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Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Dragonlance Campaign Setting Chapter Two, Part One: Classes & Feats

This chapter overviews the existing Player’s Handbook classes and how they fit (or don’t fit) in Dragonlance, as well as some new core classes, prestige classes, and feats.

Barbarians are not much different; they number among nomadic humans, Kagonesti elves, and ogres. They are warriors skilled in wilderness survival and tend to revere the three nature deities or practice various forms of animism and ancestor worship (although most aren’t devoutly religious).

Bards are the historians and folklorists of Krynn, keeping the memory of legends alive by incorporating their deeds into song and poetry. They are common among any race who practices musical and oral traditions, and their magic is ambient magic like that of sorcerers. As such, they can only cast spells in the Fifth Age onwards, and cannot cast healing spells at all because those are they exclusive province of the Gods.

Clerics are the worshipers of the 21 Gods of Light, Balance, and Darkness. No true Cleric serves an abstract cause, philosophy, or false deity. Clerics who don’t worship a deity cannot cast spells or turn undead. The gods of Krynn created the world and are the original source of all magical power. Additionally, every holy symbol is a Medallion of Faith, an outward sign of their devotion. Without the medallion the Cleric cannot cast or prepare spells higher than 3rd level. Additionally, they can be used to create other Medallions for new Clerics, even those of another deity (although good clerics can’t create medallions for evil deities and vice versa). Secondly, any attempts to forcibly remove a medallion from a Cleric’s neck deals 2d4 points of divine damage to the aggressor.

Druids are specialized priests of nature, worshiping either Habbakuk (neutral good deity of the circle of life), Chislev (neutral deity of nature itself), or Zeboim (chaotic evil deity of wrath and the sea), although the sourcebook Holy Order of the Stars reveals that druids can also worship Morgion (neutral evil deity of disease, decay, and pestilence). Druids do not need a Medallion of Faith, and they are most common among nomadic humans, centaurs, and Kagonesti elves.

Fighters are not much different than in other settings except that it mentions that most members of the 3 major Knighthoods have levels in this class (Paladins don’t really exist on Krynn.)

Monks are rare and isolated, sticking to self-sufficient communities in their pursuit of enlightenment. Most monks on Krynn are Lawful Good or Lawful Neutral and worship Majere (god of wisdom), part of a sect called Claren Elian. Monks are most common among humans, half-elves, and minotaurs.

Paladins are normally unavailable, as the Knights of Solamnia already fill their role aesthetically in the setting. However, the text mentions that the DM might allow them for distinguished champions of one of the Gods of Light (such as Kiri-Jolith). If they’re allowed they need to worship a deity to gain spells.

Rangers are those people who explore the wild reaches of Ansalon. They must worship one of the deities of nature to gain spells. New thing, they can choose organizations instead of monsters for their favored enemies. Of course, the examples provided are very prominent and iconic examples, such as the Knights of Neraka or the Order of the White Robes.

Rogues are thieves, swindlers, highwaymen, and others who make their way through life via underhanded means. Most of the new stuff talks about “Handlers,” Kender rogues, and how they differ from traditional thieves (basically nothing, except that they take stuff regardless of monetary value and forget to return it).

Sorcerers, also known as Primal Sorcerers, are arcane asters who can cast their spells without relying upon the Moons of Magic. Basically the world of Krynn was created with ambient magic, and a sorcerer extends their awareness into their surroundings to tap into this energy. Their art is called “Primal Sorcery” in comparison to the more focused “High Sorcery” of the Wizards. Primal Sorcery is the oldest form of arcane magic, but its influence waned among the mortal races when the three Gods of Magic helped create the Orders of High Sorcery. When the Graygem was cracked and summoned Chaos into the world, the levels of primal magic increased so that mortals could once again tap into it. Sorcerers do not derive their powers from bloodlines, in comparison to traditional D&D.

Wizards are arcane casters who draw their spells from one of the three Moons of Magic. One does not need to belong to the Orders of High Sorcery in order to be a Wizard. In fact, many hedge magicians ply minor spells without coming into contact with them, although wizards of sufficient power (can cast 3rd level or higher spells) are required by the Order to take the Test of High Sorcery and declare allegiance to one of the three factions (White, Red, or Black Robes) or risk being branded a renegade and hunted down. The Knights of Neraka boast a high number of renegade Wizards among their number in the Knights of the Thorn, and they derive their spells from all three Moons; such wizards are called the “Gray Robes” by some. Wizardry is a respected art among the elves and Irda, and Theiwar dark dwarves contain many among their number.

In regards to NPC Classes, Commoners, Experts, and Warriors are available and otherwise the same. Adepts do not exist, for magic is a rare and wonderful gift in Dragonlance, while the Aristocrat class has a PC variant known as the Noble.

On that note, we have two new core classes: the Mystic and the Noble.

The Mystic is basically a divine sorcerer, capable of drawing upon divine magic without worshiping a deity. Mysticism was also re-introduced into the world with the release of Chaos. A mystic awakens to their magic via a process of introspection and self-discovery. They are a very diverse group, from necromancers to divinatory seers. A mystic can still worship a deity, but their spells are independent of said deity’s approval.

Mechanics-wise, mystics are much like clerics except that they’re not proficient with heavy armor and can’t turn undead, and they learn and cast spells much in a manner of a sorcerer. Instead of praying every day and choosing spells to prepare, they gain spells spontaneously upon leveling up, which they cast multiple times per day with spell slots exactly like a sorcerer. The Mystic can choose one cleric domain, gaining all its benefits and learning the spells as spells known. Mystics with the Sun domain can turn undead.

Overall this is a good, solid class in both flavor and mechanics. They can cast spells more often than Clerics, but they’re less versatile overall in that they’re more or less stuck with their spells known.

Nobles are the members of society’s upper class, be they ancestral lineages of regents and kings or even wealthy chieftains. Societies with fluid and extremely egalitarian social structures do not have people of the noble class, as one must be born into nobility in order to take the class (1st level). I feel that this is limiting. The noble is sort of a generic “leader with influence” class, and can accommodate a lot of things.

In terms of game mechanics, nobles are a poor man’s Bard. There’s nothing they can’t do a Bard can’t do better and with spells. They have average BAB, good Reflex and Will Saves, a robust skill list incorporating all the “social” and knowledge ones, and good proficiencies (simple and martial weapons, light armor, shields).

Their class features are lackluster: Bonus Class Skill grants one cross-class skill to the list, while Favor is an open-ended d20 roll against a DC to call in a service (DC 10 for simple stuff, DC 25 for dangerous and illegal favors), and favors which can circumvent adventure plots always fail. A noble gains a static bonus to the roll every few levels. Inspire Confidence is a limited per-day ability which grants bonuses to rolls for allies (bards can do this) for 5 rounds, while Inspire Greatness is largely the same as the bard’s except it grants bonuses to all saving throws and also lasts 5 rounds and is gotten 2 levels later. Coordinate grants additional bonuses for aid another checks every couple levels (+7 at 20th level), and that’s it.

The Noble is an unnecessary and underpowered class whose intended role can be done better by Bards and Paladins. If you want a noble PC, make it a backstory thing while being a Bard or Fighter or whatnot.

Prestige Classes

This section divides Prestige Classes into two groups: the first covers classes which are representative of Dragonlance’s most prominent organizations, while the second covers more generic archetypes. We’ll cover the organization PrCs first.

The Knights of Solamnia are an old and respected order responsible for many of Krynn’s greatest heroes, and serve as the ruling class of the nation of Solamnia. They are bound by the oath “Est Sularus Oth Mithas,” or “My Honor is My Life,” and seek to defend the weak and fight against Evil. During the Age of Despair the nation of Solamnia went through societal upheaval as peasants blamed them for the Cataclysm and overthrew many of their holds. Many Knights during this time abandoned their principles, either giving up their codes or following the letter of the law at the expense of its spirit, but they regained their honor after fighting valiantly against the forces of Takhisis in the War of the Lance. They are Lawful Good and revere the Gods of Light, especially Paladine and Kiri-Jolith. They are split into three major groups, and thus 3 Prestige Classes: the Knights of the Crown, Sword, and Rose.

The Knights of Solamnia are a hierarchal organization, meaning that in order to join the Sword you must have been accepted into the Crown, while for the Rose you must already be a Sword. This applies to the Prestige Classes as well, meaning that if you want to be a Sword of Rose you pretty much have to plan everything about your character from level 1. For example, Knight of the Rose can be taken no less than 10th character level, as you need 3 levels in Sword, 1 level in Crown, have Base Attack Bonus +8, cast 2nd level divine spells, among other things. As Cleric and Sword don’t grant full BAB progression, you need to make up those other 6 BAB points with 6 class levels. And that’s not counting the role-playing requirements and tests of moral character!

Knights of the Crown are the first tier and embody the virtues of honor and obedience. The class focuses around tough, heavily-armored fighters, with abilities which grant bonuses on initiative rolls, resistance and immunity to fear effects, heroic resolve which temporarily boosts physical ability scores, and treating heavy armor as medium armor for enhanced mobility. Their 10th level capstone ability grants them a heroic valor (combat buff spell) once per day and bonuses on all saving throws. They’re the “tanks” of the Knights.

Knights of the Sword are the warriors who fight to defend truth and justice, composed of clerics, crusaders, and are the religious arm of the knights. In order to enter must be able to cast divine spells and pass several tests (single combat against an evil worthy opponent, tests of wisdom, generosity, and courage, a journey of at least 500 miles, etc). As a class they can smite evil, turn undead, and gain enhanced caster levels as the god Kiri-Jolith grants them divine power. Their 10th level capstone ability grants them the ability to treat their weapons as holy and cast holy aura (protective spell from evil creatures’ attacks ) once per day. They’re sort of like a Paladin-lite class, but with full casting progression.

Knights of the Rose are the highest tier and leaders of the Knights, embodying the principles of wisdom and justice. They gain leadership-related abilities and bonuses to allies in tasks, along with full casting progression and some divination spell-like abilities reflecting their judgment and adherence to the Oath and Measure. Their capstone ability makes them a living embodiment of all the Knighthood stands for, and gains complete immunity to harmful compulsion spells and can cast foresight (preternatural awareness against all threats) once per day. Overall a good class, although the excessive multi-classing to get it can be a real chore.

Overall the Knight prestige classes were too clunky to be used by my own group, who instead opted for playing Paladins while retaining the same flavor. A later sourcebook Knightly Orders of Ansalon split them up into independent classes and revising them to be friendlier entries to classes other than Fighter and Cleric, and dispensed with the Tests for entry, instead being a role-playing thing determined by individual groups and DMs.

The Knights of Neraka, formerly the Knights of Takhisis, were formed by Ariakan, son of Emperor Ariakas of the now-fallen Dragon Empire. After being held and then released as a prisoner of war by the Solamnic, he learned much of their traditions and structure and decided to replicate it, albeit this time dedicated to Takhisis/Tiamat. The Knights of Takhisis were devoted to bringing all of Ansalon (and eventually the world) under their goddess’ heel, but after her death they became a more secular organization when mystics after many of their leaders mastered said magic during the War of Souls. The Knights are guided by 3 principles: the Vision, their ultimate goal of continental domination of Ansalon; the Blood Oath, the swearing of one's submission and life to the Knighthood (and formerly Takhisis when she lived); and the Code, a complex set of laws and rules for how the Knights should conduct themselves in relation to others.

Now known as the Knights of Neraka, they are split into 3 orders: the Knights of the Lily, the backbone of the order and their warriors; the Knights of the Skull, mystics specialized in intelligence-gathering and security purposes; and the Knights of the Thorn, sorcerers and renegade Wizards specializing in divination and cosmic awareness. Unlike the Knights of Solamnia one can take the Prestige Classes independently. For example, a Knight of the Thorn needs no levels in Skull or Lily. All Knights must be Lawful Evil, and gnomes, kender, and draconians are barred from entry (draconians are viewed as lowly servants).

The Knight of the Lily are a warrior PrC which grants Sneak Attack damage, resistance and immunity to fear effects, bonus against mind-affecting spells, armored mobility like a Knight of the Crown, and their 10th level capstone ability makes them immune to becoming flat-footed or surprise unless they and every other Knight of the Lilly within 100 feet is. Overall it’s not a very powerful class, as its abilities are too back-loaded and small to matter at higher levels, and the sneak attack progresses too slowly to add much damage.

The Knight of the Skull is a divine caster, gaining full progression except at 1st level, can smite good-aligned enemies, discern lies and rebuke undead (all of which are front-loaded in the first 3 levels), and at 10th level treats all weapons they wield as unholy. The class has the least amount of unique features of the Knights, but since they only sacrifice one caster level than they would as a Mystic they’re not losing anything.

The Knight of the Thorn are known as “gray robes” for their ash-colored garments. They are the pre-eminent organization of arcane spellcasters in Ansalon outside the Orders of High Sorcery, and as such are enemies of all three Orders. They are seers who use magic to learn how every person and even fits into their order’s designs.

Entry as a pure sorcerer/wizard is impossible, as a Thorn Knight needs a good base Fortitude Save (+4) and proficiency in all martial weapons and heavy armor. However, they more than make up for it with full casting progression, lower arcane spell failure while wearing armor (maximum of -20% at 8th level), automatically learning the augury (yes/no divination spell), divination, and commune spells at certain levels along with the ability to cast one more divination spell per day, one additional divination spell known or learned into their spellbook at each level, the ability to channel touch spells through their weapons, and at 10th level once per day can add their caster level as a bonus to a single d20 roll. Overall they gain a lot of good abilities, and their flavor is cool, too!

The Legion of Steel is the third major knightly order. They are the youngest of the three, formed after the Chaos War by Steel Brightblade and former Solamnic and Nerakan Knights disillusioned with their old orders. The Legion of Steel is more populist and working-class, allowing anybody to join regardless of race or social status, and they are organized into semi-independent cells across Ansalon instead of a formal hierarchy. Instead of a written code they follow an orally-spoken ideal known as Sara’s Legacy, which teaches to stand against injustice, gain strength through knowledge, to have the courage to do what is right, and help their communities.

As a prestige class they are very easy to qualify for: you must not be of evil alignment and easy to hit base attack and saving throw requirements, along with some ranks in Bluff and Diplomacy. It’s a 3-level prestige class which grants you Legion Knowledge (like Bardic Knowledge), 2 Favored Enemies (enemies of the Legion which include evil dragons, the other Knighthoods, and some monstrous races), bonus on interaction rolls with working-class and poor people, and an apprentice at 3rd level is works exactly as a cohort like the Leadership feat. It is supplementary to any existing cohorts.

This would be a weak class were it not for the apprentice, which can effectively be a 2nd PC for the player to control.

The Wizards of High Sorcery are one of the most venerable, powerful, and feared organizations in Ansalon. Back during the Age of Dreams the only mages were Scions, primal sorcerers and mystics; during the Second Dragon War they fought on the side of the elves and unleashed devastating magic in the battle. This overwhelming power killed many of the dragons, but countless innocents died in the crossfire. The three deities Solinari, Lunitari, and Nuitari realized that such power needs guidance and order to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again, and they assumed new mantles as the Gods of Magic and taught the Scions to channel their magic through the Moons. These Scions learned the arts of wizardry and formed the Order of High Sorcery, creating five Towers to help in the teaching and accumulation of magical knowledge.

The three orders are thus: the White Robes, good-aligned devotees of Solinari who are dedicated to using their magic to eliminating suffering and promoting good works; the Red Robes, the most numerous of the orders and the neutral-aligned devotees of Lunitari who encourage a balance between Good and Evil; and the Black Robes, who believe that magic should be pursued without moral or ethical restraints and have a Social Darwinist “only the most powerful mages deserve the riches of the world.” Despite alignment differences, all Orders vow a primary allegiance to magic above everything else.

Once a Wizard attains a certain level of power and completes a Test, they automatically gain a level in the prestige class. The prerequisites are easy enough for a Wizard to meet: appropriate alignment for the Robe to wear, able to prepare and cast spells from a school their Robed Order favors (abjuration and divination for white, illusion and transmutation for red, enchantment and necromancy for black), and two metamagic or item creation feats.

Mechanics-wise Wizards gain a free magic item after completing the Test, enhanced specialization in their school (if they’re a specialist) with additional spells per day and Save DCs, a variable modifier to their caster level depending upon the phase of their aligned Moon, and access to the libraries and laboratories of the Towers (although only Wayreth still exists). Additionally a Wizard can learn Secrets from their appropriate Order at every 3rd level. Basically secrets are unique abilities which are added to spells and thematically related to their order. For example, a Red Robe’s Magic of Deception makes his spells harder to detect with divination, while a Black Robe’s Magic of Darkness converts half of the damage of a spell to negative energy. They’re overall pretty cool, and a few can grant free metamagic abilities without increasing caster level, so that’s good, but the Black Robe in particular has a super-powerful secret: Magic of Hunger. This allows the Wizard the ability to prepare an additional spell per day by suffering Constitution damage equal to the spell level, and the damage has to be recovered naturally. As a Wizard’s power comes from their spells and how much they can cast them, a Black Robe PC playing his cards right effectively gains free spells.

