DM Salsa's D&D 5e Interest Check


Recruitment

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Oh, hell yes! I'm thinking a mastermind rogue, a conman in search of a cause.


Is this something closer to Bronze Age as tech level goes?


Okay, that's a lot to go through. Let me have a little time to think things through and I'll get back to everyone on their questions.

As for the wall, anyone have a name they'd like to bestow on it? I like the idea of naming it after the king that built it, but I'm not sure what a good name would be.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Usurper’s Wall:
Named for a king whose name has been erased from history, the construction of the wall was a part of a turbulent reign that began with a coup by the royal guard and the assassination of the previous king.


Been sick and busy most of this week, but checking back in I like what's rolling! Also appreciate that you want player input, because as I said I think it adds a lot to agency and investment, along with saving you some potential work as DM.

I'll try and have some specific points and ideas in the coming days, but for now just generally tacking on thoughts (spoilered for length)...

Various Musings:
I agree that the name Vallium is a bit similar to the prescription medicine. Vellium, or Vellum would work well. Could even go Valorum, which has a subtle Star Wars reference for those in the know, but not one that I think makes it unacceptable. Also has a nice sense of austerity and puffed-up-ed-ness to it.

I'll admit I'm not very familiar with the Alera stuff from Jim Butcher--I know some of his work, but clearly not all. That said, this seems to have some clear Roman Britannia vibes, so if I might suggest for religion (possibly rolling into the idea of pantheons for the other races): why not include other pantheons of the time and region? Perhaps the Celtic deities in some form are still around, although less popular. Maybe the Elves still worship them in some form, others have been adapted into various gods and goddesses of the standard pantheon. And beyond the High Wall, well, who knows what heathens exist? (I kid.)

This could also lend itself to patrons for warlocks, in particular the Fey or the Great Old One, perhaps others as well depending on choice. I imagine anyone who wants to play a warlock would need to do some worldbuilding to create their own patron, which presents a challenge on top of the basic need to avoid being burned at the stake for witchcraft.

On that note, I'd like to put forward maybe a little more nuance with the distinction of magic users and how they're seen? Bards, in particular, I think could vary widely in their perception based on origin. The Colleges often suggest that there could be formalized training for bards--well, some of them, anyway, and the College of Lore in particular suggests additional, focused training in the magical arts. Maybe those bards, or others who have "worked for their art" so to speak, are seen as better than the average wandering minstrel.

I imagine that for the races, players might have some leeway in terms of the cultures or regional origins for them? Particularly the less common ones.

And finally, I agree the Wall should be named after the king who saw it constructed, although I also think that people commonly calling it the High Wall makes sense. Any name with an imperial sound to it should do, I'd think (although I might avoid names that end with s, since that would lead to awkward pronunciation).


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RE: Kingdom Name
Apologies on the name of the kingdom. I was not aware that there was a drug called Valium when I came up with it. I like Valorium, so let's go with that.

RE: Competing Kingdom
All of the surviving kingdoms the party will know about or run across were once provinces of the Imperium, or were provinces that were conquered/overthrown by the people that lived there before Imperial rule. I could see something like a Germanic kingdom causing the more "civilized" Imperials to harbor hatred and fear for Druids and Rangers since as far as I'm aware, the Celts, Gauls, and other Germanic peoples had gods, but also had more of a shamanistic/animistic belief. Maybe there was an Imperial province that was mostly forest and settled by some germanic-ish people that were "subjects" of the governor. When the cataclysm happened, they overthrew the Imperials and formed their own kingdom that has been clashing with the Kingdom of Valorium through the passes between the valleys.

That is just a rough take on it and what I would probably do in the absence of someone spitballing with me on this. It could just as likely be that the governors of the two provinces at the time of the calamity hated each other and the one over the Not-gauls gave them a place in his new kingdom when the Imperium fell.

