku, edimmu, udug, udug hul, asakku, lamassu, shedu, and so on), but boy, does that task look exhausting.

But demons and evil spirits wouldn't be dwelling on a remote plane waiting for a cultist to open a gate; they would be terrifyingly close. Many would dwell on the ethereal plane in remote places and ancient ruins, and come out by night to attack the mortal races through curses, disease, poison, madness, and possession; slipping ethereally into one's very home.

That's about as far as I've gotten in the outline. Any comments, thoughts, or contributions?


Witches sound like they would fit in here. No spellbooks, just familiars, and as you say, the dark powers are terrifyingly close.

Does heavy armour exist? Does medium armour? What weapons would be allowed?

Should the spell lists be pruned a bit?

Are magic items a thing? Are they common? Are they createable by the PCs?

Even if priests are rare, I think that religion would be a major political force.


Have you checked out Testament from Green Ronin? It is 3.0 but covers the area well.

One of the Avalanche Press 3.0 sourcebooks, the Atlantis one IIRC, had what I thought was a great suggestion for bronze age equipment, do not adjust attack or damage or AC for the earlier metals, just reduce the equipment hp and/or hardness to less than their iron/steel equivalents. So a sunder fight will show the advantage but you can still do normal stat combat in general.


Voadam ninja'd me on that. Testament is a great supplement.


Particle_Man wrote:
Even if priests are rare, I think that religion would be a major political force.

Theocracy and Bureaucracy were two of the hallmarks of Mesopotamian civilization.


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meaning 'priests' would be super common, though maybe not the spell casting favored of the gods kind.


Mesopotamian Mythology


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I dunno..If I were to do a direct Pathfinder take on Sword and Sandal/Mesopotamian fantasy, I would probably let Clerics be as common in the setting as they are in Pathfinder. If anything, Pathfinder's idea of religion is probably closer to Mesopotamian than Medieval European.


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Remember there are archetypes that may help the Wizard, Arcanist, and Magus more palatable for your setting.

Spirit Whisperer and Familiar Adept Wizards, Unlearned Alchemist, and Eldritch Scion.


There's also a few more monsters from the mythology scattered about throughout the APs and setting books. Rabisu, Gallu, Gidim, several others. It would take a little while to find them all.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Mythic Monsters: Middle East might be relevant to your interests, as might Mythic Monsters: Egypt!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I had a friend who ran a bronze age ancient near east campaign (back in the late 70s / early 80s). He did away with fantasy races entirely, and instead used variations on human races. He totally reworked the equipment lists (including armor and weapons, of course, but everything else too, right down to meals, goods & services) to reflect the time period. It was very immersive.

Hats off to the late John Chalupsky, who I was honored to call my friend.

In the decades since, I'm sure I've seen several sourcebooks in various game systems about bronze-age campaigns, either hellenistic or ANE-themed. Seems like there was a GURPS version, and ICE version, and of course there were lots of bronze age elements in Runequest. I bet a quick googling could turn up PDFs of some of those.


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Jason Nelson wrote:
Mythic Monsters: Middle East might be relevant to your interests, as might Mythic Monsters: Egypt!

Yeah, yeah, you'll get your money. God.

Kidding. You guys are awesome.


this is an interesting idea, but it does strike the balance between classes further off than it already was, doesnt it? The Psychics and Sorcerers have a big leg up over any martial that needs to rely on bronze tech for weapons and armor.

It looks like you are a lot more knowledgeable on the period than i am but in swords and sandals an inquisitor for religious cults seems super spot on, sure they have some spells but more so they are scary and have a lot of unexpected skills.


On iron: I don't recall it actually being THAT much better than bronze... at first. It's only when you remove the impurities of iron and start creating steel and alloys and stuff that you get to the point where yes, it's outright superior, but early iron weaponry is... Well, comparable to bronze.

Quote:
I dunno..If I were to do a direct Pathfinder take on Sword and Sandal/Mesopotamian fantasy, I would probably let Clerics be as common in the setting as they are in Pathfinder. If anything, Pathfinder's idea of religion is probably closer to Mesopotamian than Medieval European.

Agreed. Pathfinder mythology is NOT a medieval mythology at all. Actually, I hate how Pathfinder and D&D mythologies are usually done: there's no ambiguity as to whether the deities are real, they simply ARE and they intervene directly sometimes and we know for a fact they grant clerics their powers. Buh.