A Wizard can also switch Robes and alignment, and must assign their specialized and prohibited schools anew. Additionally they can no longer learn Secrets of their abandoned order, and suffer a massive -20% penalty on experience points earned until the next level.

As of Age of Mortals Sourcebook onwards, a Wizard of High Sorcery no longer needs to specialize in a school to attain this prestige class. They do not gain enhanced school specialization, though.

Overall this is a very powerful prestige class, as it supplements the abilities of one of the most powerful core classes in 3rd Edition. Power-wise there is no reason you wouldn’t take this class and remain a plain ol’ single-classed Wizard, especially now that you don’t need to be a Specialist now with errata. Role-playing wise you might not be fond of being part of a centralized hierarchy overseeing you.

Thoughts so far: I like the prestige classes in terms of flavor, but when it comes to game mechanics the spellcasters get all the good stuff. Story of 3rd Edition.

Next time the rest of Chapter Two: Other Prestige Classes and Feats!


Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Chapter 5: Revenantin’:

The chapter on revenants begins with a reminder that to many superstitious cultures throughout history, burial rites are very much about ensuring that the dead stay dead. It links these superstitions to a belief in “psychic vampires” and in people who return from near-death experiences but seem to be completely different people. I’m impressed. This is a much more original starting point than just ripping off The Crow.

That being said, I’ve got to knock this chapter for scraping the bottom of the barrel for its White Wolf style quotes. The good: Sandman, The Invisibles, and two apiece from Lovecraft and Poe. The bad: Two from an obscure novel named They Thirst, one from Poppy Z. Brite, and one from Man-Bat. Yes, Man-Bat. The ugly: Two from The Crow 2: City of Angels and one from Bloodlust: Subspecies 3. The psychic vampire element got my hopes up for quotes from Carrion Comfort and “The Transfer,” and instead...well, I got the answer to the question “What kind of person wrote this book?” Someone who watches horror movies on HBO at 4:00 in the morning.

Do you believe I drank five of those loving things? What did the bartender call it? A corpse reviver?

So. Revenants. When mortals die, sometimes their souls are condemned to the Underworld. I don’t see why that’s a big deal, since we’ve already established that the Underworld is where all the coolest ghuls hang out, but...I suppose the grass really is always greener on The Other Side. Revenants are condemned souls who escape from the Underworld by grafting themselves to a soulless human body. They stalk the “living lands” as undead predators, sustaining themselves by draining years from the lives of mortals.

The most basic division among revenants is between sarkomenos, those who reanimate dead bodies, and ekimmu, who possess living ones. They aren’t different kinds of spirits, it’s just down to your...choice of venue, so to speak.

Sarkomenos, or cold-bloods, become revenants by returning to the world as ghosts and reanimating a dead body--not necessarily their own. The grafting process undoes the work of time and the undertaker, but a fresh corpse is easier to reanimate than an enbalmed, rotted, stitched-up one. Cold-bloods are indeed cold-blooded, and they don’t need food, sleep, or air--just the lifeforce of their victims.

Ekimmu, or warm-bloods, become revenants by possessing a living body whose owner has been ripped out and forced to wander the Underworld in the ekimmu’s place. There are several ways for condemned souls to find their way into a suitable body, including pacts with mortal sorcerers and mad scientists. The only method that is fully explained is dealing with the ghaddars, the outcast ghuls who traffic fresh bodies and kidnapped mortals into the Underworld so that dead souls can inhabit them and return to the “living lands.” The ghuls are “paid handsomely” for their services, but with what? It doesn’t say. Maybe if you believe the theory that Casper is Richie Rich’s any case, ekimmu are warm-blooded and alive, but in addition to draining lifeforce, they need to keep eating, breathing, and sleeping to maintain their immortal bodies.

Revenants drain life from mortals by touching them, usually with a kiss. This causes an extremely pleasurable high for both the revenant and their victim, and it’s the most intense sensation revenants can experience. They call this soulstealing, despite the fact that it doesn’t harm the victim’s soul--it drains years from their lifespan and causes premature aging. Mortals who die this way crumble into dust--far less troublesome than a rotten or bloodless corpse.

Like other unliving, revenants lose animus points daily, which they must regain by soulstealing. It takes a year of mortal life to sustain a ghoul for a single day. They can also feed from animals, even trees or acres of crops, but this is far less nourishing and not satisfying in the least. If they run out of animus, they age rapidly and fall into a coma, with their mind fully aware and trapped in an immobile body.

My third eye is rolling itself at this game.

Revenants can die the True Death by decapitation, silver weapons, or being torn to shreds. Like the other unliving, when a revenant dies there is a totally-not-the-Quickening-from-Highlander event. Their body crumples to the ground while the condemned soul remains standing, temporarily visible along with any other bodiless spirits in the room. They get the chance to deliver a parting monologue before fading back into the Underworld, and any living creatures present absorb their stolen vitality, becoming younger. If there are any grim reaper spirits nearby, they’ll appear as vague silhouettes to grab the errant soul and drag them kicking and screaming back to the Underworld, which is definitely not a rip-off of Ghost.

All revenants are naturally pale and gaunt. The atrophy of their internal organs makes them even more pale and gaunt, and if they don’t feed, they become more, you guessed it, pale and gaunt. That said, they are usually very attractive, because why wouldn’t you pick a body that’s young and fit? Revenants dress in “ever-so-sheik” (sic) styles and blend in with mortal society, but they’re also supposed to prefer all-black clothing with black lipstick and black nail polish. (Is it just me, or did White Wolf and its imitators do this a lot? “These people are rich and classy and blend into high society, except when they dress like club kids.”)

Both cold-bloods and warm-bloods gain access to the memories of the person whose body they’re inhabiting. This makes it easier to take over their host’s mortal life, which many of them enjoy. It’s one of the principal ways to stave off Detachment, the revenants’ form of Degeneration. You see, although revenants clawed their way back to the land of the living to experience life, they have a hard time enjoying it. They perceive the decay in everything, and when they look in the mirror they see themselves as if they’d been rotting in the grave. Soulstealing is such an intense high that ordinary pleasures pale in comparison. They throw themselves into careers, relationships, studies, and other activites to regain that spark of life, but nothing is ever quite enough. Detached revenants become increasingly bored, depressed, lonely, and isolated, and often commit terrible crimes just to feel something. If their Detachment maxes out, they commit suicide in a fit of insanity, and their soul descends deep into the Underworld, never to return.

Revenant culture is supposed to be vicious and Machiavellian, and it is, but the basic setup is very simple. The worldwide revenant community is the “Kingdoms of Night,” divided into domains with major cities as its focal points. This system was set up by the Old Ones, the revenants who have been around for at least 500 years. The Old Ones also created six laws. They themselves are above the law, because no one can discipline them without starting a war over it.

1: Protect the secrets of the dead. Revenants know all kinds of poo poo about spirits and the Underworld, but they’re not telling you. Revenants are poorly understood by other eldritch--many think they’re just some kind of psychic vampire--and they like it that way.
2: Respect the Court of Night, which is made up of the Old Ones and the rulers of the revenant domains.
3: Keep the existence of revenants secret from mortals.
4: Only kill mortals to protect yourself or your assets.
5: Never kill another revenant.
6: Do what the Old Ones say, or else.

About half of revenants are part of the Salariat, meaning they align themselves with a particular kingdom and intrigue against each other for power and influence. The how and why is not explained. Many other revenants are renunciates, meaning that they refuse to participate in revenant politics, but for practical reasons they still have to obey the laws. About a tenth of revenants are part of the Ankou, also called the Abaddon, a cult of grim reapers. They hate other revenants, they have a special power that lets them appear as grim reapers, another one that lets them sense mortals about to die, and only feed by draining the last bit of life from them. I find them boring.

Revenants prefer living in large cities, since they need people to prey upon. Cold-bloods prefer homes that are large, private, intimidating, and close to cemeteries, and often summon spirits and undead to serve as their minions. Warm-bloods prefer homes that are opulent and comfortable, and use mortal or faitour minions. Revenants can empower mortal minions with superhuman strength and the power to see ghosts. Unlike other unliving, almost all revenants live alone. It says that revenants enjoy manipulating mortals and are rarely hurting for money, but we’re not told why they should have an easy time amassing wealth.

Our braces are stuck again.

Revenants don’t have much contact with other eldritch, except for other unliving. They have a wary respect for vampires--in fact, they have a sort of extradition agreement with them; a revenant who harms a vampire (or vice versa) is judged by their peers as if they’d harmed their own kind. They regard ghuls as minions to be used and discarded, and generally despise the holy eldritch such as angels and questers.

There is a little section telling us that especially Detached revenants sometimes make their lairs into a “chamber of horrors” where they torture and terrorize mortals, much like faitours. We already know that evil revenants commit terrible crimes, so I don’t know why every chapter needs to give us what seems to be a special dispensation for a slasher film or a dungeoncrawl.

In addition to the innate powers described in previous chapters, here are the Nekrosia that revenants can buy:

Adumbration: Produces a cloud of total darkness rising from the ground.
Call the Black Storm: Changes the weather into a terrible spooky storm.
Corpse Candle: Creates an eerie will-o'-the-wisp that lures mortals and eldritch.
Deathly Grandeur: Permanently boosts Presence.
Ephemeral Speed: Permanently boosts Speed.
Gravewalk: With a simple touch you can induce a terrible chill.
The Keening: You can emit a terrible wail that induces intense despair.
Mesmerism: Mind control with simple commands.
Mindsight: You can read surface thoughts.
Mirrorgate: You can walk into one mirror and out of another “anywhere in the vicinity.”
Poltergeist: Telekinesis.
Shadow of Death: You can merge with the shadow of a passing person or object and travel unnoticed.
Spectral Armor: Permanently boosts Resilience.
Zombie Mastery: You can animate corpses to serve you.

The section on roleplaying revenants emphasizes Detachment, and on the way revenants see everything as being in a process of decay, though that’s not supported with rules or even with any thematic powers. Suggestions for a revenant campaign include fighting the Abaddon or other races of eldritch, wars within the Kingdoms of Night, or trying to become human again--which makes little sense, since you already lived a mortal life. Perhaps you could earn your way into a better afterlife, but you gotta buy another book for that!

Next time, on The Everlasting: I wonder if Stephen Brown caught this one on TBS.

Dec 30, 2006

I had a beer with Stephen Miller once and now I like him.

Every game needs art by Rebecca Guay :3:

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

unseenlibrarian posted:

Mainlining the eighties! 1993.

Spelljammer: just like regular D&D, but with a starfield in the backdrop.

Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

That is one goddamn smug elf - I think this is what people think of when they say "I do not like elves"

Dec 30, 2006

I had a beer with Stephen Miller once and now I like him.
d20 Modern Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook - Part 6

Chapter 3 - FEATS

And now we come to the super crunchy part of character creation - feats! These are options you can select for your character when gaining certain levels that allow you to specialize and improve some aspect of your character that isn’t governed by skill points or simple class progression. Feats cover everything from simple mechanical boosts (+1 to attack!), to being able to use a heavy machine gun, to being able to terrify everyone within ten feet. d20 Modern hands feats out like candy - your typical level 6 mono-class character will have four standard feats, plus three bonus feats, potentially gaining one more from occupation. Furthermore, due to a slight decrease in wizard supremacy, feats are actually somewhat useful for all characters, and the ones that give you exciting combat tricks aren’t dumb, underpowered gimmicks (since everyone is dumb and underpowered :v:).

There are around ninety-five feats included in the core rulebook, but I’m going to attempt to explain most of them in at least some degree of detail, because they’re probably the most important part of character creation and advancement. I’ll try and group them into families where possible, too.

Skill Feats: Acrobatic, Alertness, Animal Affinity, Athletic, Attentive, Cautious, Confident, Deceptive, Educated, Focused, Gearhead, Guide, Medical Expert, Meticulous, Nimble, Stealthy, Studious, and Trustworthy. All of these do the same thing: grant +2 to a couple of related skills.

Martial Arts Feats: Combat Martial Arts turns your fists into weapons capable of dealing lethal damage, and is a prerequisit for Improved and Advanced Martial Arts, which expand your crit range and give you x3 criticals respectively. There’s also the Defensive Martial Arts branch that features various judo-type moves (Combat Throw and Unbalance Opponent) and basically boost your ability to grapple.

Combat Martial Arts + Combat Skort = TIGER KICK

These are in contrast to the Brawl Feats: Brawl increases your unarmed nonlethal damage, Improved Brawl beefs it up further, Knockout Punch makes your nonlethal unarmed attacks into automatic critical hits, and Improved Knockout Punch makes those crits deal triple damage. Note that Knockout Punches only work against flat-footed opponents, and only on your first attack against them, so the feat might as well be called Sucker Punch. There’s also Streetfighting and Improved Feint which let you wrassle a little better.

Dodge Feats: Dodge makes you more difficult to hit - +1 to Defense versus a chosen enemy, but keys into a few more exciting feats - Agile Riposte, which lets you make an attack of opportunity against a target that misses you in melee combat, Mobility, which is a big bonus to Defense versus AoO, and Spring Attack, which lets you move before and after making a melee attack.

Proficiency Feats: Archaic Weapons Proficiency makes you equally adept with bow, sword, axe, and guisarme, while Armour Proficiency (light/medium/heavy) let you stomp around in a SWAT suit while poking people with your sword cane. Meanwhile, Personal Firearms Proficiency is required for gun-shooting (-4 to attack without it), and keys into Advanced Firearms Proficency, Burst Fire, and Strafe, which improve your ability to hose down an area...with bullets. Exotic Melee Weapon Proficiency and Exotic Firearms Proficiency let you pick a single melee weapon, or class of ranged weapons, and use them with no penalty.

Shooting Feats: Point Blank Shot confers a +1 to attack and damage on ranged attacks made within 30 feet (clearly to combat fighter supremacy), and also leads to Double Tap - letting you take a -2 to attack for an additional damage die (compare to Power Attack), Precise Shot, which allows you to shoot into melee, Shot on the Run, the ranged version of Spring Attack, and Skip Shot, which allows you to ignore cover for a -2 attack and -1 damage die penalty. There’s also Far Shot to get 1.5x the range on your gun, and Dead Aim to get extra bonuses when you spend a full round aiming.

Some Metal Gear bosses show up.

Melee Feats: Starting with Power Attack which lets you take up to -5 to attack to get the same bonus to damage, then there’s Cleave (make an additional melee attack when you kill a melee target once per round) and Great Cleave (which removes the limit), Improved Bull Rush to shove your enemies, and Sunder to allow you to smash your opponent’s weapon with your sword.

Combat Expertise lets you take up to a -5 to attack for a corresponding Defense bonus, and requires Int 13 - use your wiles to avoid getting shot! It also trees into Improved Disarm and Improved Trip which are straightforward, and Whirlwind Attack, which requires 4 prerequisite feats, Dex and Int 13, and lets you make one melee attack against ALL ENEMIES WITHIN 5 FEET. So you can go totally wild as a kung-fu smarty-guy - assuming everyone rushes you.

Two-Weapon Fighting, its Improved, and Advanced versions allow you to make a number of two-weapon attacks (1, 2, and 3 respectively) with less penalty than normal. It applies to both melee and ranged weapons - John Woo fans are fully allowed in d20 Modern.

Tough Guy Feats: Things like Improved Damage Threshold (increases your massive damage threshold, more on this later), Iron Will and Lightning Reflexes (+2 Will/Reflex saves), and Toughness let you be a huge swole-rear end Moondog.

Vehicle Feats: so you wanna go fast? Check out Vehicle Expert for a minor bonus to your Drive and Pilot checks, and Vehicle Dodge to let you swerve out of the way of a rocket launcher more easily. Also Force Stop lets you run people off the road more easily, and Drive-By Attack lets you live out your GTA-est game fantasy. There’s also Aircraft Operation for flying helicopters and all manner of other wing’d abominations.

Miscellaneous Junk: There are a few feats that don’t really fit into a category. poo poo like Renown (+3 reputation) and Windfall (+3 Wealth bonus and a bonus to Profession checks), the all-important Surgery for healing beyond minor cuts and scratches, Quick Draw and Quick Reload, and Run, which lets you run 25% faster than another person. There’s also Frightful Presence, which lets you intimidate anyone within 10 feet - if successful they take a -2 penalty to attack rolls, saves, and skill checks. Weirdly, Frightful Presence gets a bonus if you have the Renown skill as you can apparently scare people with your celebrity.

So yeah: look at all those feats! Holy poo poo! And the vast majority of them combat-related. This is a game that knows what it’s meant to be: big cinematic fightin’, and the occasional skill usage.

Next time: GUNS. LOTS OF GUNS.

Majuju fucked around with this message at 16:28 on Nov 27, 2013

Toph Bei Fong
Feb 29, 2008

Part 3: How the hell do you make a character, part 2: The Legend of Curly’s Gold

Last time we went through all the steps involved with making a character. It was an involved process, what with all the different formulas and tables that went into calculating how your skill modifiers were determined and the differences between temporary and potential stats, but what we left out was a major aspect of all fantasy gaming: Magic.