RE: Religions
I've thought about this, and yeah, Dwarves, Elves, and other demi-humans would have their own pantheon or their own version of the human pantheon. Dwarves would place Vulcan in high regard, for example, but they would also have their own gods that reflect their own values and beliefs. Same with the Elves and Diana (Artemis), Luna (Selene) and Apollo. Gnomes would, I think, gravitate towards mystery cults, forming their own or branching off of ones that were human, elven, or dwarven. Halflings would revere Vesta, Ceres, Prosperina (Persephone), and Dis Pater (Hades) and probably have more than a few mystery cults of their own. I could see Bacchus being popular with lots of races in his Party-god persona. A part of me is tempted to throw in his god of madness and god of nature personi into the mix as well. I could see the half-orcs who've been oppressed turn to Bacchus' darker side in hope of gaining some measure of protection and revenge against their oppressors.

Moving on to Dreaming Warforged's questions about religion in everyday life, I would have to say it depends. Some gods and temples would encourage their followers to be generous and help those in need as much as they are able. Other gods and temples would demand services to be given or payment made for any spellcasting or even mundane healing done. THe gods do not walk among their followers often, so there are some who claim that the gods are nothing more than foci for a cleric's spellcasting and curse them for not allowing the wizards to study their magic learning to duplicate the effects that are considered miracles, but most people believe the gods are real, even if they have never seen them personally. I guess that would make Faith still a thing.

As for how prevalent religion is in everyday life, I'd say that it's there, most people pay homage to a god or the pantheon even if they don't attend sermons regularly. Sacrifices are a thing and something practiced by the devout and those in power trying to garner favor with the priests. The official state religions are the major gods of the Pantheons, but generally allows the faiths of the minor gods and the mystery cults to flourish so long as they don't disrupt things too much. The worship of gods outside of the approved pantheons is either done in secret or done while securing the cooperation of some official or noble. You're unlikely to find someone that openly worships Wodan or Perun or Dagada in the Kingdom of Valorium, though if you manage to gain their trust, you might find a number of allies in unexpected places.

RE: The High Wall
Those saying the wall should be named after the king that built it are right and I think that, officially, the wall shall be named Salvator's Wall, names for Salvator Rex, the first of his name and the Savior King of Valorium. Most of the common folk call it the High Wall without any regard to the conniptions this causes among the scholars and sages that overhear them.

RE: Pera Altus
The structure of Pera Altus is a hybrid of a military camp and a civilian town. Over a third of the people living in Pera Altus are members of the legions assigned there. Roughly another third are the dependents of the legionaries and the rest are merchants, craftsmen, and other "camp followers" that are there to service the legions and provide the Valorian comforts and goods that Valorians want and even crave. Only about half of the people living in the town are permanent residents with the other half being itinerants that were either legionaries levied from other provinces, their dependents, or drifters and mercenaries that were never looking for a home and leave as soon as the coin gets scarce. The garrison commander has ultimate authority, but for most of those outside of the legions, it's much like a normal town or city in the heartland with bureaucrats, appointed ministers, and nobles running the day to day affairs. The main difference is that the garrison doubles as the town's watch and punishments are more akin to what one would be subjected to as a legionary. Tribunals of officers replace courts run by magistrates as well, but only for criminal cases. Civil cases, such as a dispute over the terms of a contract are handled by the few magistrates assigned to Pera Altus.

To put things a little more clearly, Pera Altus is ultimately ruled by the garrison commander, who may or may not be the current Count(ess) Pera Altus. The day to day running of the town is handled by the head of the civilian bureaucracy and the magistrates which report to Count(ess) Pera Altus most of the time, as does the garrison commander when it isn't the current count(ess).

To sum it up, if Count(ess) Pera Altus is old enough to not be in the legions anymore, then things tend to get a little messy as far as who is over who.

RE: Philotheus and Leontina Arvina
Oh, I like this. It even has some built in hooks for me to drag you out into the wilds. >:D
Just a few questions and observations:
- Is the steadhold Leotina is from close to Pera Altus?
- I'm guessing that Philotheus is form Arvina, or did he take Leotina's family name?
- 25 miles is two or three days out in untamed and trackless wilderness. I'm guessing Leotina is able and willing to take care of herself.

RE: Bards
Bards are the odd ones out in this situation since they are both learned and innate spellcasters depending more on how things go. I'll say that the colleges of Lore, Swords, and Valor are all highly respected. The College of Glamour is treated with suspicion. The College of Whispers is seldom applauded in public, but ever noble knows a friend that knows someone that employs their services.

