Interest Check -- High-Powered Gestalt and Mythic Historical Game about the Mongol Conquest of Persia


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This is an interest check on behalf of myself and a player who are interested in trying again to run a campaign around the Mongol conquest of Persia and the Near East (a previous attempt did not attract sufficient interest).

This is not the recruitment thread yet -- I am finishing editing a set of house rules I use in several games, and this prospective campaign would use those same rules. It would be a complex, high-powered game.

The basic setting is the conquest of Ghengis Khan of Persia. It would begin with the siege on the City of Bukhara.

I would like to see some Mongol characters, but the player who also wants to play this game is making a crusader, so characters from Tibet, Persia, China etc. would be possible as well.

The setting would be an Earth with mammalian megafauna and late-surviving dinosaurs in tropical areas. Think dire wolves in the forests of Europe, megatherium and mammoths roaming the Mongolian Plain, and similar images. In terms of the cosmology, somehow the Christian heaven and Buddhist bliss worlds, and any other conceivable supernatural dimension, would all exist at the same time. Somehow, Christian priests can perform miracles, but so can Mongol Tengrist shamen and Buddhist monks.

For races, I'm torn between two proposals -- the first would only have humans and use rules from a 3pp. supplement for different human subraces; the second is to treat the setting like Al-Qadim and have different races sharing a common culture. The latter option would allow options like elven Tibetan lamas, half-orc barbarian Mongol warriors, and half-genie Persian summoners.

In terms of the rules, here are the basics: -- gestalt class, mythic tiers, and archetypes (i.e., you stack the archetypes instead of replacing class features), as well as bunch of extra feats (as if a fighter getting 1 feat per level on BOTH sides of the gestalt, and thus 2-4 feats per level, most levels). There is also a 'bin' of template CR that can be converted into class levels.

To start, you would have 6 gestalt levels, 3 gestalt mythic tiers, and a bin of 6 CR for templates. No individual template can be over +4. 1 CR = 1 gestalt mythic tier or 2 gestalt levels of base or prestige classes.

I also use my own version of Wounds and Vigor, Armor as Damage Reduction, Hero Points, and Spell Point which combine rules from 3.5 and PF1e.

Anyway, I'm tossing this out to see if there's interest and any questions or suggestions. For rules, I really have to stick to my house rules I've developed as I won't be able to keep all my games straight otherwise. In terms of sources, I allow anything.

I'd anticipate beginning something in mid January if there's sufficient interest. Character creation is not going to be a quick process, and I'd like to give some time to allow some research for those who are interested but might not know much about the historical period.

Definitely dotting for interest.

I used to love playing Al Qadim, but I assume this is PF1, right?

While not a fan of power creep, I know some people in the forums made it work and it became a fairly cool, refreshing idea. In my eyes, it could become fun if your goal for instance is to simulate the Chinese heroic movies of a few warriors against an immense horde, or stuff similar to that (hence the overpowered heroes).

In the matter of the game, specifically for the races, a home brew approach for nonhuman races is by far what I’d prefer to see; I like the fantasy of elves and whatnot, and seeing magic embedded in a fictional version of our world. This is very promising. Plus, I love playing with the half genie races like ifrit :)

Yes this is PF1e, though I have a lot of house rules.


I'd be keen to see some nonhumans worked in, as per the Archlich's comment. This has nothing to do with having an opportunity to shoehorn in another half-orc. :)

I loved playing a character based on Mongolian horsemen during the original (3.x) implementation of Living Arcanis.

I don't know nearly enough about your customized rule set, or spent any time analyzing your gestalt rules listed, yet, but I am curious.

I'm fascinated by Byzantine history, and would love to submit a character from that direction, but man that's a lot of Houserules. I'll look at making something.

Consider me interested as well. Ghengis Khan is one of my favorite historical figures.

Grand Lodge


What a great premise. I'm definitely interested!

GM, a question. One thinks Mongolian warriors, one thinks mounted warfare. Will classes & archetypes that do not gain mounts/ACs be at a disadvantage?

Looks like you've got some interest!

Redblade8 wrote:
GM, a question. One thinks Mongolian warriors, one thinks mounted warfare. Will classes & archetypes that do not gain mounts/ACs be at a disadvantage?