Spell Casters are divided into three broad categories in Rolemaster: Pure, Hybrid, and Semi.

There are three realms of magic in Rolemaster: Essence, which is your arcane spelling slinging magician type magic, Channeling, which is your divine undead turning type magic, and Mentalism, which is your psionic brain exploding type magic. Spell casting is run off of a Power Point (PPs) system. Each Realm keys off of a Stat, which in turn gives you a number of PPs per level. There are magical items which will multiply the number of PPs you get, as well as items known as “Spell Adders,” which give you a number of free spell castings, regardless of cost, X number of times per day.

A Pure spellcaster will specialize in one and only one realm. A Hybrid spellcaster will mash-up two realms, with some DP cost penalties for this lack of specialization. A Semi spellcaster will mash-up any one realm with the realm of Arms (non-casters), providing your professions which are adept at both fighting and spell casting, like Rangers and Paladins.

Casters get their spells by taking a skill called “Spell List Acquisition,” which they get at a supreme discount when compared to non-spell casting classes (remember that there are no “class exclusive” skill in Rolemaster; anyone can take any skill they want). For Pure and Hybrid casters, this skill will cost 1*, and for Semis it costs 4*.

According to the rules as written, you are only allowed to take Spell List Acquisition for one spell list at a time, and each time you level up, you make a check, adding you SLA skill ranks to your casting stat bonus, and if your result is higher than 101, you learn the list. If it is less, then you must wait until the next level before trying again. As a house rule, my group always let you work on multiple lists at a time, because really, having to wait until at minimum level 10 before you even got all your base lists seemed needlessly penalizing to an already difficult to play series of classes.

Spells are divided into thematic lists, which go from 1-50, and are divided into three different categories (noticing a theme here yet?): Base, Open, and Closed. Base lists are class specialities, the things that a particular class does best and can only be learned with great difficulty by other classes. Open lists are the easiest tricks of that particular realm, and anyone can learn them. Closed lists are the more difficult spells that, while any pure caster can learn them without trouble, others will have some trouble. Each spell costs a number of power points equal to its level to cast.

Spell Law boasts that it contains over 2000 spells, which, well, you already know if you're the target audience for that kind of thing or not. The lists are very specific, with separate lists for healing bones, muscles, organs, and building magic prosthetic limbs, separate lists for each element, and even a set of evil lists for the vile versions of the Magician, Cleric, and Mentalist. How evil, you may ask?

Specifically evil!

To cast a spell, the caster first determines which class the spell will fall into.

As you can see, it takes a long time to cast a spell, and you need to get to a pretty high level before you can start tossing off spells. Even then, it still takes a full round for the spell to go off, giving everyone else in combat a chance to tag you and interrupt your casting. The noted exception, instant spells, are almost always defensive spells like Deflection, Aim Untrue and Bladeturn, or movement based spells like Leaping or Balance. None of them are attack spells.

Aim Untrue, arguably the most important spell in the game, makes any one ranged attack in the caster’s field of vision automatically miss. I like to imagine the verbal component goes “Nuh uh.”

Let’s take a look at a sample spell list to see how well this is going to work out. We’ll look at one of the Magician’s base lists, as the Magician is the most basic of the casters and considered a pretty flexible combatant:

As you can see, he begins the game being able to spend three rounds boiling water, and can advance to the more useful heating of swords and lighting of buildings on fire. He doesn’t get a fireball spell until level 6, and even then, it will take three full rounds of combat before it goes off, giving the fighters and rogues ample time to clear the battlefield. In the interests of full disclosure, the Magician does get a small lightning bolt spell at level 2 if they learn the list “Light Law,” but until they reach level 5, again, it’s taking 3 rounds to get off, and then it’s 2 until they hit 8.

There are also number of casting classes that don’t have any combat capabilities at all. The Astrologer, for example, does a lot of long range scrying, telling fortunes, and detection. The Alchemist can create items and imbed spells. They seem like they could be neat, and in a pinch you could always rely on the somewhat combat oriented lists in the closed and open lists, like Spirit mastery, or just hang back and take pot shots with a crossbow.

But wait, I can hear you saying, why is that a bad thing? Delayed gratification and creative thinking should be the highlight of the role playing experience, shouldn’t they? To explain that, we’ll need to briefly touch on XP, which I wasn’t going to go into in depth until part 5. But for now, you only need to know two things: 1, the majority of XP comes from killing things, and 2, only the person who kills the thing gets XP for the kill. This simple oversight manages to invalidate the majority of the interesting non-combat oriented classes, because they’ll never advance at the same rate as the killing PCs. They are, quite frankly, a Trap.

(In the interests of full disclosure, this isn’t the Moon’s fault. He didn’t sign on with the Rolemaster crew until 1989, working on Creatures and Treasures II, and the Rolemaster Companions 4-7. The problem existed before he was there, but it plays out just like in his famous essay on Ivory Tower game design. Since you can take these caster’s base lists as another profession if you can find their tomes at a cost of 3* on a pure caster (a common house rule which is actually presented in Spell Law itself), there’s no reason to ever actually play one.)

So, let’s make some casters! I’m not going to go through the process in depth like we did with Diana, merely going to present the characters with notes on how and why I’d build them the way I did.

AmiYumi posted:

Hipster Elf Scholar, who was into everything you like before you were even born

Dr. Romelle Dregolas, MA, PhD, M.D., DDS, FRAS, FGAR, is a highly trained elven scholar, who knows everything there is to know about everything. Certainly more than you, anyways. He is a level 1 High Elf Sage.

The Scholar class from RMC2 is a neat idea, a non-combat oriented class that gets all the academic skills at a pretty good discount. Unfortunately, it is 100% overshadowed by the Sage, a mentalism caster from that exact same book, which has almost 1-for-1 costs on its skills as well as a host of spell lists that help it magically identify and know things. The reduced Rogue skills that the scholar gets will be overshadowed by the invisibility and telekinetic spells that the Sage will be able to pick up. In the end, though, neither will end up being a great idea. We'll understand why later.

I imagine the sword is bloody from the Sage stabbing the Scholar in the back and stealing his role in the game

His spells allow him to store any scene he is in for recreation with a spell 5 levels later in the list, which will be useful if he is ever needs to recreate the scene of a crime or even if he just wants to spruce up his camping tent, read texts in any language, but only get the basic jist of them, gain a permanent +20 to his RE bonus, and learn anything he reads or sees as if he had a photographic memory. This will be great if there is any mystery or exploration aspect to the game, but could also end up being completely useless if its a more hack n’ slash game. He can also talk in a hypnotic, droning manner that soothes all the listeners into a passive calm, which will be good for keeping him safe if he doesn't run into anyone with good mental defenses. Just in case, though, he paid his 8 DPs for a single rank in longbow, as what Elf in his right mind doesn’t know his way around one?

Dr. Dregolas will be the smartest character at the table, in any case.

Plague of Hats posted:

It's unfair since I know what's up, but I really want you to make a HobbitHalfling Layman who is super into casting spells.

Gilbo Saggins, general lay about and farmer’s son, stumbled onto the wizard’s spellbook at the county fair one day, and whether through luck or coincidence, knocked all the milk jugs over with the wooden ball enough times to take home his prize. With a few months of study, he mastered the rudiments of the magickal arts, and is now a level 1 Halfling Farmer.

The farmer class is a variant on the fighter that gets some pretty boss discounts on agricultural skills in exchange for some of its fighting prowess and ease at wearing armor. It pays 20 DPs per rank of Spell List Acquisition. Non-casters can learn the Open spell lists of any one realm from 1-5, and no further.

Looking at Mr. Saggins essence casting stat, Empathy, we find that he has a 91, which is pretty high (+11 bonus). He buys a rank in one of the spell lists from his book, which costs about 1/3rd of his total DPs at character creation, and gives him a +5 to his SLA roll. Hobbits get a -5 to EM, so his EM bonus is currently a 6. Adding the 5 from his skill rank, he has a total of 11. He’d need to roll a 90 on a d100 to acquire the first 5 spells on the list.

When compared to Dr. Dregolas up there, who had a 99 in his PR (the mentalism casting stat), which is a +23 bonus, an extra +10 from being a high elf, and a +15 from the 3 ranks he was able to easily afford as his SLA only costs him 1 DP per rank, at each level the good Doctor has to roll a 53 or more to get the list he has put points into, a much better chance at a much cheaper cost.

With a chances at level 0 and level 1 during creation, Romelle easily gets 6 of his 10 base lists, a little more than half, while Gilbo ends up not hitting either of his 10% shots.

Comrade Koba posted:

Runebeard the Resplendent, dwarf master wizard.

wdarkk posted:

Make a dude who summons monsters to fight for him because gently caress getting his hands dirty. That poo poo is beneath him.

Corpulent Conjurer Dupree Duquesne, of the Resplendent Runebeards, dreamed of the day when his demonic devotees and elemental allies would wait on him hand and foot, fulfilling his every request and tearing those who oppose him to shreds. No more toiling in the mines like his father, and his father before him! That poo poo is tiring! He is a level 1 dwarf conjurer.

Unfortunately, it’ll be a while before he can actually summon more than his cat familiar and the demonic raven that it constantly tries to eat. He can spend a minute drawing 1 foot radius magical circles of power on the ground which will cause anyone crossing into them to fall asleep or will keep animals away, which will be great for protecting the party at night if they can find a room with a narrow doorway, and which will be much more useful once he gains a few more levels and can expand that radius (it grows up to 1’ per level, but takes 1 minute per foot to draw). He can also identify any spirit he comes into contact with, but cannot do anything to it yet.

If he can get to level 2, he can start summoning animals, and monsters and demons as he gets higher and higher. Until then, he’ll have to rely on his dwarven crossbow to take things out, because unfortunately, cats aren't nearly as lethal to commoners as they are in D&D.

Xelkelvos posted:

An Orcish jester/clown, trained to beguile or bemuse his opponents while entertaining, invigorating and sometimes enraging his allies

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

A Half-Orc Barmaid Warrior Monk that was raised by Hobbits on a fishing boat.

Scribda the Unweidly is a Half-Orc monk, a semi spell caster of the realm of essence, mistress of the martial arts and fisherwoman extraordinate. Though she dresses like an oversized hobbit and acts like a country fishwife, her demeanor changes the moment she enters combat, the rolling gait suddenly an unhittable bob and weave, the bumbling shuffle a blindingly fast dash, the arms which spin to keep her balance slamming like a hammer driving stakes.

All her spell lists have to do with movement, dodging and jumping, supernatural senses, or self-healing. She can leap 10’ into the air to swing from chandeliers and branches, hear things twice as well as a normal half-orc, add 50 to any roll involving balance, stop herself from bleeding by concentrating and standing still, and leap either 50’ horizontally or 20’ vertically instantly. She also takes ranks in martial arts, which gives her access to a special set of critical charts that we will cover in the next section on combat.

Next Time: Combat! or, Yes, that picture with the pile of hacked off limbs is pretty accurate...

Toph Bei Fong fucked around with this message at 06:42 on Nov 27, 2013

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011



Well, an Exile Simple Power allows the user to hide inside another person's body. You can only enter when they're unconscious, and there's no mention if the person notices anything different when they wake up carrying a goddamned Overed coiled between their innards.

It's the Indian from the X-Files episode 'Badlaa' who hides inside people. I guess you can also turn into Flukeman with this power set.

Mar 9, 2012

AccidentalHipster posted:

Throw in a bunch of dangerously irresponsible creator gods who expressly built the universe to entertain them in to the mix and you've got a nice summation of World Tree! Magic is integrated in to society heavily, mundane skill is very important to magically performing mundane tasks well, and the main flaw with it is that extremist furries might try to hijack the setting for their own ends.

Those 3 are all non-anthropomorphic and they're all PC races (although the octopus was a monster race that 1 god made a PC race because of in-universe deadlines). Yeah, World Tree is great and I'd do a write-up of it if I didn't already have 3 other games on my plate.

World Tree would be a great fit for this thread, I think. I'm tempted to do it myself, but I already started and got bored with and abandoned doing Tales from the Floating Vagabond, and there's WAY more poo poo to talk about in World Tree.

Grey Hunter
Oct 17, 2007

Hero of the soviet union.
Accidental destroyer of planets

Spoilers Below posted:

Next Time: Combat! or, Yes, that picture with the pile of hacked off limbs is pretty accurate...

I hope to see ocmbat using our three heros, if only to see the meatsheild dispare at trying to protect three mages who are spending three turns chanting while the goblins charge them with swords.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012

Part 5: Weirdness Abounds
Chapter nine starts off the ending supernatural trilogy of Northern Crown: New World Adventures with a discussion on how magic works in the setting. The setting’s notable differentiation from standard D&D magic is that Druids have the strength of their magic tied directly to the strength of the land. Any given area has a level of “natural power”, which comes in six ranks. Your average slightly human-worked wilderness is considered normal and grants no bonuses or penalties. On the upswing, there are two categories – strong (untouched wilderness that lets Druids cast as if they were one caster level higher) and very strong (wilderness juiced with magical standing stones, verdant magic, fairy presence, or whatever that lets Druids cast as if they were two caster levels higher). By contrast, the levels below normal has three rankings. These are weak (farms and frontier towns, which make Druids act as if they are one caster level lower), absent (cities, where Druids cast two caster levels lower than they actually are), and corrupt. Corrupt is worth discussing beyond a bit beyond a mere bracket blurb, as it is basically anathema to all things natural. This is the place where aberrations, the undead, and demons call home, so tainted that not only are Druids suffering three caster levels worth of spell power loss, the land itself is treated as if under an unhallow spell from dusk to dawn every day of the year. Creatures with the Aberration, Outsider (evil only), or Vermin creature types also gain 2 extra points of Constitution in corrupted areas thanks to its foul energy.

There are also, of course, completely new spells for use. A total of twenty-six, in fact, with a school makeup of one Enchantment, two Divination, two Necromancy, four Conjuration, four Evocation, five Abjuration, and eight Transmutation. All of these new spells are accessible to only either Uropans or First Ones, with the exception of spells that boost or weaken areas of natural power. A few of the more noteworthy ones include...
  • Backfire (Abjuration; Uropan Witch 2 or Uropan Wizard/Sorcerer 2): You make a gun explode, dealing damage to the wielder and permanently destroying it. Congratulations, you made an already useless item even more useless!
  • Eat Fire (Conjuration; First Ones Sorcerer 2): You can inhale non-magical flames to put them out, or even damage creatures with the Fire subtype. There’s something quite :black101: about using your magic to consume a fire elemental.
  • Hair to Snakes (Transmutation; First Ones Sorcerer 2 or First Ones Druid 3: You go all Medusa on your own head, transforming your hair into a nest of coral snakes that attack and envenomate foes.
  • Internal Creature (Conjuration; First Ones Sorcerer 1, First Ones Druid 2): You hold a size Tiny animal in a magic stomach-space, letting you eat, drink, and talk normally while you also hide a critter in your body. That may sound really weird...and it is. But it has a reason! It’s actually meant to be a defensive measure to either protect or hide your little familiar/animal companion.
  • Righteous Healing (Conjuration; Uropan Cleric 2): A strangely specific spell, this spell allows someone to heal themselves by honorably killing (no spells, no sneak attacks, no debilitating status effects) a creature with an Evil alignment. You get the slain foe’s total Hit Dice worth of hit points healed, so it may or may not be more useful than just using a cure [rank here] wounds spell.
  • Swords into Plowshares (Transmutation; Uropan Cleric 3): All piercing or slashing weapons in a 30 foot radius around you have their edges dulled, causing them to suffer a -1 penalty to attack rolls. While a -1 penalty isn’t exactly much for a third level spell, it’s an interesting idea.
  • Walking Tune (Transmutation; Uropan Bard 1): You know those parts in The Hobbit where everyone breaks into song while they walk? Yeah, this is that in spell form. The spell grants increased move speed at the cost of being really easy to hear and not stealthy in the slightest.

Psionic Knacks
As I had previously alluded to in the discussion of the feats chapter, knacks are a direct homage to powers of the same name from the Tales of Alvin Maker series of books by Orson Scott Card, wherein the titular character was one of multiple supernatural figures on the American frontier. Knacks in Northern Crown have a similar role as specific innate supernatural powers in a tight focus, but without any Mormon messiahs. A knack feat grants some specific psionic powers that grow (to a point) with the character – one can cast listed 0-level psionics at first character level, first level powers at second and third character levels, second level psionics at fourth through sixth character levels, and third level psionics from seventh character level onward. This means that those with knacks will never be as versatile or powerful as a true spellcaster, but at the same time frees them up to be able to take an class they want while gaining supernatural powers. The three knack feats that are given are Evil Eye (access to mind-affecting and debuffing psionics), Firebug (the entirety of the handful of fire-related first through third level psionics that exist), and Second Sight (the various divination-miming psionic powers).

Invention Creation
Inventions are any sort of crazy pseudo-magical contraption created through heavy use of :science101: . Inventions come in a few varieties, their methods of creation listed in the chapter even though actual examples of any invention type are relegated to the Northern Crown Gazetteer.