RE: The Acadeum Arcanum
Yep, the mage school has a name now. :)
So, the Acadeum Arcanum has about as much influence and power as a High Lord. Thanks to the fortunes spent by nobles employ the services of their students and alumni as well as the tuition paid by nobles wanting to have their third, forth, fifth, or bastard sons/daughters be trained in the arcane arts, the Acadeum Arcanum has a massive horde of wealth that it uses to find those with keen minds to train and those with innate talents to experiment on. The Arcanists that run the school hoard knowledge jealously and only give it out at a great price, or when forced by necessity. Whether or not the Acadeum Arcanum is loyal to the Crown or not depends on the loyalties of the current Lord Arcanum, the master of the school. The past several lords have only had marginal relations with the crown, but there are signs that the current Lord Arcanum is aligning the school more firmly into Crown's camp and seeking a closer relationship with the king and his court.

RE: Patroons and Police States
I learned that patroon is not an insult like I had originally thought today. :D
I guess you could say that the situation is similar, but some would argue that it's more reclaiming than colonizing, but I digress. I also wouldn't say that Pera Altus or the Kingdom of Valorium are police states. Maybe a mixture of spartan paranoia towards the helots and roman order, but not a full on police state.

I think that's everything that was asked. If I missed something, let me know.


DM-Salsa wrote:

All of the surviving kingdoms the party will know about or run across were once provinces of the Imperium, or were provinces that were conquered/overthrown by the people that lived there before Imperial rule. I could see something like a Germanic kingdom causing the more "civilized" Imperials to harbor hatred and fear for Druids and Rangers since as far as I'm aware, the Celts, Gauls, and other Germanic peoples had gods, but also had more of a shamanistic/animistic belief. Maybe there was an Imperial province that was mostly forest and settled by some germanic-ish people that were "subjects" of the governor. When the cataclysm happened, they overthrew the Imperials and formed their own kingdom that has been clashing with the Kingdom of Valorium through the passes between the valleys.

That is just a rough take on it and what I would probably do in the absence of someone spitballing with me on this. It could just as likely be that the governors of the two provinces at the time of the calamity hated each other and the one over the Not-gauls gave them a place in his new kingdom when the Imperium fell.

Then if you'll allow me to spitball...

A Province of Fallen Men:
Imagine a province in the Imperium: a land beyond the High Wall, still tamed, but with that civilization more apt to fraying around the edges. A governor rules this province, connecting it to the Imperium. The people there are natives of the land, with their own deep ties to the forests, the hidden places in the deep wood. They had their own ways before the Imperium came, their own gods, ancient and capricious. Most now pay at least lip service to the Pantheon of the Imperium, but this is an old land, and the old ways run deep. The Old Gods still dwell in those dark places, and there are many who yet know how to call to them.

Imagine the Cataclysm. Scholars may disagree on exactly what happened, but the Imperium fell into ruin. Barbarism, savagery, and worse swept across the land. The entirety of an empire collapsed under the dark tide, their ways and their gods powerless to aid them.

Imagine a governor who only wants to protect his people. A man with the best of intentions, driven to the brink. His legions not enough, of themselves, to stand against the enemy.

Imagine the folk of his province entreating their Old Gods, and telling their governor to do the same. The power that lurks in their forests is powerful still, even if grayed and dusty from the long years. And when all hope is lost, and the people of the province turn as one to the Old Gods... They answer.

Imagine the fear such a province--or kingdom, or tribe, whatever you might call it--would strike in the Kingdom of Valorium and its Legions, two-thousand years later. It is heresy of the highest order, and a direct challenge to the notion that their Kingdom is pure and good and true. For there are other Gods and powers which yet hold sway in the world, commanding their own legions beyond the Wall. And the heathens and savages who dwell there may once have been not so unlike the Valorians themselves.

As I said, spitballing. But I think it's a neat idea, and adds a twist to the concept that barbarians overthrew their Imperial lords (which may be the story Valorian scholars still support), as well as provide a fairly concrete reason why those who gain their powers from nature or Old Gods (i.e., eldritch patrons) are viewed with great fear and suspicion.


@Helix Missionary: Spitball away. I hadn't considered this and it does make a lot of sense. The question then becomes, what happened to the Imperials that didn't convert to the worship of the old gods?