No, there will be a mix of scenarios. There will definitely be some combats where mongols with fire lances can bring the full weight of all their mounted warrior build to bear on the situation. There will also be infiltration and urban scenarios.

Also, I have given you real information about what the build rules are, but it would probably be good to wait a bit before going into the nitty gritty of character design, for when I have a chance to post the completed house rules documents and build rules.

Did anyone else want to weigh in on the issue of race?

Would you allow time-appropriate 3pp classes, like Rogue Genius's godling classes?

As for both proposed race options, allowing for fantasy races would add more to the mythology and folklore aspects of these cultures, but an all human campaign would cement it more in reality. Of these, I like the fantasy races option, but would be comfortable with the all human option as well..

They're not exclusive -- there could be subraces of humans living with elves, for example.

Yes, I basically allow all 3pp.

This sounds very unique and intriguing. I would be interesting in submitting a character.

It's starting to sound like people want non-human races -- I'm okay with that as long as it's not a freeforall. There has to be some connection between the culture/role you're picking and the nonhuman race.

Examples would include things like:

A wood elf mongolian horse archer,
A half-orc bloodrager mongolian Tengri shaman,
A high elven oracle buddhist monk,
A gnome alchemist byzantine scientist/philosopher
A genasi persian or arabian summoner/genie binder

You can't be a drow noble to get some specific stat boots, for example. I reserve the veto right on any proposals I think are silly powergaming exercises that aren't taking the setting seriously.

Here is a summary of my house rules so you can be sure you're on board:

Intelligence can function like in 4e, so that it can be used for reflex saves and AC, but not Initiative bonuses.
Charisma can function as 'morale', so that it can be used for health calculations and fortitude saves; it is also the stat for my Hero Points system.

All casters use spell points. This is a mix of the 3.5 and PF1e system. Casters have 2 options for using spell points each day. Either you prepare your spells, which limits your options, or, if you don't prepare them, you suffer from higher spell point costs when you cast multiples of the same spell. This combines the 3.5 and PF systems as 2 different options.


AC is calculated as normal. All characters have a combat bonus based on class which adds to AC. Armor also has a DR value which reduces the impact of hits. Armor also has a number of damage points which can be used to offload hits onto armor, but if the armor suffers enough damage in this way it falls apart.

In addition to AC, characters have a Defense Score, calculated as per the Armor as DR in PF. This is used to roll against crits -- i.e., if you make a successful check, the crit confirmation is canceled for your attacker.


I use a variant of the Wounds and Vigor system combined with 3.5 Wounds and Vitality.

Wounds are a flat value which is double Constitution or Charisma; Wound Threshhold is your Charisma or Constitution score. Vigor is based on Constitution or Charisma bonus + HD (all values are always maximum, I don't roll for health for monsters or PCs). First level, double all values, and then double all values overall.

This may seem high, but the monsters needed to challenge players with these rules have high damage output, and in play I've seen the need for more health so the pcs can take 100s of points of damage like they can spit out.

Crits function normally, unlike in the PF system, where they go straight to wounds. Instead, they function normally and apply to vigor. However, the crit confirmation for extra damage can be cancelled by the opponent's defense check.

There are also healing surges in this system, which is basically the 4e system.


Every character gets feats on every side of a gestalt as if a fighter getting 1 feat per level. That works out to 2-4 feats per level.

I allow options for scaling feats from several sources.

You get the skill unlock feat for free for every skill you have. This makes skill unlocks a part of the base system.

You get the stamina and combat tricks feat for free -- that makes combat tricks a base part of the system.

I use the feat tax rules from Elephant in the (Playground (the pdf)).

Characters also get some extra feats from a low-magic item system I use called 'Chopping Down the Christmas Tree' from the GitP forums.

Equipment: Double maximum wealth.

I hate magic item Christmas trees. I use automatic bonus progression (starting as if a 3rd level character), and the Chopping Down the Christmas Tree inherent bonuses to mostly get rid of magic items. I only want any one character to have 1-2 relic-like items that are special and have a history, not 2 rings, a belt, a pair of boots, etc. etc.

Also, I'd like to limit monsters and animal companions to stuff that's appropriate to the mythical traditions of the cultures here.