Automata: Basically golems without any magic immunity and the addition of an Intelligence score equal to a human. Automatons can be tweaked by inventors to have specific qualities rather than being generic constructs, including alternate movement types, enhanced ability scores, a shield of electrical energy, or the ability to shoot steam jets as a breath weapon.

Devices: Magic items that don’t have to worry about anti-magic measures. They are also cosmetically different, with one example given in the text stating that a device version of a wand of cure light wounds might be a syringe of cure light wounds.

Substances: Potions that aren’t subject to anti-magic measures.

Vehicles: The way Northern Crown decides to handle vehicles is kind of odd. Rather than have them be more like a piece of equipment as I’ve usually seen, Northern Crown vehicles are Construct type creatures that happen to be given commands by a pilot. Your car was a golem all along, and you never knew it.

Weapons: Weapons with energy damage added on top of standard damage. Unlike magic weapons, they have to be charged after every attack with a special inventor’s pack in order to do the added energy damage again. This is pretty much the only invention that is not superior to its magic item equivalent.


Next time: King Arthur’s tomb, Gulliver’s travels, golden Aztec cities, and vampire cults as we get into the meat of the setting with the first two chapters of the Northern Crown Gazetteer.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 19:15 on Dec 6, 2013

May 7, 2007

Kidney Buddies
Wait wait wait. Let's look at that spell list again. Level 13.

Tacos? What does a taco have to do with this?

Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Domus posted:

Wait wait wait. Let's look at that spell list again. Level 13.

Tacos? What does a taco have to do with this?

I think that was a hasty edit after they changed the text to "Opposite Sexual persuasion" as opposed to "Opposite Sex" from the first edition. In that version "Tacos" was "Amthors", a reference to one of the writer/playtesters Terry Amthor, who was openly gay.

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


Grimey Drawer

Barudak posted:

On the note of lost knowledge; are there any settings where you live in the current Golden Age of the world? So many fantasy settings are backwards facing and I'm not a big fan of it.

Dawnforge was a setting released for 3.x by FFG that works from this premise- it takes the traditional D&D tropes and goes back a few ages, so the Dwarves are still digging out their giant cities, the tribes of man are warring over the mainland, there's an island city of demon summoners, and things are generally being shaped. (Though it cheats a little by still having some ancient ruins way over on a lost continent somewhere.) I've been thinking about its potential as a 4e setting.

Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Dragonlance Campaign Setting Chapter Two, Part Two: Classes & Feats

In this section, we’ll be covering the last four non-organization Prestige Classes and the new feats for the campaign setting.

The Dragon Rider is our first one. In ages long past dragons battled alongside humanoid warriors, bearing them as mounts and fighting in tandem. This tradition entered into recent history during the War of the Lance, on both sides with chromatic and metallic dragons alike.

The Prestige Class has some late level requirements: Base Attack bonus of +10, meaning you’ll have to be a single-classed warrior if you want all ten levels, must have ridden a dragon, and Leadership, Mounted Combat, and Resist Dragonfear feats. The BAB’s the only real steep entry, and like the Knights it sort of requires the player and DM to plan things out together with the “ride a dragon” prerequisite.

In terms of game mechanics this is an awesome class. First you get a dragon mount as a cohort, although there are restrictions: first they must be no older than an adult (such dragons are too arrogant to cooperate with humanoids as mounts), no younger than the young age category (still under the care of their parents and too immature), and not in opposition to the rider’s alignment. Said dragon must also be big enough to hold the rider (one size category larger), and must be treated as an equal as opposed to a dumb beast or minion. In exchange, a dragon gains bonus hit dice, strength, and natural armor as the rider gains levels in the class, and bonus feats. Also, a rider and mount over time can act on the same initiative (this is great!), gain telepathic communication with each other in line, and become immune to flanking attacks when riding as both cover their blind spots. Also, the more powerful dragon types as mounts are available at later levels; at 11th level the only choices are wyvern, and young white, brass, and black dragons, with juvenile and young adult dragons around 18th and 19th level.

I had a PC in one of my games take this, and for a time it seems as though he was on par with the spellcasters. The ability to engage in flight covers a lot of melee fighter’s shortcomings, plus the Tremendous Charge feat (new one I’ll cover later) with a lance really sends one’s damage soaring. There’s also the fact that dragons have minor spellcasting capability, so this is a really great martial PrC all-around.

The Inquisitor is an all-around spy, investigator, and those who are experts at unearthing other people’s secrets. They’re really easy to enter, requiring ranks in 3 investigation-related skills (Sense Motive, Knowledge-Local, and Gather Information), a +3 BAB and a non-chaotic alignment. He’s like a Rogue but without offensive capabilities: the class grants trap sense and uncanny dodge progression, and their first ability is Extreme Focus which allows them to add their ranks in Concentration to a single Intelligence or Wisdom skill check once per day per Inquisitor level (a good one level dip), and he can apply a synergy bonus to a skill of his choice from a Knowledge skill they’re trained in. Their capstone 10th level ability grants a Sherlock Holmes-style Intuitive Logic, which replicates the Divination spell with an 80% chance of success. Honestly this class isn’t worth it aside from Extreme Focus.

The Legendary Tactician is a leader of soldiers par excellence. The class’ iconic example is Laurana the Golden General, a PC from the original adventure path and book series, a Qualinesti elven princess who lead the Knights of Solamnia and other forces of Good against Takhisis’ army in the War of the Lance. The class has really easy pre-requisites: 4 ranks in Diplomacy, +5 Base Attack Bonus, the Leadership feat, and must have been involved in at least major skirmishes (at least ten people on each side), one of which must count as a defeat (why is failure necessary to become legendary?), and a group of at least five soldiers loyal to you. Trivial to earn with Leadership.

In terms of class features the Legendary Tactician grants buffs to his allies, such as inspire courage, rolling twice against fear-based effects, bonuses to Constitution checks on forced marches, and when retreating a morale bonus to Armor Class against attacks of opportunity. Only allies within a certain radius can be affected, usually either 30 feet per class level or just 30 feet for the higher-level abilities. It makes for a cool concept, but the bonuses are too small (usually +1) to matter unless they’re being stacked with a bunch of other bonuses.

The Righteous Zealot is a fanatic to a certain cause, viewing themselves as saviors and hoping to recruit others to the fold and force their will upon the world. The iconic example is the last Kingpriest of Istar, pictured above, a man so consumed with wiping off Evil from the face of Krynn that he only brought about more suffering and misery and the destruction of his empire. The only pre-requisites are ranks in several social skills, with Concentration and Diplomacy being the only ones above 3 ranks (8 required, to be specific).

The class is meant for bards and clerics, but it doesn’t grant any spellcasting progression, limiting its usefulness severely. A Righteous Zealot’s signature ability is Oration, which is sort of like Bardic Music in that it’s a limited-use mind-affecting ability except that it’s based on Diplomacy instead of Perform. New oration abilities can be gained with levels, and include enthralling crowds to listen to you, bestowing the effects of a confusion spell through verbal obfuscation, instilling suggestions in the minds of enthralled people, and other enchantment-based spell effects (although this last one comes in really late, at 10th level). Other class features include bonuses to Leadership, against mind-affecting magic, add their Charisma modifier to a single saving throw, and reroll a single failed roll once per day at 10th level. This class is underpowered as the Orations can only be used once per day per level total, and when they come into play they can be replicated by lower-level spellcasters via spells. If you added a full casting progression then you might have something.

And that’s it for Prestige Classes. Flavor-wise my favorites are the Dragon Rider and the Knights of Solamnia, but when it comes to ones which I’d have the most fun playing they’d be Dragon Rider and Knight of the Thorn.


We don’t have many feats here, 13 to be exact, but the ones we do have a doozy, either ranging from “underpowered and highly situational” to “holy crap pick this one, PICK IT!”

The more ho-hum ones include Cornered Rat (for Gully Dwarves, gain +2 on an attack roll when someone Intimidates you), Honor-Bound (+2 on saves to avoid being forced to break an oath/promise/duty), and Resist Dragonfear (normal and Improved grant a stacking +4 bonus each on saves against a dragon’s Frightful Presence), and Spectacular Death Throes (for draconians, your death throes are more dangerous than normal, bad because it will never come into play until you die).

The rest of the feats are nifty and cool.

Draconian Breath Weapon (and Improved), which grants you a 3d8/6d8 damaging line or cone attack of your draconic ancestor’s energy type.

Hulking Brute can be taken by Half-Ogres and Minotaurs, and you’re treated as Large when it’s advantageous for opposed rolls.

Flyby Breath and Strafing Breath are for dragons, allowing them to use their breath weapon as a free action if they do nothing but move on their turn for the former, and the latter extending the area with increased mobility (covering their area up to half their fly speed in the latter one).

Spear of Doom is a Fighter bonus feat which allows you to deal charge damage with a spearlike weapon if you ready against a charging opponent, while Tremendous Charge allows you to substitute your mount’s Strength bonus for damage instead of your own when making a mounted charge. Both have easy to meet pre-requisites, potentially at 1st-level! This last one is great when combined with a true dragon mount.

And our final feat, lest we forget, is a treat for spellcasters. Reserves of Strength allows a spellcaster to increase their Caster Level on a spell by 1-3 in exchange for being stunned for a like number of rounds as they draw upon their own force of will. These increased caster levels can extend beyond normal maximums, meaning that a 9th-level Wizard casting a Fireball spell can deal up to 12d6 damage. Naturally this has led to all sorts of min-maxing shenanigans. And if you’re somehow immune to being stunned you take damage instead.

Thoughts so far: I enjoy the feats overall, as most of them are quite effective choices. I can’t say the same thing for the last 4 Prestige Classes, however. Only the Dragon Rider is not underpowered, and it’s the most interesting choice thematically for a Dragonlance campaign.

Next time, Chapter Three: Magic!

Transient People
Dec 22, 2011

"When a man thinketh on anything whatsoever, his next thought after is not altogether so casual as it seems to be. Not every thought to every thought succeeds indifferently."
- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
Those minmaxing shenanigans Libertad! refers to are not immediately obvious, but well worth discussing. See, due to the wording on it, Reserves of Strength didn't really make sense purely as a way to push the cap (like the equivalent psionic feat, Overchannel does). There were two readings of it, and arguably the stronger one was more valid from the text: One of them merely allowed you to add a few dice to the roll. The other one?

The other one did that, and also removed the caster level cap, entirely. Considering that cap is normally what really hobbles blaster mages, this is kind of a big deal, especially when considering a certain spell in this book...but we're getting ahead of ourselves here. I'll mention that combo when we get there.

Dec 30, 2009


When you cast a spell, you can decide to increase your caster level with that spell by 1, 2, or 3, but you are stunned for an equal number of rounds immediately after doing so. Your increased caster level affects all level-based variables of the spell, including range, area of effect, spell penetration, and the difficulty of dispelling the spell. You can exceed the normal level-fixed limits of a spell with this feat, so a 9th-level wizard could use Reserves of Strength to cast a fireball as a 12th-level wizard and deal 12d6 fire damage.
If you are not subject to stunning effects, you instead suffer 1d6, 3d6, or 5d6 points of damage when you call upon your Reserves of Strength feat.
(Bolding mine.)
That stronger reading was especially useful when you could find all sorts of ways to jack up a caster level. Three of the biggest ones (from what I recall) were (Greater) Consumptive Field, Cosmic Connection, and Node Genesis.

Of course all this goes to show that technical writing is a vastly underappreciated skill in the TRPG industry. :v:

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

NGDBSS posted:

Of course all this goes to show that technical writing is a vastly underappreciated skill in the TRPG industry. :v:

Considering a good chunk of most books are technical manuals, absolutely.

Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?

Majuju posted:

These are in contrast to the Brawl Feats: Brawl increases your unarmed nonlethal damage, Improved Brawl beefs it up further, Knockout Punch makes your nonlethal unarmed attacks into automatic critical hits, and Improved Knockout Punch makes those crits deal triple damage. Note that Knockout Punches only work against flat-footed opponents, and only on your first attack against them, so the feat might as well be called Sucker Punch. There’s also Streetfighting and Improved Feint which let you wrassle a little better.

Brawl Feats are fun but are kind of underpowered in my opinion until Knockout Punch and Improved Knockout Punch thanks to the way nonlethal works in Modern. I have no good transition from that so on with


Today's episode is brought to you by Copy+Paste.

The Basics

Classes are how you grow in power in Dungeons: the Dragoning. How they work is pretty simple.

See? Simple. For those confused by all of that (or those who can't see that), Classes determine your Level and what you're allowed to increase with XP. Your Level is equal to the highest Level out of all of your classes. In order to enter a Class you need to have all of the prerequisites and be no lower than 1 Level lower that the Class. In order to finish a class you need to buy all of the mandatory Feats. Some Feats are optional and can be skipped and some Feats are actually a choice between 2 Feats. So long as you're in a Class, you can only buy Characteristics, Skills, Feats, Gun Kata, Magic Schools, and Sword Schools tied to that Class.

Something the chart doesn't talk about is Free Study and Completion bonuses. Free Study is when you're in-between Classes and so long as you're in Free Study you can purchase anything that your completed Classes would've allowed you to. Completion Bonuses are what you get for completing a Class and range from anything from a boost to HP free dots on Skills. Classes are also split up according to Track. A Track is an expected path for you to follow as you work your way up to the Level Cap of 5. There are also Base Classes which have no Track, are all Level 1, and have no prerequisites. There are also a ton of Classes. Just look.

I'll only go through the Base Classes individually while the rest will be touched on as whole Tracks.

Base Classes

Base Classes are there mostly as easy ways to broaden your character but also help make sure that even if you're an idiot that didn't plan ahead during Character Creation you still have options.

Ratcatcher is the "almost a thief" Class and is a reference to the "best" Career in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay which was widely beloved for having a "small but vicious dog" listed among its starting equipment. Its Feats are pretty basic survival Feats like Light Sleeper and Common Sense but it also has Obtain Familiar so that you can get your own small but vicious dog.
Characteristics: Dexterity, Composure, Wisdom
Skills: Crafts, Animal Ken, Common Lore, Perception, Larceny, Stealth, Deceive, Performer, Disguise
Completion Bonus: +2 HP

Scholar is the "almost a wizard" Class and gets nerd Feats like Eidetic Memory and Expanded Knowledge but no actual spellcasting.
Characteristics: Intelligence, Willpower, Wisdom
Skills: Arcana, Academic Lore, Common Lore, Forbidden Lore, Politics, Tech-Use
Completion Bonus: 1 Specialty in any Skill

Initiate is the "almost a priest" Class and gets Feats that let them perform minor healing miracles as well as Minor Magic which gives them a 1 time +1 to their ranks in any 1 magic school they want so long as it was at 0.
Characteristics: Wisdom, Fellowship, Intelligence
Skills: Academic Lore, Forbidden Lore, Medicae, Crafts
Completion Bonus: 1 Specialty in any Skill

Mercenary is the "almost a warrior" Class and gets Feats that give proficiency in simple stuff.
Characteristics: Strength, Constitution, Wisdom
Skills: Command, Scrutiny, Common Lore, Athletics, Ballistic, Weaponry, Perception, Brawl
Completion Bonus: +2 HP

Peasant is the "nobody" Class and gets absurdly few Feats and pretty much exists just to make boosting Characteristics easier during Free Study.
Characteristics: All
Skills: Crafts, Common Lore, Animal Ken, Scrutiny, Performer
Completion Bonus: Nothing!

Class Tracks

Tracks are Class paths you can take to Level 5. You aren't obligated to follow them to the end or even start at the beginning of them, but it is easier to do that. Each Track has a core set of Skills that act as prerequisites for the next Class in the Track with the required number of dots growing each time. Some Tracks also have Characteristics at certain ratings as prerequisites and some start requiring ranks in Magic Schools after the first Class. All of them start requiring Feats from the previous classes after the first but I won't be covering that. The Completion Bonus applies to every time you complete a class and stacks with other Completion Bonuses.