@Helix Missionary: Spitball away. I hadn't considered this and it does make a lot of sense. The question then becomes, what happened to the Imperials that didn't convert to the worship of the old gods? I've got a few ideas, but I'm curious to see what others come up with.


DM-Salsa wrote:

RE: Kingdom Name

Apologies on the name of the kingdom. I was not aware that there was a drug called Valium when I came up with it. I like Valorium, so let's go with that.

RE: Competing Kingdom
All of the surviving kingdoms the party will know about or run across were once provinces of the Imperium, or were provinces that were conquered/overthrown by the people that lived there before Imperial rule. I could see something like a Germanic kingdom causing the more "civilized" Imperials to harbor hatred and fear for Druids and Rangers since as far as I'm aware, the Celts, Gauls, and other Germanic peoples had gods, but also had more of a shamanistic/animistic belief. Maybe there was an Imperial province that was mostly forest and settled by some germanic-ish people that were "subjects" of the governor. When the cataclysm happened, they overthrew the Imperials and formed their own kingdom that has been clashing with the Kingdom of Valorium through the passes between the valleys.

That is just a rough take on it and what I would probably do in the absence of someone spitballing with me on this. It could just as likely be that the governors of the two provinces at the time of the calamity hated each other and the one over the Not-gauls gave them a place in his new kingdom when the Imperium fell.

RE: Religions
I've thought about this, and yeah, Dwarves, Elves, and other demi-humans would have their own pantheon or their own version of the human pantheon. Dwarves would place Vulcan in high regard, for example, but they would also have their own gods that reflect their own values and beliefs. Same with the Elves and Diana (Artemis), Luna (Selene) and Apollo. Gnomes would, I think, gravitate towards mystery cults, forming their own or branching off of ones that were human, elven, or dwarven. Halflings would revere Vesta, Ceres, Prosperina (Persephone), and Dis Pater (Hades) and probably have more than a few mystery cults of their own. I could see Bacchus being popular with lots of races in...

Nice write up!

Liberty's Edge

I'm liking this all quite a lot. I have a decent idea for a sword and board Eldritch Knight, I'll write up on the people and locations.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

If this is to be a truly cooperative game, the players and GM can come up with a lot of the fine setting details as we play the game. This means that although we can do a lot of planning of the major campaign elements ahead of time, we can also do quite a bit during play itself. This gets things starter more quickly and helps us see that we are moving forward, and will not be forever stuck in the planning phase.

The GM can introduce the basic framework of the adventure and the players fill in background details that pertain to their character as well as coming up with peripheral details that help flesh out people, places, creatures, and organizations that we encounter along the way.

In order to keep everything together, I also suggest that we start a few Google Drive documents, at least one for brainstorming and one to place more "finished" or "set in stone" story and setting elements. That way it's all together in one place and we don't have to scroll through multiple pages of messageboard postings.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Re: The Gods

What if "the gods" were actually incredibly powerful trans-dimensional beings that inhabited the world and live among the mortal races? This would put them more in line with how the Greeks and the Romans saw the gods and away from how the monotheistic religions envision him/her. These beings could grant magical power, or simply have given mortals the knowledge to unlock their magical abilities.


The site's downtime threw off my character updates. I'll get it finished up by tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest. On a business trip, and feel handcuffed without my dual monitor set up to drag and drop :-).


@Branding Opportunity: I'll work on getting this stuff compiled and into a doc like you suggested. As far as being stuck in planning, I'm not running this until November at the earliest due to Inktober and the crimp it's going to put on my free-time for posting. Collaborating like this before we got going was meant to keep interest alive and to help me know what people wanted. Personally, I think it's gone rather well.

As for the gods, I haven't really thought of them in that context, but then again, I'm a Christian and that colors my thinking a bit. You could apply the same descriptor to powerful spirits as well, so how would one differentiate? Would some scholars insist that the spirits that the "barbarians" worship are on the same level as the gods that the more "civilized" Imperials/Valorians worship? How do the priests/priestesses view this similarity? If all magic is divinely granted, then what is the difference between a wizard and a cleric? Do wizards have to devote themselves to a god before having the mysteries of magic opened to them? Are the wizard colleges in fact mystery cults? There's some interesting things there that raise some sticky mechanics questions.