That would mean no mind flayers, beholders, owl bears or stuff that's pure DnD. I'd like to focus on dire animals, megafauna, and stuff like yetis, devils and demons that fit with some real-world mythological equivalent, and so forth. I'd rather have a wood elf mongol ranged cavalier with a fire lance riding a dire smiledon than a green dragon, for instance.

Very interested in the setting idea and gestalt can be fun. Generally I've found that gestalt needs a compelling story idea for players and the GM to stay interested in the mechanical slog that inevitably results so this specific cool idea sounds good.

I, for one, would strongly advocate for human subraces and no non-human races. I think that would preserve the feel of the setting, which is a strong part of the point of the game.

The door being open to all 3pp is a bit of a turn-off to me because things just get so weird. It's annoying when I can't have any idea what my teammates are up to without hunting down weird sources for several hours to appreciate what they're doing. That plus a lot of house rules sounds kind of frustrating. Would you think about using your house rules but being more restrictive about 3pp? That would greatly reduce how much I would have to keep track of to understand what the party was doing and how to work with my teammates. If there was only a little bit of 3pp material allowed, then I think I could keep straight what was going on, appreciate my teammates builds (which will still be incredibly unique), and track the houserules.

I'm not in principle opposed to restricting some of the 3pp. stuff -- mostly I think people just want to use stuff from Rogue Genius ('Talented' versions of classes), Legendary Games (extra mythic stuff), Drop Dead Studios (Spheres), and Dreamscarred (Psionics and Akashic Mysteries (the latter of which is very appropriate for this setting). I think the 'feats reforged' series might be another source. I think we might be able to come up with a fairly fixed list of stuff everyone could agree on.

I'd be open to hearing thoughts about that.

A fixed list of 3pp materials would definitely help. Excluding spheres of power and might, for instance, would at least keep everyone playing basically the same game. Not that I have anything against spheres as it's quite fun. There's just such thing as TOO MANY OPTIONS.

THIS is a map I'm working on for Bukhara, the first city the Mongols besiege, and where we'd start.

There's a really strange looking fort in the center called 'the ark', as well as a market place with some famous minarets and mosques.

I guess it depends what builds people are asking for -- I'm trying to be a bit flexible about a couple of things because the previous recruitment failed for lack of interest. I don't really mind ruling out spheres if nobody has a character idea that requires it, but I don't want to say that and ruin someone's idea.

For example, someone already asked about Rogue Genius godling. That also has archetype packages you can use in this system to do stuff like be an oracle with extra mysteries.

I need to keep the basic house rules the same because otherwise I can't run all my games and keep everything straight.

I wouldn't mind slimming down some of the 3pp. stuff if everyone can agree on a list -- I think sometimes Paizo has some great material that doesn't get used because people fall in love with certain 3pp. options. However, I don't want that to be a barrier either. Things I need for my own ideas are the Legendary Games' mythic materials (b/c they have mythic versions of hundreds of real world mythic animals), Dreamscarred (I'm open to closing off Psionics and using Occult stuff instead, but I need Akashic mysteries and the Path of War stuff b/c it's the PF conversion of Tome of Battle and Magic of Incarnum, both of which I'd want to use), and Rogue Genius for the archetype packages and horrifically overpowered feats.

I'm okay with a slimmed-down list, mainly b/c I think you have a point about Paizo stuff getting lost in the flood, but also the only stuff I actually own at present is the Dreamscarred stuff. :)

I'll start trying to wrap my brain around that mass of houserules.

As far as limits on creatures, what's your stance on the Warcat of Rull? Too out-there? If it is, fine, otherwise if half-orcs are on the table my guy might have one of those as a buddy. :)

I guess mechanically it might be okay -- but I'd want an alternative explanation like it was a smiledon that was bred with hard keratin plates like those possessed by megatherium. I'd probably prefer if you could come up with something based on a real life creature like a dire smiledon with bone battle armor to get across the same image.

I forgot to add that all kinds of animal companions/familiars etc. are built with the exact same rules as the PCs -- I do that to avoid all kinds of questions about pumping them up to be sufficiently similar to the PC power level. It's easier to just say use the exact same rules.