Assassin is a very combat heavy stealth focused Track with Feats like Back Stab and Quick Draw as well as Feat choices between melee options like Furious Assault and ranged options like Far Shot. This Track consists of Sell-Steel, Nighthawk, Assassin, Freeblade, and Nihilator.
Prerequisites: Stealth, Weaponry OR Ballistics
Characteristics: Dexterity, Intelligence, Fellowship
Skills: Perception, Common Lore, Acrobatics, Ballistic, Larceny, Stealth, Weaponry, Scrutiny, Persuasion, Charm, Deceive, Athletics, Pilot, Disguise, Brawl
Sword Schools: Shadow Hand, Setting Sun
Completion Bonus: +1 to Initiative rolls

Barbarian is a burly melee Track with Feats that provide lots of melee options and frenzying capabilities. This Track consists of Feral, Savage, Rager, Barbarian, and Berserker.
Prerequisites: Weaponry, Athletics
Characteristics: Strength, Charisma, Constitution
Skills: Crafts, Athletics, Drive, Weaponry, Intimidation, Animal Ken, Brawl, Acrobatics
Sword Schools: Stone Dragon, Tiger Claw, Desert Wind
Completion Bonus: +1 to melee damage

Bard is a socially focused Track with some jack-of-all-trades capabilities. It has Feats that grant it general social competence and proficiency in light armor and Fencing weapons. Most of its Classes grant Peer in any organization of your choice as well as Skill Focus in any Skill of your choice and all of them grant Speak Language in a language of you choice. Bard is also the only Track that directly grants both Sword Schools and Magic Schools. This Track consists of Minstrel, Bard, Skald, Swashbuckler, and Master Bard.
Prerequisites: Charisma, Common Lore, Performer (Enchantment or Illusion after the first Class)
Characteristics: Charisma, Fellowship, Dexterity
Skills: Academic Lore, Common Lore, Medicae, Politics, Arcana, Acrobatics, Larceny, Performer, Persuasion, Charm, Deceive, Disguise, Tech-Use, Scrutiny, Command
Magic Schools: Enchantment, Illusion
Sword Schools: White Raven, Diamond Mind
Completion Bonus: +1 dot to a skill with a rank lower than your Level

Cleric is a "divine caster" Track with an emphasis on support casting and fighting opponents of opposing faith. Most of its Feats either make you tougher, train you in armor, improve you spellcasting, or make you really religious. This Track consists of Priest, Preacher, Cleric, Zealot, and Bishop.
Prerequisites: Academic Lore, Forbidden Lore (Healing or Abjuration after the first Class)
Characteristics: Willpower, Wisdom, Composure
Skills: Medicae, Academic Lore, Forbidden Lore, Arcana, Weaponry, Intimidation, Persuasion, Command
Magic Schools: Abjuration, Divination, Healing, Necromancy, Transmutation
Completion Bonus: +1 HP

Fighter is a heavily armed and armored melee Track with Feats that emphasize melee combat and is one of the few ways to gain proficiency in Extreme armor. This Track consists of Swordsman, Myrmidon, Fight Guy, Fighter, and Master Fight Guy.
Prerequisites: Weaponry, Athletics
Characteristics: Strength, Constitution, Intelligence
Skills: Crafts, Athletics, Brawl, Drive, Ballistic, Weaponry, Intimidation, Perception, Command
Sword Schools: Iron Heart, White Raven
Completion Bonus: +1 to all Melee attack tests

Guardsmen is the ranged counterpart to the Fighter complete with multiple purchases of Sound Constitution and eventual proficiency in every armor type. This Track consists of Conscript, Guardsman, Sergeant, Grenadier, and Stormtrooper.
Prerequisites: Ballistics, Athletics
Characteristics: Strength, Dexterity, Willpower
Skills: Perception, Athletics, Drive, Ballistic, Weaponry, Command, Pilot
Sword Schools: Iron Heart
Completion Bonus: +1 to all Ranged attack tests

Magic User is the "arcane caster" Track and almost every single Feat it has improves spellcasting in some way. Most of its Classes provide Spell Book which gives you extra spells known as well as Tradition Feats which give you unique benefits when casting spells of certain schools. They also provide the option of taking Tested, which makes you a licensed spellcaster and reduces chances for Psychic Phenomena, but weakens your ability to Push your casting (basically getting extra dice in exchange for nastier Psychic Phenomena), but no Class requires you to take Tested. This Track consists of Apprentice, Aspirant, Magic User, Sorcerer, and Master Sorcerer.
Prerequisites: Academic Lore, Arcana (Multiple Magic Schools after the first Class)
Characteristics: Intelligence, Charisma, Willpower
Skills: Arcana, Academic Lore, Common Lore, Forbidden Lore, Scrutiny, Deceive
Magic Schools: Abjuration, Evocation, Illusion, Conjuration, Divination, Necromancy
Completion Bonus: +1 to all Focus Power tests

Paladin is the warrior counterpart to the Cleric. It sacrifices spellcasting for Sword Schools as well as some better melee Feats. It also gets some unique Feats like Divine Bond which grant it a summoned mount and Death Before Defeat which lets you spend a Hero Point instead of burning a Hero point to shrug off an attack that would otherwise kill or maim you. This means you're regularly shrugging off limb severing and rib shattering blows through sheer refusal to give up! :black101: This Track consists of Gallant, Protector, Defender, Paladin, and Chevalier.
Prerequisites: Weaponry, Forbidden Lore
Characteristics: Willpower, Wisdom, Constitution
Skills: Medicae, Academic Lore, Forbidden Lore, Arcana, Weaponry, Intimidation, Persuasion, Command
Sword Schools: White Raven, Devoted Spirit, Stone Dragon
Completion Bonus: +1 AP while wearing armor

Rogue is the Assassin's more evasively minded brother. It's nearly identical to the Assassin Track with the main difference being Feat choices geared more towards defense than attack and even then there's enough overlap that switching between the 2 Tracks is very easy. This Track consists of Outcast, Outlaw, Renegade, Rogue, and Stubjack.
Prerequisites: Larceny, Stealth
Characteristics: Perception, Common Lore, Acrobatics, Ballistic, Larceny, Stealth, Weaponry, Scrutiny, Persuasion, Charm, Deceive, Pilot, Disguise, Tech-Use
Skills: Perception, Common Lore, Acrobatics, Ballistic, Larceny, Stealth, Weaponry, Scrutiny, Persuasion, Charm, Deceive, Pilot, Disguise, Tech-Use
Sword Schools: Shadow Hand, Diamond Mind
Completion Bonus: +1 to Static Defense

And that's the Classes. The inability to buy Characteristics and Skills as you please (there isn't even an option to buy them at a premium) is something of a weak point in the system in my opinion but I'm biased towards point-buy these days so take that with a grain of salt. If you guys have any questions, ask away. And please tell me if you want me to stick with this write-up for now or switch back to Naruto d20 (I'll finish both eventually).

Next time: Featsfeatsfeatsfeatsassets

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 14:50 on Nov 28, 2013

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011

AccidentalHipster posted:

Master Fight Guy - One of the best, most masterful guys at fight.

I love this game. :allears:

Nov 8, 2011

It is an interesting setup but it did annoy me to realize that the Barbarian track is the only one that gives access to Tiger Claw as well as the only one for Desert Wind.

Apr 21, 2010

I'll have you know, foxes have the finest call in nature


Syndrome Dossier, part E


Hanuman! These guys can go fast. Like, really fast. The Syndrome takes its name from the monkey hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana. This predates Sun Wukong, by the way. This one has some very interesting powers.

The Hanuman has the powers you'd expect from a "speedster" Syndrome. Ease of movement, dashing attacks, and fast attacks are a given, as well as avoiding attacks by moving out of the way and leaving a lasting after-image.

But Hanuman is more interesting, because these Overeds are also adept at manipulating vibrations. This means they can shoot shockwaves, balls of vibrating air that ignores armour, and slice the air in half for a ranged slash attack. They can also make their weapons and bullets vibrate so fast they pierce armour and deal more damage.

Having control over the way air vibrates means having control of sound. Hanuman are the best Overeds at hearing, and they can pull the old "scream so hard the glass (and the other guy's cranium) shatters" trick. More interestingly, however, Hanuman can modulate their voice to cause specific effects. They can encourage their allies with a voice so pitch-perfect the allies get objectively encouraged. They can scold their enemies so hard their brains vibrate and their actual nervous functions go haywire. Among other neat tricks with voice. Yes, DX's bard-type character is the Flash. I like to think these powers make the Overed sound like acapella metal, complete with backing vocals, of course.

Pure-Breed powers are taking your action while everyone is still rolling initiative, literally, and being so fast the other guy can't even attempt to dodge your attacks. Other remarkable Hanuman powers are using sonar to enhance perception, and Battle Beat: you create a persistent rhythm and you fight better if you follow the rhythm. Ladies and gentlemen, a power that turns battles into dance-offs!

Simple Powers. You can project your voice and be the best ventriloquist in the neighbourhood, and you can project your hearing if you're really into hearing pins fall from far away. Disguising your voice to sound like someone else's is a given. There's also a power that creates an area of silence around you so you can have your private conversations in public, and one that grows a bubble of oxygen-rich air around. Inside, people are healthier and concentrate better, or you can do it underwater to breathe. Qinggong is a cool power that lets you run so fast you can run up walls and over water.

And then we have Air Instrument, competing solidly for best power in the game. Direct quote time:


Playback any speech or song by utilising the atmosphere as various instruments and speakers. As long as the User clearly remembers a song or conversation, he can perfectly recreate it.
Double Cross: the game that lets you play a superhero whose superpower is air guitar.


Morpheus is power over stuff. Matter is clay to the Morpheus Overed, and "law of conservation of mass" is for chumps. You'd think conjuring a giant sword out of thin air would leave a giant-sword-shaped hole somewhere in the universe, but that's not the case. Butcher physics as much as you want with this Syndrome! The name comes from the god of dreams.

Morpheus has a variety of powers associated with weapon manipulation. Change its shape to make it heavier or more penetrating, make it grow twice its size, make your sword become 14 blades that attack at once, cover it in crystal... and, of course, create things out of nothing. You can produce melee weapons, guns, shields, armour... you name it. Imagine that scene in The Matrix where Neo opens the trenchcoat and reveals the guns, but if Neo was naked. That's a Morpheus.

Messing willy-nilly with matter leaves a byproduct, some kind of weird sand. There's an entire class of Morpheus powers that manipulate this sand directly, for offensive and defensive purposes. A Morpheus is also so good with material stuff they can "listen to" inanimate objects. Make a forensics investigation by checking out what the walls have to say about the crime, let a violin tell you how it likes to be played and a car how it likes to be driven.

Vehicle Morph creates an instant vehicle for you to use. Available are cars, bikes, boats, helicopters and of course, a giant robot. On 100% ER, the Morpheus can do Material Synthesis, which combines two weapons into one for the scene: finally, you can make your gunblade! Or your shotgunaxe! A sniperstaff! A slingmaingauche! A gungun! Okay, I'm done.

The Morpheus has figured out what people have been trying to do for thousands of years. Gold Alchemy is literally turning anything into gold (it increases your starting Stock points). Soul Alchemy, available at 120% ER, is one of the many "instantly revive" powers, but...


The User can create his own soul through alchemy with this power.
Morpheus :stare:

For Simple Powers, the enterprising Morpheus can change an object's appearance without changing its function, so you can have something like a window-in-a-jar or a candy wrapper that's a TV. They can perfectly understand the structure and components of something, including chemicals, and make perfect forgeries of anything. They can create household appliances from objects at hand, aka the MacGyver power (need a dishwasher? Thank god you have that paperclip and bubblegum at hand). The Morpheus can walk through walls. As mentioned some updates back, they can fold anything flat. Anything. Take the city park in your pocket as an origami (and force people to make Perception checks to notice: "I'm sure there was a park around here..."). Lastly, you can cook like a boss. No, actually, that's not true. You can cook like you always could, but don't need trivial things such as "ingredients" or "a stove". But if your meatballs are crap they'll still be crap, even with superpowers.

Next time, on Syndrome Dossier: the nerd and the hippie! Neumann and Orcus!

...a flailassaultrifle! A grenadewhip! A machetebrassknuckle! A...

Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?

LornMarkus posted:

It is an interesting setup but it did annoy me to realize that the Barbarian track is the only one that gives access to Tiger Claw as well as the only one for Desert Wind.

I'm more annoyed by the Characteristic and Skill limitations but yeah, that's the problem with semi-class based games. Dungeons: the Dragoning is better about this than most games because of how easy it is to just take the first Class of a Track and then move on to another Track. For example, you could make a Fighter that uses Tiger Claw by just picking up Feral and then buying Ranks in your Sword School during Free Study and you'd only "set yourself back" about 300 XP which is less than a session's worth. It's still an inconvenience and is my personal biggest beef with the system.

Jun 5, 2011

I mean, if you're a successful actress and you go out of the house in a skirt and without underwear, knowing that paparazzi are just waiting for opportunities like this and that it has happened many times before, then there's really nobody you can blame for it but yourself.
Double Cross just gets more amazing with every update.


Having control over the way air vibrates means having control of sound. Hanuman are the best Overeds at hearing, and they can pull the old "scream so hard the glass (and the other guy's cranium) shatters" trick. More interestingly, however, Hanuman can modulate their voice to cause specific effects. They can encourage their allies with a voice so pitch-perfect the allies get objectively encouraged. They can scold their enemies so hard their brains vibrate and their actual nervous functions go haywire. Among other neat tricks with voice. Yes, DX's bard-type character is the Flash. I like to think these powers make the Overed sound like acapella metal, complete with backing vocals, of course.
I think it makes them sound like Bene Gesserit.

Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?

Cardiovorax posted:

Double Cross just gets more amazing with every update.

We haven't even gotten to how you would play Foo Fighters.

Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Dragonlance Campaign Setting Chapter Three: Magic of Krynn

This chapter covers the different kinds of magic of Dragonlance. While there are some game mechanics in the forms of new spells, domains, and magic items, a significant amount is dedicated to the histories, origins, organizations, and practitioners of the various arts in the setting. I find it to be a nice touch for a D20 product, as a lot of settings either put the mechanics and setting in separate areas or just try to sell you the mechanics ("6 new races, and new cleric domains!") without giving the context of how it fits into the overall world. Despite its age I believe that more books should follow in its footsteps.

Arcane Magic

The purview of wizards and primal sorcerers, this form of magic involves the direct manipulation of creation. It has great destructive potential, so much so that the deities created the Curse of the Magi to limit its strength in the hands of mortals. Basically this is explicitly the "fire and forget" method of Vancian casting. Instead of permanently learning a spell and casting if forevermore, a spell leaves the wizard's mind upon casting, requiring hours of rest and restudying to learn it again. Sorcerers can sort of get around this limitation in that they intuitively "know" their spells, but even then it's physically taxing and they too must rest when they run out of spells per day.

High Sorcery

The art of wizardry, high sorcery is arcane magic channeled through the three moons of magic. The Orders of High Sorcery was created by the deities Solinari, Lunitari, and Nuitari, bound by three rules: "1: All wizards are brothers and sisters in their order. All orders are brothers and sisters in their power. 2: The places of High Sorcery are held in common among all orders and no sorcery is to be used in anger there against fellow wizards. 3: The world beyond the walls of the towers may bring brother against sister and order against order, but such is the way of the universe." These rules were implemented to discourage infighting among the orders, and to have the Towers as a "safe space" of sorts. The Towers were forged long ago in places believed to contain the greatest concentration of magical energy. As the wizards built their towers they attracted nearby communities, and from there grew some of the oldest and greatest cities of Ansalon: Daltigoth, Palanthas, and Istar. Each tower had a magically enchanted grove around it as a first line of defense, and each tower's master was taught a special secret spell which would allow a target to pass through unheeded. For example, the grove of Istar caused short-term memory loss of its boundaries, the grove of Daltigoth caused intruders to fall into a deep slumber, etc.

Only the towers of Wayreth and Goodlund were built in places of relative isolation. During the last years of Istar the Kingpriest led a crusade against the Orders, resulting in the destruction of all but Wayreth. Raistlin, one of the Heroes of the Lance, temporarily reclaimed the Tower of Palanthas.

During the early Fifth Age, when Takhisis stole the world, wizards lost their powers as the moons no longer hung in the sky and the Order disbanded. Many wizards during this time either turned to primal sorcery, gave up the practice entirely, and in some cases were murdered by enemies taking advantage of this. The Order was reformed when the deities returned, but these losses made them much less centralized.

As wizards draw their magic from the Moons, ones with the Wizard of High Sorcery PrC have their magical power fluctuate with their patron moon. Basically the fuller the moon the better, and the less full the less powerful. During the waxing and waning periods around the quarter moon (half-full) they have normal caster level, but during High Sanction (waxing and waning gibbous and full) they cast at +1 Caster Level and +1 to Save DCs of their spells. Reverse for Low Sanction (waxing and waning crescent and new moon). However, the exception is when at least two moons' phases are in conjunction, and this stacks with existing bonues (penalties for low sanction moons don't apply in this case), so Solinari and Lunitari full moons grant +2 Caster Level and Save DC to White and Red Robes. The effects are even more powerful when three moons are aligned, which applies a +2 bonus instead during Low Sanction and +3 during High Sanction (this event is known as the Night of the Eye and occurs only once every 504 days).

As you can tell by the chart, Nuitari goes through its phases the fastest, Solinari the slowest. This can be a complicated book-keeping method, and our group never bothered with it. They do present an alternative for rolling a d20 to determine moon positions each time it matters, where the moon phase matches up with the number on the chart.

Primal Sorcery

Known as "wild magic," primal sorcery is the oldest form of magic on Krynn and is more difficult to harness. Instead of using the Moons of Magic as a conduit, the caster draws directly from the creative foundations of the world to power their spells.

Every dragon can use it, due to their close connection to the world. Non-dragons who rediscovered it after the Chaos War had to learn an entirely new form of magic with no lineage of learned practitioners, unlike wizardry. Palin Majere, cousin to Raistlin Majere, gathered a bunch of sorcerers to form an Academy of Sorcery in the town of Solace, but it was short-lived when the forces of the Dragon Overlord Beryllinthranox razed it to the ground. Before its destruction classes were less formal, more based upon peer review and "learning as you go" than teachers and study. Most sorcerers today remain isolated and in hiding, with the Knights of the Thorn remaining the only real centralized organization for them.