Making religion a matter of faith seems way more interesting when designing a setting.

Anyway, I'd say that Clerics and Shamans alike have a presence - as do Oracles. Witches can certainly exist, too.

As far as chariots go - horses were first being ridden in, what, 2-3 thousand BC probably? Yes, chariots were dominant for a long time, but there were some CRAZY PEOPLE that decided to take the little bitty horses of yore and try riding them, and that eventually led to the breeding of bigger horses. I think that's reason enough to make horse riding an option - just make horses less sturdy and a little smaller. Maybe horsemen are assumed to take Undersized Mount to make it work and Horses count as medium creatures?


Sounds a lot like Darksun, which is good for that exact reason.


One of the old Necromancer Games books is Ancient Kingdoms: Mesopotamia. It's not perfect (and it's 3.5), but it should have some good ideas, and has a fairly detailed region to explore.

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Reminds me of Primeval Thule.

They figure that bronze weapons versus bronze armor is pretty much equivalent to steel weapons versus steel armor, so there was no need to change anything due to the material.

Shadow Lodge

Inlaa wrote:

On iron: I don't recall it actually being THAT much better than bronze... at first. It's only when you remove the impurities of iron and start creating steel and alloys and stuff that you get to the point where yes, it's outright superior, but early iron weaponry is... Well, comparable to bronze.

What it was was more accessible (no trade routes to Cornwall for tin required) and cheaper. You could equipment 10 sword and board fighters for the cost of one Egyptian charioteer or one Mycenaean Lord in bronze plate. That was one of the factors (in rough terms) that contributed to the bronze age collapse.


Kerney wrote:
Inlaa wrote:

On iron: I don't recall it actually being THAT much better than bronze... at first. It's only when you remove the impurities of iron and start creating steel and alloys and stuff that you get to the point where yes, it's outright superior, but early iron weaponry is... Well, comparable to bronze.

What it was was more accessible (no trade routes to Cornwall for tin required) and cheaper. You could equipment 10 sword and board fighters for the cost of one Egyptian charioteer or one Mycenaean Lord in bronze plate. That was one of the factors (in rough terms) that contributed to the bronze age collapse.

Right. Which means that Iron shouldn't be way more expensive. If anything, maybe even cheaper?

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Depends on your fantasy world metallurgy and mineral content.


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I'd suggest taking a look at Necromancer Games 3.X "Ancient Kingdoms: Mesopotamia" for 3.X; it's still oen of my favorite books of that era.

Even cooler, imho: Xoth Publishing's offerings.

The Player's Guide is free and the adventures breathe the spirit of Howard, Smith, etc. There are even free fan-adventures to get.

*skulks back into the shadows*


i thought the big bar to iron use was the incredible heat needed to smelt it down and make it usable. as far as replacing bronze goes, and again this is just what amateur historian me knows, iron at even a basic level holds an edge far better than bronze and almost immediately replaced bronze weapons when it was available. Bronze armor continued on for a while afterwards because it was softer and would warp rather than shatter from impact making it actually better at deferring an attack until iron working got a lot better and armor became sturdier.


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Depends on the iron. Originally, pure iron was softer than bronze. Wrought iron, with a little bit of carbon, and properly quenched was harder. But it took a few hundred years for wrought iron to become discovered/common and replace bronze.

Scarab Sages

I had ideas for this before I encountered Testament (but I agree, it's a great book, and it does a great job with Wizards as long as they're Egyptian), back shortly after Oriental Adventures came out. A few ideas I had:

The Rabbi: A Wizard/Cleric hybrid with a split list of arcane and divine spells.

The Wildman: AKA Enkidu, a Monk/Barbarian hybrid (alignment restriction would be NG/NN/NE since they bend with the winds of Nature rather than trying to control or defy it).

The Prophet: A divine version of the Warlock; maybe they could call down the occasional miracle at high levels.

The Scribe: A Bard/Wizard hybrid AKA "Bard for the written word," whose spells would all require a bit of writing material as a material component, although for their lower-level spells they'd have a tablet they could easily write on and erase, but using more expensive/exotic writing materials could make their spells more powerful; they'd be really good at making and using scrolls (though I really like your idea for how to change them in this setting), would be good at penning contracts both mundane and supernatural, and while its usefulness would vary wildly with setting, might have the ability to teach literacy as a class feature (and their teaching skills might expand from there).