A definite list of what 3pp is allowed sounds great and would make things more doable.

Map looks cool!

I know a power-gamer or two I could nudge to check this game out as well.

A little confused by what you mean about animal companions and familiars. You mean in terms of how they gain HP, ability to use intelligence for initiative, and stuff like that that pretty much all creatures get in this ruleset? Or do you mean they also gain a bunch of feats per level and that kind of thing. I think you mean the first but I wanted to be clear.

Also, let's say we had plenty of interest. What kind of start date are you imagining? And any expectations about posting rate? I personally like each player to maintain a minimum of 1/weekday but can be flexible in either direction.

I mean you build your familiar or mount exactly like a pc -- it has class levels and feats and everything. It's basically like having a 2nd pc.

I posted at the top I'm imagining mid January. I want to give time to really think about builds, also to give some time for people being busy over the holidays, as well as time to read about the period if people are interested but don't know much about the period. I have a masters degree in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Uchicago, but I'm not expecting everyone to being coming with that kind of background.

I also have 3 games going -- one's at 3,100 posts, one is about 700, and one is about 500. I'd like to get the 2 others over 1,000 hopefully before I start another game.

I usually post 1/day. My general expectation is 1/day weekday and weekends if you have the time. I think consistency is sometimes more important than speed. I try to post when people post. My best games are more than 1/day.

My bad about start time. Read it then forgot. That all sounds great. Any introductory books on the period you'd suggest?

Regarding companions, familiars, etc: Wow! It sounds like getting one of those becomes a must, then. I would assume then that we are allowed to have only one minion (animal companion, eidolon, familiar, etc)?

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The first thing I'd do is listen to Dan Carlin's Hardcore history overview of the early Mongol Empire. It's called Wrath of the Khans. Unfortunately, it looks like he's charging for it now.

Here's the link: s/.

Other stuff would kind of depend what level you want stuff at -- from more popular works to academic reference material. I'm going to cut and paste some stuff I dug up from the original thread:

Helpful Sources:

Mongols in Iran: The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History

Early Mongol Rule in Thirteenth-Century Iran: A Persian Renaissance

"MONGOLS," Encyclopaedia Iranica

Women in Mongol Iran: The Khatuns, 1206-1335

Rashīd al-Dīn and the making of history in Mongol Iran

The Mongols and the West: 1221-1410

caster4life wrote:

My bad about start time. Read it then forgot. That all sounds great. Any introductory books on the period you'd suggest?

Regarding companions, familiars, etc: Wow! It sounds like getting one of those becomes a must, then. I would assume then that we are allowed to have only one minion (animal companion, eidolon, familiar, etc)?

I'm not putting a hard restriction but I think 2 would be about how much most anyone could handle in terms of character generation time.

The other thing this helps with is if we have a really small party, that can fill out the group so I could still run this.

As interesting as the premise sounds, I think all the custom rules are gong to be more than I can handle. Good luck all.

Ouachitonian wrote:
As interesting as the premise sounds, I think all the custom rules are gong to be more than I can handle. Good luck all.

Same here, just too much to wrap my feeble brain around. :)

Thanks for the history tips! Sounds fun! I'm a scientist by training with an interest in history but no particular training.

I would agree with some of these others that I think the ruleset is pretty overwhelming. I think allowing 1 or 2 pets with full class levels is too much. Players who don't want to manage that will see their power entirely outstripped by players willing to put in a crazy, power-gamer level of effort. If I were you, I'd trim things down. Hopefully you don't mind me being direct like this but since this is just an interest check, I think this will help you get more interest.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

1. No pets. People don't usually expect to have good pets in gestalt anyway and it's enough to manage one gestalt characer.
2. No mythic. It's another system to learn and it's just a lot of work, in addition to making the power level too high to manage very well.
3. Normal archetypes. Allowing multiple archetypes that don't require giving up class features sounds confusing and, again, crazy powerful.
4. No or fewer CR in templates. Monster templates are so dang fun but yeah that will add a bunch of power and stuff that's hard to keep track of.

I think trimming stuff down like this and maybe in some other ways will get players to stick with you. I know it would make a big difference in my level of interest, personally.