Sorcerers are seen as a threat by the gods of Magic and the orders of High Sorcery, who treat them as renegades if they don't join the Orders and obtain sufficient magic power. Although it hasn't happened yet, a primal sorcerer can take the Test and join one of the Orders (although only Wizards can gain levels in the Wizard of High Sorcery Prestige Class).

Divine Magic

Okay, so what makes Divine Magic different than wizardry? Well for one, a cleric draws their power from their faith in a deity and receive spells for their dedication. Wizards just use the Moons as a conduit, although official members of the Orders are required to pay respects to the deity aligned with their favored moon. Mysticism draws from a person's inner self, and from the surrounding life on Krynn.

An Abridged History of Krynn's religions

We get a brief overlay of Ansalon's religious history, from one extreme to the other. During the height of the Empire of Istar worship of Paladine and the Gods of Good were central, but after the Cataclysm belief in the true Gods waned in favor and eventually forgotten as the pantheon cut off ties from Krynn. The deities were absent except for Solinari, Lunitari, and Nuitari, leaving wizards the only people capable of casting spells; many disreputable mages used magic to mimic the "power of the gods," forming their own false religions and cults. Combined with the lingering memories of the Kingpriest's crusades, this caused many people to distrust and hate them (and the Orders were instrumental in breaking up such cults for this very reason).

Takhisis was the first deity to come back to Krynn, using the Foundation Stone in the destroyed Temple of Istar as a conduit and transporting the structure to the mainline shore. From there she attracted all manner of followers who were rewarded with loyalty and divine magic. Her followers set about conquering much of Ansalon in the newly-formed Dragon Empire; it wasn't until the Heroes of the Lance in the original adventures and Chronicles brought back knowledge of the Gods of Good and the secrets of the Dragonlances that her forces were repulsed and knowledge of the Gods of Good and Neutrality were brought back to Krynn.

Unfortunately this wasn't to last, as Takhisis managed to steal the world away after the Chaos War, making her the only deity in connection with Krynn. Even the moons of magic were gone, resulting in a world without any form of magic for decades (Takhisis was too weak after this to grant prayers). During this time mysticism (along with primal sorcery) was discovered, when Goldmoon (another Hero of the Lance) was able to call upon "miracles" again through the power of her inner self. Once Takhisis regained her power she picked a champion, a young girl named Mina, to spread word of the One God, supposedly a God who was always with Krynn and did not abandon them. Resentful of the deities leaving again and so soon, Mina's forces once again became prominent in Ansalon (albeit believing to worship a different, and new God), and helped kill off two Dragon Overlords.

Once the gods returned to Krynn Takhisis was punished with mortality and killed. Now that mortals no longer have to rely upon the Gods for magic, many people are considering forging their own path with sorcery and mysticism instead. Even those without the magical talent are resentful and distrustful of the Gods, feeling that they cannot be relied upon to be there during the worst of times. The pantheon of Krynn and its faithful need to work hard to regain the mortals' trust once again in this new age. Time will tell how the opposing forces react.

Holy Order of the Stars

The pantheon of the true gods (excepting the gods of magic), along with their cleric, druid, and ranger worshipers, are known as the Holy Order of the Stars (including the evil deities). The deities are grouped into three separate groups based upon moral alignment, and although they cooperate at times, each of them have their own overviews and portfolios. The Gods of Light seek the overall welfare of Krynn, while the Gods of Darkness seek to dominate and control Krynn and its people, while the Gods of Balance attempt to maintain equilibrium in the world, viewing the Gods of Light as idealistic and impractical while the Gods of Darkness are treacherous and untrustworthy. They tend to fight on the side of the underdogs when one group becomes too powerful (for example, they aligned against Takhisis' Dragon Empire during the War of the Lance).

People seeking to become clerics (or druids) must find within themselves a deep, abiding faith with one of the gods. They must then find a priest in good standing with that deity and prove their worth. The tests usually differ: for example, Mishakal might require one to look after the poor, sick, and old, while Sargonnas might require an applicant to take revenge against their hated enemy. If they are deemed worthy, a cleric creates a Medallion of Faith as proof of the new clerics' pact with the deity. They must live by the deity's tenets or risk falling out of favor. A first major violation is visited with a warning of 1d4 negative levels which can only be removed by making up for the transgression, while further violations cause them to lose their spells.


Mysticism is a form of divine magic which draws upon the life of Krynn itself, strengthened by an individual's heart and soul. Given that it relies upon faith in oneself, one cannot be a cleric and mystic at the same time. Being a cleric requires absolute faith in a deity, although mystics can worship a deity (they just can't gain spells from them). Unlike the relation between sorcerers and wizards, the one between clerics and mystics isn't as hostile, at least on the surface. Mysticism requires a strong sense of will to fully manifest, and as such it tends to be more easily accessible than primal sorcery.

The primary centers of learning for mysticism are the Citadel of Light on the Island of Schallsea, once headed by Goldmoon, and the Knights of the Skull. For the former, mystics are trained to see if any one domain is best suited for them, and once they find their one they must ascend the Silver Stair at the end of a hedge maze to confront their fears, which manifest along the journey. If they fail they can no longer advance further in rank (although I don't know if this means an actual leveling in magic power or just an advancement in the organization). The Silver Stair's a magical place believed in ancient times to have once ascended to the planar homes of the Gods:

Other than that there's not much more on mysticism, although it has the least connection to the Gods: high sorcery and clerical spells are direct conduits, while the energies of primal sorcery were made from the magic used to create Krynn and enhanced by the essence of the god Chaos. But some argue that since life was created by the gods, mystics drawing upon life are therefore indirectly drawing upon their power.

The reasoning for their grouping in pairs (high and primal sorcery, clerical magic and mysticism) is that the effects are related. What can affect high sorcery effects primal sorcery as well, and many of their spells are virtually identical. The degrees of sameness are debated by magical scholars, but for the most part these principles overall hold true.

New Cleric Domains

Now we get to the crunch! In addition to a list of what existing cleric domains apply to which deities (magic isn't available, neither is Sun for non-mystics), we get some new ones! Mystics are have their own unique domains no present among the Gods, giving them a slight edge in variety to make up for their one less domain.

Alteration is a mystic domain which grants +1 Caster Level to transmutation spells, and grants such spells (enlarge person, gaseous form, polymorph, etc) in its domain.

Community focuses on the welfare of others, granting Calm Emotions and a bonus on Diplomacy checks and related spells (heroes' feast, telepathic bond) as domain spells.

Forge domain is all about creation, granting a bonus on craft checks and related spells (minor creation, wall of iron) as domain spells.

Insight grants uncanny dodge, and its domain spells include things like true strike, locate object, commune and the like.

Liberation grants a bonus on saves against fear-effecting spells and its domain spells involve the removal of negative conditions (freedom of movement, break enchantment, etc).

Meditation allows a caster to Empower a single spell once per day as per the metamagic feat but no increase in spell level, and its domain spells are self-improvementish (tongues, spell turning, mind blank, etc).

Mentalism is another mystic-only domain, focused on the powers of the MIND! You get a bonus on social skill checks, and mind-affecting domain spells (detect thoughts, greater command, dominate monster, etc).

Necromancy is mystic-only and grants them the ability to rebuke and command undead. It has death-related domain spells (animate dead, death knell, etc).

Passion allows one to act as if under a rage spell once per day, and its domain spells involve emotions (crushing despair, greater heroism, irresistable dance).

Pestilence makes you immune to all diseases, but you still act as a vector. Your domain spells involve summoning creatures of filth and inflicting debilitating conditions on your enemies (otyugh swarm, contagion, etc).

Restoration is sort of a Healing domain knock-off, even containing the same +1 caster level effect. Difference is that it's mystic-only and grants both Restoration spells and all the bring the dead back to life ones.

Storm is a cool domain, in that its spells are all weather-related (gust of wind, sleet storm, control weather), making for an effective battlefield controller build for a cleric. It's graned power of Electricity Resistance 5 is lackluster, though.

Sun domain is unaltered except that it just grants normal undead turning and is mystic-only.

Treachery domain's unique feature is that you effectively gain the sneak attack of a rogue once per day on a flat-footed melee attack. It's domain spells draw from multiple sources and are entrapment and deception based (glibness, magic jar, undetectable alignment as a 1st-level spell!).

Overall I most enjoyed the Storm and Forge domains, as they're very versatile and broad enough in focus that I can see them being used in other settings with little trouble. Necromancy and Restoration feel kind of superfluous, with the existence of Death and Healing already. Necromancy in particular feels that its only inclusion is to grant turning for the Mystic class and draws upon much of the same domain spells.

New Spells

There are 26 spells in total, drawn upon unique effects demonstrated by the heroes and villains of the book series. Most of them can be cast by anyone, but a rare few are only available to a limited number of spellcasters (such as Magius' Light of Truth, which is only taught to White Robe Wizards). For sheer volume I won't cover them all, instead focusing on some of the more interesting ones.

Bestow Greater Curse is a 6th-8th level spell variant of the normal kind, except its effects are permanent and greater in magnitude (reduce an ability score to 1, -8 penalty on rolls, etc). Additionally, the caster must specify a deed for the target to complete in order to remove its effects (must be something which the target can accomplish within one year). Overall a powerful debuff spell, but it requires touch range.

Deep Freeze is a 7th-level sorcerer/wizard spell which deals a small amount of subdual cold damage (6d6) per round, but unconscious opponents are frozen in a block of ice for one year per level and can only be freed by limited wish and greater magic. Bad damage, but a powerful save or suck spell to unleash at the right time.

Divine Retribution is a 9th-level cleric spell where the caster specifies an energy type. Any harmful effect of that type (breath weapon, spell, etc) dealt to her is converted to holy/unholy damage and reflected back upon the attacker. Its most famous use was when Mina, cleric of Takhisis, goaded Khellendros the blue Dragon Overlord into fighting her, using the spell to kill him with his own breath weapon. A good buff in the right place, but I feel that it's too high in level.

Earthen Shield is a 3rd level sorcerer/wizard spell which creates a small localized wall of earth from the ground 1 foot thick and 5 feet long in caster level, and can only be a maximum of 10 feet tall. It's really tough, with 100 hit points per foot of thickness and a Break DC of 15 + 5 per foot of thickness. Very useful battlefield control spell at an affordable level, as it lasts one minute per level.

Fistandantalus' Portal is an 8th-level sorcerer/wizard spell which opens a portal between two points in the same plane, 5 to 20 feet in diameter. It is subject to the limitations of the teleportation spell, in that the caster must have a good memory of the places in order to minimize mishaps. Considering that Greater Teleport accomplishes much of the same thing minus mishaps, it's rather underpowered for its level. The fact that it costs 500 experience points and 1,000 steel pieces in material components makes it a bad choice all around for spells.

Magius' Light of Truth is a 9th level sorcerer/wizard spell with the Lawful Descriptor. It was invented by Magius, one of the first wizards of high sorcery, and used by Palin Majere to fight the minions of Chaos in the Chaos War. It creates a cone of pure light which damages nonlawful creatures, banishes chaotic outsiders to their home plane, and can daze, stun, paralyze, and even kill chaotic creatures on a failed save. It requires an intelligent magic item of lawful alignment as a focus. This would be a cool spell were it not for its 500 experience point cost.

There's 3 new unique spells unique to the Pestilence domain. Looks like Morgion's faithful get a lot of fun!

Otyugh Swarm is a 9th level cleric spell which summons 3-12 normal otyughs to serve the caster for a year, or 1-3 advanced otyughs for one week. The spell requires 1,000 steel pieces worth of ruby dust per casting, and given that otyughs are mostly melee monsters of low CR, this spell is underpowered.

Plague of Rats is a 5th-level spell which summons 12 rat swarms for one minute per level. Given that rat swarms are automatic damage to people in their squares, this could be a good spell, but the rats are stationary and cannot move. I figure that this is for the best, as keeping track of 12 separate monsters can be tough on the DM.

Scourge is a 7th-level spell which sends a debilitating disease to one creature per level upon casting. It deals 1d3 strength and dexterity damage per day, and can only be cured magically. Not good in immediate combat, and the spell doesn't specify the methods of transference (is it airborne, spread only by touch, by bodily fluids?). Would be good for a "stop the plague" quest of an evil cleric, but we don't know if it's good even for that.

Share Animal's Mind is a 3rd level Cleric/Druid spell which allows the caster to forge a telepathic link with an animal for 1 minute per level and control them to a limited extent (can do anything the animal can physically do, but suicidal stuff forces a Will save on the animal's part). The caster is limited to a single move action for the duration of the spell, and the spell ends if either party is separated for more than 1 mile. A useful spell for scouting purposes, and it doesn't trigger anti-scrying defenses!

Spirit Walk is a 6th-7th level Cleric/Sorcerer/Wizard spell which allows you to project your body's spirit to an area you know. You cannot cast spells or interact with the environment. It's notable in that it has a 1 hour casting time, but a duration of 1 round per lvel, making the spell nearly useless.

Talons is a 1st level Cleric/Druid spell which transforms the caster's hands into talonlike claws. They can be used as natural weapons in combat, dealing 1d6 + Strength modifier points of damage, and the caster is still capable of fine manipulation. The caster can also fight with a weapon in their primary hand their claw as an off-hand; this is treating as a secondary attack, and the primary weapon suffers no penalty on attack or damage rolls! Since the spell lasts 1 minute per level, it's great for multi-weapon fighting builds!

Unbinding is a 9th level sorcerer/wizard spell and of the Liberation domain. It creates a 180 area burst radius, ending the effects of all forms of magical effects which contain, constrain, seal, and control. It negates charm and dominate effects of all types, spells with a duration longer than instantaneous which create physical and magical barriers, and ends the effects of magical spells which hold other spells within them (such as imbue with spell ability). It does not effect purely protective spells (protection from arrows, etc) or anti-magic fields, and only works on geas/quest if their caster level is greater than the caster of geas. Unbinding is powerful in that it does not allow for a saving throw, and its effects are very versatile and open-ended. And guess what, it requires no costly experience points or material components (lodestone and saltpeter)! Score!

We've also got a few straight damaging spells, most of which are the province of sorcerers/wizards. We got a lot of lightning-themed ones: Crackling Sphere, Electrical Storm, and Shocking Spark are much like electricity-themed versions of Flaming Sphere, Sleet Storm, and Scorching Ray respectively. Dalamar's Lightning Lance allows the caster to created and throw electrical javelins at opponents, all within the span of one round. It's got some cool artwork, too:

Rounding off we have Elemental Dart, which throws darts of energy types (except sonic) against foes, while Stone Shards turn normal rocks into exploding splash weapons.

I also notice that a lot of the spells have vague casting times, specifying "1 action." Well, what does that mean? A standard action, move action, or full-round action?

Overall a lot of the spells are limited for their level, but there are a few nifty ones, and more than a few tie into the setting's history, so I like that at least.

Special Materials of Ansalon

The final part of our chapters gives a brief overview of the unique materials of Ansalon used in the forging of mighty weapons and armor, along with game stats for the legendary Dragonlances! Wooh!

Dragonmetal can be found beneath the Stone Dragon monument in Foghaven Vale of Southern Ergoth. Formed as a liquid pool of metal, it was used in conjunction with the Silver Arm of Ergoth and the Hammer of Kharas to forge the dragonlances. Since then the spring has been used by the Knights of Solamnia to forge weapons and armor, bestowing it upon the worthiest of heroes. As such, dragonmetal items are always masterwork quality and never bought and sold in legitimate markets.

It's a glistening silver metal lighter than steel, and uses the game stats of mithril for the purposes of crafting armor and determining cost for forging. When fashioned into a weapon it grants a natural +2 enchancement bonus on attack and damage rolls which does not stack with magical or masterwork enhancements.

Star Metal is a blue ore of extraordinary strength and hardness found only in meteorites. It is prized by alchemists, craftsmen, and prospectors, and is treated as adamantine for the purposes of weapon and armor forging.

Ironwood comes from unique trees in the nations of Abanasinia and Qualinesti, known for being light as wood but as hard as steel. Its creation process is a closely guarded guild secret, and you guessed it, it's treated the same as Darkwood!

Silver and Cold Iron are largely the same in the setting.

Throughout the chapter we had several sidebars for new magic items. Given Dragonlance being a low-magic setting of rich history of days long past, none of these are "common" by any means.

Frostreaver is forged from the natural glaciers of southern Ansalon by the Ice Folk in their endless war against the thanoi walrusmen. Under temperatures of 40 degrees Farenheit it's a +4 greataxe, but higher temperatures transform it into a mere +1 weapon. There are several Frostreavers in existence, but they're all closely guarded by the Ice Folk.

The Staff of Magius is one of the most infamous magic items in Krynn. During the Age of Despair it was granted along with the Dagger of Magius to Raistlin after passing his Test. It was wielded by Palin Majere during the Chaos War, only to be lost and never seen again. It's a +2 Quarterstaff which can Enlarge spells that create light, manipulate air, or affect minds three times per day, and grants a +3 deflection bonus to armor class. It bestows a negative level on any non-arcane caster who wields it. Oddly, it seems to exhibit different qualities depending upon who wields it, but this is not reflected in game stats.