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I was thinking a prophet class would be a cool divination specialist that would use a lot of Portent-like abilities, re-rolls, and even Flash of Insight like a Cyclops. Primarily a buffer/debuffer/interrupter.


Inlaa wrote:

On iron: I don't recall it actually being THAT much better than bronze... at first. It's only when you remove the impurities of iron and start creating steel and alloys and stuff that you get to the point where yes, it's outright superior, but early iron weaponry is... Well, comparable to bronze.

Quote:
I dunno..If I were to do a direct Pathfinder take on Sword and Sandal/Mesopotamian fantasy, I would probably let Clerics be as common in the setting as they are in Pathfinder. If anything, Pathfinder's idea of religion is probably closer to Mesopotamian than Medieval European.

Agreed. Pathfinder mythology is NOT a medieval mythology at all. Actually, I hate how Pathfinder and D&D mythologies are usually done: there's no ambiguity as to whether the deities are real, they simply ARE and they intervene directly sometimes and we know for a fact they grant clerics their powers. Buh.

Making religion a matter of faith seems way more interesting when designing a setting.

Anyway, I'd say that Clerics and Shamans alike have a presence - as do Oracles. Witches can certainly exist, too.

As far as chariots go - horses were first being ridden in, what, 2-3 thousand BC probably? Yes, chariots were dominant for a long time, but there were some CRAZY PEOPLE that decided to take the little bitty horses of yore and try riding them, and that eventually led to the breeding of bigger horses. I think that's reason enough to make horse riding an option - just make horses less sturdy and a little smaller. Maybe horsemen are assumed to take Undersized Mount to make it work and Horses count as medium creatures?

I think it was the development of the stirrup, which let you stand up—and thus swing a weapon—that made warhorses definitively replace the chariot. Don't take my word for it, though.

Also, chariots are badass. More badass than GOD HIMSELF:

The Book of Judges Chapter 1, Verse 19 wrote:
And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; yet He could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, for they had chariots of iron.

Such omnipotent. So majesty.


I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:

I had ideas for this before I encountered Testament (but I agree, it's a great book, and it does a great job with Wizards as long as they're Egyptian), back shortly after Oriental Adventures came out. A few ideas I had...

...

The Prophet: A divine version of the Warlock; maybe they could call down the occasional miracle at high levels....

...

Great minds think alike. It needs polishing, though, obviously.


Quote:
I think it was the development of the stirrup, which let you stand up—and thus swing a weapon—that made warhorses definitively replace the chariot. Don't take my word for it, though.

Oh, I'm not saying replace all the chariots with horsemen. I just mean your setting can have both horse riders and chariot riders. I'd just remember to make horses somewhat smaller than the current ones in Pathfinder, since these horses aren't the huge beasts of war we'd assume they are. No heavily-armored destriers smashing through the frontlines yet.


Inlaa wrote:
Quote:
I think it was the development of the stirrup, which let you stand up—and thus swing a weapon—that made warhorses definitively replace the chariot. Don't take my word for it, though.
Oh, I'm not saying replace all the chariots with horsemen. I just mean your setting can have both horse riders and chariot riders. I'd just remember to make horses somewhat smaller than the current ones in Pathfinder, since these horses aren't the huge beasts of war we'd assume they are. No heavily-armored destriers smashing through the frontlines yet.

Ah.

EDIT: Since it's bad form to just have a post one word long, I'll add that the omission of the witch from my "I have some thoughts on the classes" in the OP was accidental. Of course almost all 9-level arcane spellcasters would be witches.

Oddly, the summoner seems more in line with the Mesopotamian conception of wizardly magicians, who would get their power by their command over spirits rather than from their own personal ability.

Of course, it would be less of a "I'm personally linked to my eidolon soul-to-soul" conception and more along the lines of a master summoner/Bartimaeus trilogy magician. Summoners would call upon and command weaker spirits, while witches would commune and bargain with greater spirits.


Personally, if I were to choose Paizo spellcasters for your setting...