I'm not trying to shoot anyone down, I'm just brainstorming and these are some of the questions that popped into my head. I know how I would answer them, even if I have to think on it for a bit, but I still want to know how y'all would answer them.

Speaking of brain storming. What kinds of enemies do you like to fight? What kinds of creatures do you like to run into? Are there any kinds of encounters that you can't get enough of?

Personally, I like throwing goblins and bandits at my groups and have them run into fey or spirits of the forest. I love to banter with other characters as well. I'd like to work in giants, ogres, and maybe some malevolent fey in there. Hags are also a particular favorite of mine, especially if there's someone in the group that is the daughter of a hag (which is one reason I like the PF1e changeling so much.)

I'm off this Thursday and Friday, so I'll be working on getting things compiled then.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
DM-Salsa wrote:
@Branding Opportunity: I'll work on getting this stuff compiled and into a doc like you suggested. As far as being stuck in planning, I'm not running this until November at the earliest due to Inktober and the crimp it's going to put on my free-time for posting. Collaborating like this before we got going was meant to keep interest alive and to help me know what people wanted. Personally, I think it's gone rather well.

I do as well; my comment was not meant as a criticism, but simply my "thinking out loud".

DM-Salsa wrote:
As for the gods, I haven't really thought of them in that context, but then again, I'm a Christian and that colors my thinking a bit. You could apply the same descriptor to powerful spirits as well, so how would one differentiate? Would some scholars insist that the spirits that the "barbarians" worship are on the same level as the gods that the more "civilized" Imperials/Valorians worship? How do the priests/priestesses view this similarity? If all magic is divinely granted, then what is the difference between a wizard and a cleric? Do wizards have to devote themselves to a god before having the mysteries of magic opened to them? Are the wizard colleges in fact mystery cults? There's some interesting things there that raise some sticky mechanics questions.

That is one way to go, and one that would definitely be interesting, but I was thinking more the opposite: all magic comes from the same (as yet unstated) source, but wizards and clerics simply have different ways of accessing it. Wizards study ancient texts and learn how to perform complex magical spells through memorization and physical training, while clerics do so more through force of will, or perhaps by beseeching a greater power.


Branding Opportunity wrote:
DM-Salsa wrote:
@Branding Opportunity: I'll work on getting this stuff compiled and into a doc like you suggested. As far as being stuck in planning, I'm not running this until November at the earliest due to Inktober and the crimp it's going to put on my free-time for posting. Collaborating like this before we got going was meant to keep interest alive and to help me know what people wanted. Personally, I think it's gone rather well.
I do as well; my comment was not meant as a criticism, but simply my "thinking out loud".

Sorry, didn't mean for that to come of as testy as it did. Blame it on a tendency to be terse at times, especially when I'm focusing on three different things.

Branding Opportunity wrote:
DM-Salsa wrote:
As for the gods, I haven't really thought of them in that context, but then again, I'm a Christian and that colors my thinking a bit. You could apply the same descriptor to powerful spirits as well, so how would one differentiate? Would some scholars insist that the spirits that the "barbarians" worship are on the same level as the gods that the more "civilized" Imperials/Valorians worship? How do the priests/priestesses view this similarity? If all magic is divinely granted, then what is the difference between a wizard and a cleric? Do wizards have to devote themselves to a god before having the mysteries of magic opened to them? Are the wizard colleges in fact mystery cults? There's some interesting things there that raise some sticky mechanics questions.

That is one way to go, and one that would definitely be interesting, but I was thinking more the opposite: all magic comes from the same (as yet unstated) source, but wizards and clerics simply have different ways of accessing it. Wizards study ancient texts and learn how to perform complex magical spells through memorization and physical training, while clerics do so more through force of will, or perhaps by beseeching a greater power.

I'll have to think some more on this. I don't know if it'll come up, but it couldn't hurt if I ever throw in a sagely wizard at some point. :P

All good stuff. I'll be thinking through this over the next few days.


Time got away from me on this one but I'm catching up now. Probably be this weekend before I can construct my thoughts... but since we're not officially kicking off till NOV I should be Okay.


Would there be interaction between other real world pantheons like those of Egypt or Babylon?


How so? I'm not trying to be facetious; I am curious as to how you see them interacting.

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