The Dagger of Magius is a +3 silver dagger which can never be discovered through magical or mundane searches while on a mage's person. Not much is known about its history other than that Magius crafted it.

The Nightjewel is a minor artifact granted by the master of the Tower of Palanthas, allowing one to pass through its Shoikan grove without succumbing to its effects. The Shoikan grove instills instense fear which can affect even kender, and is populated with all manner of undead creatures. The Nightjewel grants immunity to fear and can be used to turn undead creatures with the wielder's level as the effective cleric level. It's benefits disappear, however, if the wielder draws a weapon or casts a hostile spell within the grove.

And now, last but not least, the legendary Dragonlances! First created during the Third Dragon War, these are weapons made for the express purpose of killing dragons. When the Solamnic Knight Human Dragonbane used it to fell Takhisis in her five-headed dragon form, the weapons and their wielders' status was cemented in history. After the War they had no more use, and thus the secrets of their creation were forgotten until the War of the Lance (where they proved essential to victory against the Dragon Empire). They also saw use later on during the Chaos War, proving effective against the primordial Gods' chaos-spawned dragons.

Dragonlances are valued beyond price, never bought or sold. They do have sample prices listed for the purposes of assigning treasure value only. The secret of forging them is god-granted, meaning that it can't be made using the typical means of crafting magic items in 3rd Edition.

A Lesser Dragonlance is a +2 Dragon Bane Lance that glows with a soft light. It is created from dragonmetal with either the Silver Arm of Ergoth or the Hammer of Kharas (if both are used during the forging, a Greater Dragonlance is created instead).

A Greater Dragonlance is a whole 'nother story. Forged with both the Silver Arm of Ergoth and the Hammer of Kharas, it is a +4 Dragon Bane Lance. When used against a dragon of evil alignment, it deals 1 point of permanent Constitution drain with every hit; on a critical hit it drains a number equal to the wielder's character level. It is also blessed by the Gods of Light, bestowing two negative levels on any evil creature which wields it (although its powers can still be used). Since Constitution drain reduces a number of hit points equal to the new modifier per hit die, a critical hit with one of these bad boys can really drop a dragon's health down fast!

Thoughts so far: The spells vary widely in balance and usefulness, but that's really the only bad part of the chapter. Departing from the standard dry mechanical text of other D20 Magic sections in books This chapter does a good job of explaining the history of magic and how various organizations and societies adapted to it (especially with examples of famous figures using them in spell descriptions). The new Cleric domains are very versatile overall, and I enjoyed the sample magic items. Despite being a low-magic setting, or perhaps because of it, Dragonlance managed to impart a sense of greatness to it.

Next time, Chapter Four: Deities of Krynn!

May 6, 2007

What do Pure Morpheus characters get that crosses dont?

Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

SynthOrange posted:

What do Pure Morpheus characters get that crosses dont?
They get the ability to make drastic buffs to their creations (+5 to a single aspect of a created item) or +5 dice to a check using the other pure power.

But the real benefit is that they can put 5 ranks instead of 3 into Morph Vehicles and build a mecha with their brain.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012
Happy Thanksgiving to all you out there who celebrate it. Now are you ready for some football alt-history early America?!

Part 1: Myths, Legends, and Loads of Loot
While the player rules for Northern Crown are important to its groundwork as a roleplaying game, everyone knows that gamemaster guides are where it's at. And thus we are now at the Gazetteer, the only full sourcebook ever made for Northern Crown. This is going to be a fairly chunky first post in spite of only covering a chapter and a half, as chapter two of the Northern Crown Gazetteer is pretty drat big.

The first chapter of Northern Crown is entirely dedicated to a minor timeline focused entirely on the First Ones and the Uropans, with nothing in between. A long time ago, 10,000 BC to be exact, the ancestors of the First Ones headed across a land bridge that connected Rusland and Northern Crown, finding that the land was ruled by the vicious wendigo and their sorcerous hold over the great glaciers that marked the age of ice. The First Ones kicked the wendigos' asses with the aid of the animals that lived in Northern Crown before either of them and ended the age of ice...which also happened to result in a great flood across the continent. Whoops. Thankfully, a demigod-like water animal – his exact identity is unknown, as different First Ones nations ascribe to him the identity of Muskrat, Otter, Water Bug, or Turtle – just so happened to be able to find some pure soil beneath the flood and restore the continent of Northern Crown. This also happens to be how Northern Crown (the setting this time, not the continent) happens to deal with the difference between various First Ones creation stories and Uropan creation stories.

By 5,000 BC, the First Ones have become many nations across Northern Crown and the lower continent Southern Cross, and their former animal allies have said "you're getting too numerous, so gently caress you we're not talking to you anymore" and go to dance with the fairies or whatever it is talking animals do in their off time. Not too long after, a particular First Ones nation known as the Makers began to flourish through a mixture of trade networks and powerful sorcery. They dove too greedily and too deep, however, and after a thousand years of dominance and a growing obsession with immortality they ended up unleashing a great evil that killed their civilization. A civilization called the Moundraisers created a society of demon-binding god-kings soon after the Makers fell and ended up dying off as well, this time to other First Ones nations going to war with them rather than any unleashed mysterious doom-thing.

This is the point where the Uropans come into the timeline picture. An Eirish monk named Brendyn heads across the Atlantic and finds Northern Crown in 800 AD and brings back stories of an amazing new land to the west. This interests others, including a Cymric prince by the name of Madoc who disappears mysteriously in 1250, Portuguese explorer Gaspar Corte-Real who similarly disappears in 1499, and his brother Miguel Corte-Real who finds Carolingia in 1501. it also turns out that the Vinlanders, who start having contact with the Uropan nations after easing off their raids for a few centuries, have had actual settlements in the northernmost parts of Northern Crown since 1000 but never gave a poo poo about telling the other Uropans as opposed to raiding them. From 1501 to the in-setting present day of 1666, everyone from Albians and Espaniards to Jews and Nyambans pour into Northern Crown for one reason or another. And that, as they say, is that.

Rumors and Legends
Heading into chapter two, which is just as expansive as its encompassing chapter name "Adventures" would imply, we start with a section called Rumors and Legends. These are interesting in that they actually allow the specific DM/GM to tailor the Northern Crown campaign setting in their own little way. To explain, each rumor or legend is given three levels of potential: it can either be a half-truth that has been exaggerated over time, true to its word, or in a rank of "beyond true" where things are even crazier than the storytellers say. While this wouldn't necessarily work for, say, Forgotten Realms, it is a really neat idea to have in a setting like Northern Crown where a big part of the campaign concept is that there is a lot of unknown stuff out there we have yet to explore. And what, exactly, are the kinds of rumors and legends that are around in Northern Crown? Let's take a look.

King Arthur: You know the story of King Arthur. What you probably didn't know is that he had a +5 vorpal longsword and +5 light steel shield of heavy fortification. If the legends are true, he's chilling somewhere in the Mountains of Smoke, waiting for the time when country needs him again and he can awaken and head back across the Atlantic. Of course, it could also be half-true and he was quite mortal and you can instead find and raid his tomb for that fat loot. It could also be beyond true and Arthur is not just awake already but actively plotting to off Charles II and take the Carolingian throne in preparation to forge it, the Holy Commonwealth, and Albion back into a united England.

The Sangraal: That's right, the Holy Grail is around too. It is said that Brendyn, that Eirish monk who came over in 800 AD, may have used the trip to Northern Crown to hide this magical item capable of creating ten cure potions the strength of those made by a fully leveled Cleric. It could just be that he brought only gold, though. If it is true that he had the Sangraal, however, there is the potential that it is even beyond true and that the Five Nations have recovered it and plan on using it to make immortal warriors.

Crystal Mountains: Rumor has it that there is a huge mountain that is so loaded with diamonds that it shines like one huge crystal in the sunlight. While some say it's just a half-truth and the "diamonds" are actually quartz, if it's true there are definitely monstrous spirits known as the pomola and sanauk taking up residence there. It could also be beyond true and actually be part of an ancient curse, the diamonds actually being the transformed bodies of ancient Moundraiser god-kings who attempted to storm the heavens only to be struck down by the gods.

The Fountain of Youth: Does the fabled Fountain of Youth actually exist in southeastern Northern Crown, just ready to grant immortality to those who drink from it? Maybe, but it could also just be a water that has natural healing powers rather than the secret to everlasting life. On the other hand, it could also not only be true, but also be ruled by crazy immortals who have formed good and evil factions that eternally battle, unable to ever kill each other and win their alignment-based war.

Madoc: Some say the lost Cymric prince Madoc actually landed in Northern Crown and that his descendants still live with the First Ones, having knowledge of ancient fey lore and magical teachings. It could just be a half-truth and he died cold and alone. Or, less depressingly and even more fantastically than if it were truth, Madoc could have founded a Cymric empire in the big rocky mountain range said to lie west of the known Uropan-settled lands of Northern Crown.

The Mother Stone: In First Ones legend, there was a time before even the wendigo when an ancient civilization of giants with mighty supernatural powers ruled the far north of Northern Crown. These giants were defended by the Mother Stone, a divine stone that could form the auroras of the sky into a shield that protected Northern Crown. The half-truth version of the story is that the Mother Stone is just a "regular" magic rock rather than one that can control the cosmos to create a super-shield, while if you go the route of beyond truth it is not only real, it has been found and is being put on auction by an Albian moneygrubber.

Northwest Passage The Northwest Passage is an interesting one, in that even the half-truth is very much a full truth. It exists no matter what, it's just that if it is a half-truth it happens that the sheer number of polar bears, wendigos, frost giants, and dangerous shifting ice makes it unreliable for what the Northwest Passage was sought for in real life and Northern Crown. It could be that it is beyond true, however, and it just so happens to pass by various legendary civilizations on its way to Cathay.

:pirate: Treasure: Pirates happen to bury treasure. Are these troves as paltry as the half-truths say, valuable as the legends tell, or beyond truthful and actually huge money vaults guarded by zombie pirates and magical traps? Only the GM knows for sure.

Prospero's Isle: The missing duke of Milan, Prospero, is said to have used his knowledge of the arcane arts to make a private island somewhere in the Carib Sea. Truth and half-truth are basically the same story – he did have an island hideaway in the Carib Sea at one point, just with some fancy magic items left behind in the truthful version. The beyond truthful version, however, is a wild one where Prospero’s magic island is an interplanar fortress of crazy constructs and elementals from which Prospero plans on launching an invasion of Jamaica.

Runestones: Some rumors say that the Vinlanders weren't constrained to just the northeastern coastland of Northern Crown, and that they left ancient magical runes as they traveled into the unknown west. Just how far they got depends on the level of truthfulness: either to the Great Lakes if half-true, the Colorado River if true, or all the way across the continent and the Pacific to arrive at Japan Xipangu if beyond true.

Legends of the Unknown West
The Mississippi River Espiritu Santo is pretty much as far as Uropan mapmakers have gone in Northern Crown. Beyond there is unknown territory to all but the as of yet uncontacted First Ones nations of the west and whatever mysterious civilizations dwell there. Just what is in this unknown region? Obviously it's a mystery to the Uropans, but the GM gets a few ideas on what players that do explore these unknown lands can find. The only natural one is the Gran Canyon Chasm, which may or may not have a lost world of dinosaurs and poo poo inside it, while the other four are all civilizations that have only been briefly encountered or heard of. One of these is the legendary Seven Golden Cities of Cibola, which is said to be somewhere north of the treacherous land of Mexico Quivera. Most assume that Cibola was made by the legendary Prester John or someone from Cathay if it is real at all. Definitely from Cathay are the people of Fou Sang, an empire made by a Cathayan emperor who settled in what we know as California after he escaped the Mongol invasions. The other two are both from Gulliver's Travels – Brobidnag is an island of truly gigantic giants (60 feet, far beyond even the largest statted giant in Northern Crown) somewhere off the coast of the Pacific, while the flying island of Laputa zips around as its tiny artificers kidnap scientists such as Isaac Newton. Not even joking.


Next time: Disease, war, the supernatural, and secret societies.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 22:28 on Dec 6, 2013

Dec 24, 2007

Fossilized Rappy posted:

To explain, each rumor or legend is given three levels of potential: it can either be a half-truth that has been exaggerated over time, true to its word, or in a rank of "beyond true" where things are even crazier than the storytellers say. While this wouldn't necessarily work for, say, Forgotten Realms, it is a really neat idea to have in a setting like Northern Crown where a big part of the campaign concept is that there is a lot of unknown stuff out there we have yet to explore.

The old 3E GURPS Warehouse 23 supplement had a similar idea. They proposed five lenses for a campaign world: Mundane (Occam's Razor is the supreme truth), Occult (magic is real), Fortean (UFOs and cryptozoology are real), Conspirational (everyone is out to get everyone else), and Illuminated (all of the above are simultaneously true), and suggested ways to adapt the things in the book to each of them. The example was the Ark of the Covenant, which in a Conspirational setting was a gold totally-not-an-idol-except-it-kind-of-is built to Egyptian specifications by an opportunistic rebel leader to remind his brainwashed followers of the code of conduct he'd written for them. In Fortean, it was a radio/weapon built by the Ancient Astronauts and fueled by the belief of the Israelites, made even more powerful when installed in the Temple Mount transmission station. In Occult, it is literally God's throne on Earth and has all the powers ascribed to it in the Old Testament and Apocrypha. In Mundane, it's likely a fable and was a minor religious artifact that was destroyed long ago and probably never even covered in gold. Illuminated, it was a magic-charged gift to a rebel leader from the Space Brothers who wanted to ensure Moses retained control over the Israelites so they could have a ready-to-go army.

It's a fun way to get some additional mileage out of supplements.

Transient People
Dec 22, 2011

"When a man thinketh on anything whatsoever, his next thought after is not altogether so casual as it seems to be. Not every thought to every thought succeeds indifferently."
- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
So I promised to talk about how DLCS was basically God's Gift to Blasters in 3.5 when Reserves of Strength came up. That feat is a part of it, but it'd be worthless without the right spells, wouldn't it? After all, one of the issues with blasting is that it's just woefully inefficient, because it just kind of tickles monsters as you go up in levels in a wide area, which is worth less than hitting them with a Save or Die spell or applying some choice battlefield control like Solid Fog. Why does DLCS fix, and how? The answer is simple.

Yep. None other than the Lightning Lance. To see why, let's take a look. The potential for abuse should be readily apparent.


Dalamar’s Lightning Lance
Evocation [Electricity]
Level: Sor/Wiz 4
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Effect: 1 lightning-lance/five levels
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Fortitude half (see text)
Spell Resistance: Yes
You create a crackling lance of lightning that you can hurl at your foes. You must succeed at a ranged touch attack roll to hit. The lance deals 3d6 points of damage from the impact of the strike, plus 1d6 electricity damage per caster level (maximum 10d6). The impact damage is not subject to being reduced by protection from the elements (electricity), spark shield, and similar magic or effects, but the target is entitled to a Fortitude save to halve the electricity damage. You can create and hurl a second lightninglance at 10th level, and a third at 15th level. All bolts must be aimed at enemies within 30 feet of each other.
Material Component: An amber, crystal, or glass rod.

So from the get-go, you can see three things very clearly:

A) Each Lightning Lance you chuck is equivalent to applying three extra caster levels to a normal damage spell, because it does the usual 'CL up to 10' dance AND adds three dice on top.

B) Lightning Lance doesn't scale linearly because its power doubles at CL 10 then triples at 15.

C) Lightning Lance is very, very friendly to metamagic, because all effects you apply are multiplied by the number of lances. If you Twin the spell (launch it twice) you huck six lances. If you Empower it, you multiply every last die by 1.5.

So in other words, if you use Reserves of Strength on this little spell...well, for starters, you add 9d6 dice, which is pretty nice. On top of that, you also gain the ability to multiply any further CL boosts by 3. On top of that, by a certain reading, Reserves of Strength may also lift the cap on the number of lances you can throw, too, which means if you could push your CL up to, say, 25, you'd throw 5 lances, each doing 3d6+25d6 damage. Incidentally, similar shenanigans can be done with the PHB's Scorching Ray and Elemental Dart. If I was a blaster wizard, DLCS would be my very first book picked to select material from after finding one with a decent CL boosting Prestige Class.

Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!
Thanks for pointing that out, Transient People! I hope you don't mind if I quoted this over on Min-Max Boards. I'm sure they'd get a kick out of the combo.

Transient People
Dec 22, 2011

"When a man thinketh on anything whatsoever, his next thought after is not altogether so casual as it seems to be. Not every thought to every thought succeeds indifferently."
- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
No problem, go right ahead. If I had to play 3.5 again, I would probably restrict casters to the DLCS and a number of select feats and PrCs. It would create a significantly more even playing field if you could still play a caster AD&D style with a focus on damage spells and not suck, while not having access to the swiss army knife tools of the Core or Completes. It's a bit surprising (but interesting) that the be-all end-all for reasonable mages was the only second-party 3.X book.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011



Prospero's Isle: The missing duke of Milan, Prospero, is said to have used his knowledge of the arcane arts to make a private island somewhere in the Carib Sea. Truth and half-truth are basically the same story – he did have an island hideaway in the Carib Sea at one point, just with some fancy magic items left behind in the truthful version. The beyond truthful version, however, is a wild one where Prospero’s magic island is an interplanar fortress of crazy constructs and elementals from which Prospero plans on launching an invasion of Jamaica.