1. Unchained Summoner (Master Summoner archetype)
2. Witch
3. Cleric
4. Shaman
5. Bard (But using INT instead of CHA, rename it Loremaster, perhaps use the Archivist archetype?)
6. Magus (Honestly, just imagine a guy with a bronze spear in one hand and a ball of fire in the other)
7. Druid

And for non-spellcasters...

1. Brawler.
2. Barbarian.
3. Fighter.
4. Ranger.
5. Paladin, but only for specific deities / cultures (Ra for Egypt, perhaps? Egyptian paladins, man)
6. Rogue.
7. Cavalier, but allow them to get a chariot instead of a mount.


Inlaa wrote:
Quote:
I think it was the development of the stirrup, which let you stand up—and thus swing a weapon—that made warhorses definitively replace the chariot. Don't take my word for it, though.
Oh, I'm not saying replace all the chariots with horsemen. I just mean your setting can have both horse riders and chariot riders. I'd just remember to make horses somewhat smaller than the current ones in Pathfinder, since these horses aren't the huge beasts of war we'd assume they are. No heavily-armored destriers smashing through the frontlines yet.

Actually, cavalry replaced the chariot even without the stirrup, viz, Greek and Roman customs at a time (the iron age) when the Chariot was regarded as a quaint survivance among barbarians (like the Celts) but a full 1000 years before the stirrup would become a common accessory. Cavalry attacks, which were more typicallly javelin throwing assaults than melée charges still were enough to turn the tide in some recorded battles (sorry, I've forgotten which)


Klorox wrote:
Inlaa wrote:
Quote:
I think it was the development of the stirrup, which let you stand up—and thus swing a weapon—that made warhorses definitively replace the chariot. Don't take my word for it, though.
Oh, I'm not saying replace all the chariots with horsemen. I just mean your setting can have both horse riders and chariot riders. I'd just remember to make horses somewhat smaller than the current ones in Pathfinder, since these horses aren't the huge beasts of war we'd assume they are. No heavily-armored destriers smashing through the frontlines yet.
Actually, cavalry replaced the chariot even without the stirrup, viz, Greek and Roman customs at a time (the iron age) when the Chariot was regarded as a quaint survivance among barbarians (like the Celts) but a full 1000 years before the stirrup would become a common accessory. Cavalry attacks, which were more typicallly javelin throwing assaults than melée charges still were enough to turn the tide in some recorded battles (sorry, I've forgotten which)

Numidian cavalry was pretty important in Hannibal's many victories over Rome, and the enemy having Numidian cavalry of their own was pretty key to his defeat.


Endzeitgeist wrote:

I'd suggest taking a look at Necromancer Games 3.X "Ancient Kingdoms: Mesopotamia" for 3.X; it's still oen of my favorite books of that era.

Even cooler, imho: Xoth Publishing's offerings.

The Player's Guide is free and the adventures breathe the spirit of Howard, Smith, etc. There are even free fan-adventures to get.

*skulks back into the shadows*

This


I don't remember if he brought Nimidian horsemen during his famous Italian campaign of the 2nd Punic war... and I've not read the contemporary comments about battles such as Cannae.


How involved are the gods going to be in this setting?

If I remember my Ancient Near East epics correctly, there was at least one demi-god living it up as a (literal) king until he pissed off one some of the full gods. And then pissed off the other gods after he killed the monster they sent to kill him in self-defense.


Ventnor wrote:

How involved are the gods going to be in this setting?

If I remember my Ancient Near East epics correctly, there was at least one demi-god living it up as a (literal) king until he pissed off one some of the full gods. And then pissed off the other gods after he killed the monster they sent to kill him in self-defense.

Yep. The gods will need stats.

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Thelemic_Noun wrote:
Ventnor wrote:

How involved are the gods going to be in this setting?

If I remember my Ancient Near East epics correctly, there was at least one demi-god living it up as a (literal) king until he pissed off one some of the full gods. And then pissed off the other gods after he killed the monster they sent to kill him in self-defense.

Yep. The gods will need stats.

And divine cheats. Because PCs WILL try to kill them, and you (probably?) don't want a really clever 3rd level PC to steal divine ranks via assassination...

I'm reading City of Stairs, and the backstory of it had "Fake India" kill all the gods of "Fake Russia," which really messed with their ecology.


Dark Sun setting was very Mesopotamian.

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Thelemic_Noun wrote:
Ventnor wrote:

How involved are the gods going to be in this setting?