Unfortunately, I don't want to get into a substantial revision of these rules, since I'm using them for 3 games already -- I'm willing to discuss things like 3pp. source. and #1 on your list, but not 2-4.

The other stuff gets into substantial changes to the rules set I've already internalized. I'm using the same set of rules for all my games, so for my own sanity I need to stick to something consistent.

I'm unfortunately more willing to forego running this then create a entirely different set of rules for this game different than my other campaigns.

Hi folks. I'm the would-be player of Razan Al-Amin, a Persian-born Syriac Nestorian warrior. His current profile was created from the original recruitment rules. Here is how he might look mechanically in v2:


World of Xoth human (Civilised, Syriac aka Susrahnite)

Paladin (Virtuous Bravo)-Weapon Champion 12 with Oath of Charity (oath not a free archetype) // Bard (Arcane Duelist, Dervish Dancer) 12

Holy Vindicator 2 // Mystic Theurge 2

VMC Cavalier (Order of the Star)

Mythic Tier 2 - Champion 2 // Guardian 2


The World of Xoth has some interesting variety for human-only games.

An alternative suggestion for races, from a Diablo 2 game, perhaps with tweaking to allow low- and darkvision:

You are effectively human. That said, you may choose to take the racial abilities of any core, featured or uncommon race. Your type remains humanoid(human), your size remains medium, and if the race has abilities that rely on extreme physical features (more than two arms, wings, natural attacks etc.) you don't recieve them. You also lose don't get low-light or darkvision if the race would normally get these.

Sure I understand you don't want to change a whole lot of stuff. It's hard for me to track which of these are part of your fixed rule set and which aren't. I can think of other ideas as well. I think high power games (level 5+ or gestalt or mythic) tend to draw a lot of interest but games that are extremely high power can turn even the munchkiniest of us away.

Here's a compilation of possibilities still on the table with new ones in bold and old ones in OOC, with my old 2-4 thrown out:

1. No pets.
2. Lower starting level so players have a chance to get acclimated to these high power rules. Maybe level 3 or something?
3. Normal wealth by level instead of double. Less equipment to keep track of.

Just trying to think of more possibilities. The more factors that are closer to standard rules the less we have to keep track of.

I could definitely be interested in this game and I'm sure there would be enough going on for it to be quite fun with a small number of players, e.g. 2.

*Kicks down door* I'm back!! *clears throat* I mean. I am still interested. I even kept the character alias and didn't use it again just in cause this came back up!

Although with the gestalt rules I'd have to think of something else to mix Oracle.

We can start at a lower level like 3//3 1//1 mr and 3 templates.

When I say no pets, that means everyone could voluntarily choose to not be rangers, paladins, Cavaliers, hunters, wizards, witches, or any other buddy class if they want to.

I must say that seems hugely restrictive for a game about a mounted warrior culture, and decmius already wants to play a cavalier, so I don't really see that being feasible.

The wealth is part of the base rules, I'm not open to changing that.

These rules can scale for different levels. It's one mythic tier per two levels and the same amount of templates as levels. We could do 2//2 1//1 2 or 8//8 4//4 8 or 16//16 8/8 8 for example.

Unless more interest pops up which really is pushing the non humans, I'm more inclined to go back to humans only.

I'm still going human no matter what. Being able to cast spells in effectively our world is enough for me.

Honestly ill run this if at least two people finish characters. We could have animals buddies or cohorts to raise the number to at least 4 and I can work with that.

Then Sechen will be done by end of today or tomorrow.

Edit: Or at least as far as I can.

I'm almost done w/ my house rules document. You can definitely start working on it but there may be a couple of details still outstanding. We've been using rogue genius horifically overpowered feats. Ask decimus for the details as he's built a character with these rules already.

You don't need to be in a huge hurry, I want to give some time for others to make characters too potentially. I'm just saying if you and decimus finish some characters and that's it we'll figure out a way to do it still.

Duly noted!
It does give me time to think more on her build since we're starting at a higher level.

My 2 cents:
- Prefer human only for better immersion into the setting.
- Prefer high level since we're dealing with all sorts of mythic and insanely powerful opponents. Just seems more fun.
- Prefer limited content, mainly because it's just way too much stuff to read. I'm familiar with all Paizo, psionics, PoW, and SoP personally.

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