And that's another random Shakespere reference.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
Prospero running wild over Jamaica is my next campaign.

Jun 30, 2011

"I'm the most powerful
search engine in the world!"
-- The GoogleProg
So, Risus.

I was going to post the second part of the review, but then I got a bit of welcome news:

Risus Second Edition, still just as free as the first, is coming out Soon(tm).
And by Soon(tm) I mean Legitimately Really Soon.

So I am going to put off any further Risusiversing until the 2nd edition book hits, and then continue in that (not starting over, so keep the original OP of the review linked / archived).

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Mr. Maltose posted:

Prospero running wild over Jamaica is my next campaign.
What will he do when Jamaicamania...runs wild on him?!

Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Dragonlance Campaign Setting Chapter Four: Deities of Krynn

There anything existed, there was only the High God and Chaos. The High God strove to bring order to Chaos, who in turn strove to undo the High God's creations. The High God brought three creations from the ether: Paladine, Gilean, and Takhisis, who in turn made other gods who aligned with them based upon their varying philosophies. A great triangle of Good, Evil, and Neutrality were the pillars upon which the world would be forged. Reorx struck his hammer against Chaos, the sparks from the blow creating the stars, and from their light came the first souls. The deities (except for the High God and Chaos) quarreled over these souls and what to do with them: Paladine and the Gods of Good sought to guide them on a proper course and eventually share dominion with them over the universe. Takhisis and the Gods of Evil sought to have dominion over the spirits. Gilean and the Gods of Neutrality valued free will, maintaining that it should be up to the souls who'd they'd follow.

Eventually the gods and their souls battled in what came to be referred to by mortals as the All-Saints War. Chaos delighted in this turmoil from afar, while the High God watched with worry and knew that if any were to fall all their work in the universe would be undone.

The High God called for a compromise to end the war, and bestow one gift upon the souls. The Gods of Good gave souls life and physical forms so that they could alter their reality and be more like the deities, the Gods of Neutrality free will, and the Gods of Evil hunger, thirst, and other limitations to satisfy their needs (so that they'd be more desperate to turn to them and thus be subjugated). The gods created the world of Krynn as a place for the physical beings to dwell.

And through it all, Chaos lurks at the edges of creation, still seeking to undo reality and all the deities' work.

Cosmology-wise, Dragonlance has the Transitive and Inner Planes of normal 3rd Edition, with three Outer Planes home to the three groups of deities. None of the Outer Planes can be reached via mortal magic, and portals to the Abyss on Krynn are incredibly rare artifacts. The most common means of entering the outer planes is via the Gate of Souls, a portal for spirits which flows in a constant cycle of life and death on Krynn, through the Ethereal Sea. This phenomenon is referred to as the River of Souls. Additionally, the Ethereal Plane is but a smaller part of the greater place, the Ethereal Sea, which stretches beyond even the Gods' imaginings.

The Gods

Technically there are 21 Gods, 7 for each of the moral alignments. The High God is a distant entity whose plans are unknown even to the deities, while Chaos is a primordial element who doesn't grant prayers. It does have otherworldly minions infused with a bit of it's power during the Chaos War, and in Bestiary of Krynn there is a Scourge of Chaos Prestige Class focused around this.

The Gods of Good

Paladine is the Lawful Good god of metallic dragons, good, law, light, and protection. He leads the other deities of Good by example, and his power is rivaled among the gods only by Gilean and Takhisis. All dragons, even the chromatic ones, are his children. His clerics helped fight against Takhisis' forces many times throughout history, and they acted as spiritual guides for the people. The believe that a just government is necessary for society, and historically acted as judges, barristers, and advisers. Paladine's favored weapon is the longsword, and his domains are Good, Law, Protection, and Sun. Clerics must be of any Good alignment to receive spells (an exception to the one-step rule). As of the Age of Mortals he is now mortal and can no longer grant spells.

Branchala is the Chaotic Good god of music, poetry, bards, and art of all kinds. He brings joy to the world and its creatures through these concepts, and his clerics are charged with encouraging the written and spoken word to the peoples of Krynn. They are loosely-organized with few permanent ties, but are known for hosting and organizing holidays and celebrations, and are beloved in kender and elven communities. His favored weapon is the rapier, and his domains are Chaos, Good, Luck, and Trickery.

Habbakuk is the Neutral Good god of animals, water, passion, and rebirth. He is commonly known as the Fisher King, and looks over all of nature as his charges. Phoenixes are associated with him, and he's heavily associated with the sea and popular among coastal and fishing communities. His priesthood is evenly split between clerics and druids, and neither have a formalized hierarchy. Once during their lifetime, clerics must wander the land with nothing but a walking stick and the clothes on their back to better understand the ways of nature. The god's favored weapon is the scimitar, and his domains are Animal, Good, and Water.

Kiri-Jolith is the Lawful Good god of honor, obedience, justice, and righteous warfare. He is popular among the knights of Solamnia, especially the Knights of the Sword of which he is patron, and his priesthood trains daily so that they can protect others from the depredations of evil, and actively seek out tyrants and wicked folk in positions of power to fight them. His favored weapon is the longsword, and his domains are Good, Strength, and War.

Majere is a Lawful Good god of discipline and loyalty. Of all the deities he has the best understanding of the High God's plans and acts as a sort of wise fatherly mentor to the other Gods of Good. His priesthood is small, but some of Krynn's greatest teachers and theologians come from his ranks, and their works have even influenced other good-aligned religious orders. Clerics live in isolated monasteries and follow a strict regimen of self-discipline and vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity so that they can better focus on enlightenment and the contemplation of Good. Many martial artists number among Majere's faithful, to better harness their self-discipline or for increased spiritual awareness. Majere's favored weapon is the unarmed strike, and his domains are Good, Law, and Meditation.

Mishakal is the Neutral Good goddess of healing, compassion, fertility, and community. She is very popular throughout Ansalon, as her clerics actively part in bettering their local communities and tending to the old, the injured, the sick, and other people unable to care for themselves. They're part not to withhold divine healing from everyone, even those of evil alignment, although their churches accept tithes in exchange for service for those who can afford it. The priesthood is more centralized and widespread than the other Gods of Good (with the exception of Paladine), and is led by the Chosen Prophet who is served by a council of priests representing various regions of Ansalon. They hate Morgion and his faithful, who seek to spread disease and decay. Her favored weapon is the quarterstaff, and her domains are Community, Good, Healing, and Protection.

Solinari is the Lawful Good god of magic and patron of the Wizards of the White Robes. His primary ambition is to spread magic throughout the world and bring more worthy mages to his Order. He teaches his wizards that magic is a gift to be shared with the world and worked for the benefit of all. They seek out lost libraries and magical items to expand their knowledge of magic, and promote good works. Solinari has no clerics, domains, or favored weapon, and he works closely with his siblings Lunitari and Nuitari to protect and foster magic on Krynn.

The Gods of Neutrality

Chislev is the Neutral goddess of nature incarnate. Every animal and plant on Krynn reveres her, and according to legend the four seasons are manifestations of her moods. The priesthood is mainly comprised of druids who oversee and protect plots of land in the wilderness, and a few clerics live in small farming communities. Both do their best efforts to prevent people from despoiling the land through mundane or magical means, and many of them are doing their best to counter the changes wrought by the Dragon Overlords' magic. She has a good relationship with Habbakuk and hates Zeboim as the two fought during the All-Saints War. Her favored weapon is the shortspear, and her domains are Air, Animal, Earth, and Plant.

Gilean is the leader of the Gods of Neutrality and represents knowledge, free will, and the Balance. He is the keeper of the Tobril, the book gifted to him by the High God which contains his plans for creation. He is dispassionate, interfering only when the laws of Creation are being challenged. His priesthood usually acts as librarians, scribes, and historians. They're dedicated to the spread of information and knowledge, and as such oppose attempts to restrict education and burn books. His favored weapon is the quarterstaff, and his domains are Knowledge, Liberation, and Protection.

Lunitari is the Neutral goddess of magic and the Wizards of the Red Robes. Her primary ambition is to further the cause of magic in the world and maintain the delicate balance between good and evil. Her followers, the Red Robes, are more numerous than either the White or Red Robes, and are primarily concerned with knowledge and promotion of magic for the sake of it. She's also the daughter of Gilean and has a mischievous streak, using illusions to amuse and entertain herself and others.

Reorx is the Neutral god of creation, engineering and technological innovation, and patron of the dwarves and gnomes. He has a strong following among the dwarves, and his priesthood has a significant influence among their communities. Within a dwarven thane, the Starmaster (head of the local church) has almost as much power as the thane (dwarven noble), and they have a say in most important aspects of dwarven life. They also produce some of the best weapons in the dwarven realms. The gnome branch of the faith isn't as influential among their respective race, but they still honor him as the greatest of gods. All clerics must create an object to honor Reorx during their lifetime, and as such usually takes years to complete. His favored weapon's the warhammer, and his domains are Earth, Fire, and Forge.

Shinare's the Lawful Neutral (that's a first!) goddess of commerce, industry, and wealth. Her followers are mercenaries, merchants, and traders. Her clerics are hard-working and industrious, and often use their business acumen for community growth. They must also pay their taxes and tithes on time, and taught not to pursue shady and selfish business practices which can lead to widespread suffering (that's Hiddukel's domain). As they're responsible for bringing prosperity to many communities, she is a respected and admired deity throughout most of Ansalon. She and her priests work closely with Reorx, due to the links between artisans and merchants, and she has a fond relationship with Sirrion. Her favored weapon is the light mace, and her domains are Law, Luck, and Travel.

Sirrion is the Chaotic Neutral god of creativity, passion, and fire. He sculpts the fires of the soul into many forms and grants divine inspiration to artists and other creative sorts. His domain over fire is that of an element of cleansing, renewal, and transformation. Fire can destroy impurities, change objects from one state to another, and destroy old and dying trees to make way for new ones in nature. He doesn't much care for worshipers, only actively recruiting when his friendly rival and lover Shinare appears to be gaining the upper hand. His priesthood also helps combat out of control fires, and often act as matchmakers for those in love. His favored weapon is the heavy flail, and his domains are Chaos, Fire, and Passion.

Zivilyn is the Neutral god of wisdom, foresight, and prophecy. His symbol is the World Tree and is the bearer of all insight in the universe. His branches reach into every time and place, and is the wisest and most calm of the gods. His priesthood is a hierarchal one, with older members in more prominent positions, and serve as counselors, mediators, philosophers, and diplomats, and in communities with no priests of Paladine as judges and advisers. He is married to Chislev, and works closely with Gilean as knowledge and wisdom are complementary forces. He doesn't really count any gods as his enemies, but he's not fond of Sargonnas' and Zeboim's emotional natures. His faithful have something of a rivalry with the church of Majere; Majere seeks understanding through understanding the will of the High God, while Zivilyn promotes people to look within themselves. His favored weapon is the quarterstaff (man, this is a really common weapon), and his domains are Insight, Knowledge, and Meditation.

The Gods of Evil

Takhisis is the (former) head of the Gods of Darkness and the embodiment of Evil, she is a Lawful Evil deity of hate, darkness, tyranny, and the chromatic dragons. Throughout her existence she sought to be the greatest and most powerful entity in the universe, and her followers carried out many ambitious plots on her behalf to achieve world domination of Krynn as its one and only deity. Many of her followers are nonhumans, especially among the ogres, goblins, and draconians during the War of the Lance. The chromatic dragons are her most favored, promising them a favored spot beside her the day she rules Krynn. In the Age of Mortals she was instrumental in stealing away the world and gaining followers as the One God, but she was killed by the elf Silvanoshei when she was cursed with mortality by the other deities for her crime. Her favored weapon is the heavy mace, and her domains are Destruction, Evil, Law, and Trickery; clerics must be of any evil alignment to worship her.

Chemosh is the Neutral Evil god of death, the undead, and murder. He was the first god to side with Takhisis in the All-Saints War, and he animates corpses and imprisons souls as his undead slaves by promising mortals with eternal "life." His priesthood works in secret and believes that there is no existence after death; Chemosh teaches that the other Gods are liars, that no souls exist in the afterlife and that he's the only god who can grant people everlasting existence. His church has no centralized hierarchy, and they're not fond of arcane necromancers (who either serve Nuitari as Black Robes, or are not giving Chemosh his proper respect). His favored weapon is the sickle, and his domains are Death, Evil, and Trickery.

In Dragonlance canon he's been rather active as a God of Evil (Takhisis hogged the spotlight most of the time): he is a major behind the scenes player in the Key of Destiny adventure path, and in the alternate where Raistlin becomes a God he collaborates with the mage to destroy the rest of the pantheon and absorb their divine essence for himself.

Hiddukel is the Chaotic Evil god of deception, ill-gotten wealth, and the patron deity of dishonest merchants and thieves. He constantly seeks bargains, promising people their heart's desire in exchange for servitude. Very few people willingly become a cleric of Hiddukel, usually tricked into it. Hiddukel encourages his unwitting followers to pursue material wealth and prestige by any means necessary, and he has no church as each cleric is pretty much on their own. He is an enemy of Shinare, who favors fair and honest deals with benefit the community, and as such Hiddukel encourages his faithful to destroy her temples and kill her priests.

Morgion is the Neutral Evil god of decay, disease, and suffering. Even the other gods of Evil refuse to associate with him, and he keeps to himself in the Abyss in his Bronze Tower, where he plots and schemes in secret. He uses pestilence and plagues to spread fear among Ansalon, and virtually nobody worships hims of their own free will. His most common means of gaining clerics is visiting people ravaged by disease; he offers a deal, to grant immunity to the disease in exchange for servitude. Those who accept find themselves "cured," but for the rest of their days are required to do Morgion's work and spread more disease among communities, thus gaining more opportunities of recruitment for the deity. They must keep their affiliation secret, for they are welcomed nowhere. His favored weapon is the heavy flail, and his domains are Destruction, Evil, and Pestilence.

Nuitari is the Lawful Evil god of magic and the Wizards of the Black Robes. He gains followers by promising them more power than Solinari or Lunitari can give, and that magic is to be secret and coveted from the unworthy, and to use it for personal benefit. His moon is invisible, a black hole in the night sky, to all but the Wizards who follow him. The Black Robes claim that their moon's radiance is the brightest of them all.

Sargonnas is the Lawful Evil god of vengeance, conquest, strength, and rage. He is a militant deity who demands strict obedience from those who follow him, and is worshiped among the Minotaurs (who call him Sargas and believe him to be an entirely separate deity). Among them, he is viewed as one who rewards the strong with power, while nonminotaurs often look to him as a deity of vengeance. His clerics are often sought out by individuals who feel wronged, and many turn to the god in times of hardship and war. His favored weapon is the greataxe, and his domains are Evil, Fire, Law, and War. I don't know where the Fire part comes in; I always figure that Strength is a more appropriate domain.

Zeboim is the Chaotic Evil goddess of wrath, the sea, and storms. She is feared by the civilizations of the sea and appeased by sailors hoping to stay her anger. Her priests alternatively extort sailors and shipowners into paying tithes in exchange for good weather, and serving on ships to assist passengers in paying proper respects to the goddess. She is hostile to the other two nature goddesses, and divine spellcasters who worship her often conduct elaborate ceremonies where they sacrifice material possessions to the depths of the ocean to the glory of the Sea Queen. Her favored weapon is the trident, and her domains are Chaos, Evil, Storm, and Water.

And that's it for the true Gods of Krynn!

Thoughts so far: I feel that the deities overall are a mixed bag. There are many innovating and interesting ones, but there's a sort of samey-ness to a lot of them. More than a few use the same favored weapons (quarterstaff being the biggest offender), and some of their portfolios feel like they overlap too much (such as Chemosh and Morgion, Paladine and Kiri-Jolith). On a more positive note, I like how they implemented Chemosh's teachings and the inability to travel to the afterlife with the Outer Planes to make undeath a more appealing state. It's the kind of thing you can see really desperate people reaching for. I also enjoy Sirron the most: his manifestation of fire as a multi-faceted element of renewal and transformation.

Next time, Chapter 5: Geography, where we finally cover the places and nations of Ansalon!

Poland Spring
Sep 11, 2005

Sooo...what is the deal with this, lore-wise? As far as I can recall, Raistlin was stripped of his godly powers, and his symbol was a spider or something anyway. I vaguely recall him filling in for Takhisis to pass some godly vote or something, but this seems kind of out of the blue.


Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!
It's not the same Majere. There's Raistlin Majere the Red Robe Mage, and Majere the Lawful Good god.

Maybe it's a common last name among the faithful or something. If I find a Dragonlance loremaster I'll ask them.

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