If I remember my Ancient Near East epics correctly, there was at least one demi-god living it up as a (literal) king until he pissed off one some of the full gods. And then pissed off the other gods after he killed the monster they sent to kill him in self-defense.

Yep. The gods will need stats.

If they have stats you can kill them!


Which is why they get Primal Order stats while the PCs get mundane PF stats.

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What are Primal Order stats?


In my games I stat deities using the mythic monster rules.

SmiloDan wrote:
What are Primal Order stats?

Really really really old god rules by WotC.

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I've only seen the 1st or 2nd Edition Deities & Demigods. And the Dragonlance 2nd Edition gods, where some gods had 99 hit points! Or was it 999 hit points, and Lloth (before she was Lolth) had 66 hit points!


In 1st ed, the most any god had was 400hp... and they did not have any seriously GODLY powers or immunities, so when wotc outed the Primal Order, I adopted it.

and Lolth always had 66hp, I don't even know how many Araushnee had before she turned spider... then again, I've not checked her actual stats in the 3.0 Deities and demigods.


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The gods aren't OGL, so they're "hard" to find "officially."
In 3.0, gods almost always had ability scores in the high 30s at a bare minimum, many going up to the 50s or even 60, and pretty much every single one had 20 outsider Hit Dice and 20 levels each in two base classes (and some prestige class levels for the greater deities) for a total of 50 to 70 HD. Plus maximum hit points per Hit Die. I'm talking thousands of hit points.

Of course, having 40 to 50 class levels in PFRPG would just get unmanageable, so I'm thinking more along the mythic rules.

Also, if the PCs hit level 20, killing a god shouldn't be "badwrongfun"; theomachy was a pretty consistent theme in Mesopotamian folklore. Even YHWH of Israelite religion had traces of Mesopotamian theomachy in His scripture, seen in places like the Song of Moses and Psalm 18.

Psalm 18:7-15 wrote:


Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, for He was angry.
Smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from Him.
He bowed the heavens, and came down; thick darkness was under His feet.
He rode on a cherub, and flew; He came swiftly upon the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering around Him, His canopy thick clouds dark with water.
Out of the brightness before Him there broke through His clouds hailstones and coals of fire.
The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered His voice.
And He sent out His arrows, and scattered them; He flashed forth lightnings, and routed them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at Your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.


I've run into another problem; Namely, that maintaining the distinction between summoners and spiritualists is becoming harder the more I think about it.

Basically, the problem is this: peoples of the Ancient Near East didn't care if an evil spirit used to be alive or not, and supernatural beings regardless of origin didn't come through a magic Stargate from another dimension but rather from worlds very similar to ours, like the Ethereal Plane, Plane of Shadow, or Spirit World.

I like the emotional focus of phantoms; it's more elegant and setting-portable than the outsider race categorization of the unchained eidolon. But the emotional focus seems to determine all the major abilities of a phantom, without the customization of an evolution pool. If you wanted a spiritualist phantom that was half-human/half-scorpion, the existing rules don't really work. If you want a summoner eidolon that's half-human/half-scorpion, but also slightly out-of-phase with the world even when fully present, you're also out of luck.

Thoughts?

Shadow Lodge

Thelemic_Noun wrote:


I like the emotional focus of phantoms; it's more elegant and setting-portable than the outsider race categorization of the unchained eidolon. But the emotional focus seems to determine all the major abilities of a phantom, without the customization of an evolution pool. If you wanted a spiritualist phantom that was half-human/half-scorpion, the existing rules don't really work. If you want a summoner eidolon that's half-human/half-scorpion, but also slightly out-of-phase with the world even when fully present, you're also out of luck.

Thoughts?

On the summoner, use the APG summoner with the following adjustments.

Spell list as per the unchained summoner.

Point cost and level restrictions as per the Unchained Summoner.

The vague nature of where they come from is perfect for fill in the blank fluff and the greater freedom from a point buy allows more freedom to create half human/scorpion thingies.


SmiloDan wrote:
What are Primal Order stats?

The Primal Order

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Voadam wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:
What are Primal Order stats?
The Primal Order

Thanks!

Do you plan on having a lot of summoners and spiritualists in your campaign? If so, it's worth mental energy worrying about them. If not, don't worry about them.

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