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Thane of Fife
2009-01-18, 04:44 PM
A Vote, Good Citizens.

Select one of these four options:

1. Use normal classes, excluding Bard, Druid, Monk, Paladin (probably), Ranger (probably), Sorcerer, Wizard (unless you can think of good reasons to allow them)

2. Use generic classes

3. Some normal classes, some new classes - likely additions include some variants on: Prophet, Temple Prostitute, Charioteer, Guardian

4. Use of generic classes, but rather modified to represent basically social classes (so, basically, would probably split the Generic Warrior into Hero and Wild Man, or something like that).

Something which I've been thinking about recently is the rather jarring lack of campaign settings representing the Fertile Crescent - Sumeria, Babylon, Assyria, etc.

So it's going to be my new attempt at a project. Problem is that, while I have some intriguing ideas, I need more, and that's the first bit of this. Below is my list of stuff which seems like it will need to be in the campaign setting. I'd really like comments on these things, thoughts on which of them you think should be most and least prominent, as well as ideas on what sorts of things come to mind when you think of Mesopotamia, Babylon, Assyria, and so on and need to be added. I also need some sort of title, and I have a distinct lack of ideas as far as that goes. So any thoughts, comments, or suggestions would be helpful and encouraged.

The Big List of Things to Include:

1. Bulls. Things like Shedu/Lammasu should be prominent, especially as gate-keepers.

2. Ziggurats, These may be places of great power for priests, where they can draw closer to heaven then would otherwise be possible.

3. Priest-Kings/God-Kings and High Priestesses as major figures of power. The favor of the gods should be eminent on them.

4. A young world. Perhaps it is just me, but the Fertile Crescent seems to suggest an age when the world was new, when the first great civilizations are only now coming to power. The primary implication of this should be, in my opinion, gods active in the world - the gods here are not distant beings who act subtly, but rather beings only just beyond the mortal world, who shield their chosen ones and wield their empires and cities like weapons against each other.

5. A combination of mighty empires and powerful city-states, with small villages and towns being scarce.

6. Weapon changes - bronze and iron are most common here, and good armor is scarce. Chariots are musts in armies, and weapons are moderately restricted.

Shalizar
2009-01-18, 05:13 PM
alright, sounds interesting, but by bulls do you mean more like Minotaurs or Bulls the animal. The place where powers are stronger is an interesting concept, i may have to borrow (a.k.a. steal) that. Your players wont have many choices in backrounds because if they want to be a spell caster they have to be ether a high priest/priestess or decended from royalty. Change it so then those two may have supernatural abilities, like what the drow have, but that is just my thought on the subject. Weapons will be easy to do because you can just change names of them, from like instead of normal have tin weapons, Master Work be Bronze and stuff like that would be my suggestion. Other then that, it looks like you are trying to have wars come up everywhere between diffrent cities which are guided by diffrent gods. Good idea, best of luck trying to get it to work, and if i may make a suggestion, for your players, have them go on side quests away from the main battle and have their actions decide how the battle turns out, like if they must kill two people and they both flee in diffrent directions, have them choose which one to follow and have that choose the outcome of the battle. Those are my suggestions.

RTGoodman
2009-01-18, 05:28 PM
Sounds like a pretty neat idea, to me. One thing you might take a look at first is any Conan RPG stuff you can get your hands on. I know there's a Conan d20 game out there, and there are Hyborian-related products for HERO System and probably GURPS and other stuff, too. The setting itself, to me, seems very Mesopotamian, and even if you don't use anything from it specifically, it could be a good place to look at for inspiration (especially with gods, priest-kings, and stuff). The Dark Sun campaign setting is also a possibility to look at for inspiration, and most of the 3.x-related stuff for it is available online at Athas.org (http://athas.org/).

Also, one thing that I might suggest as a mechanics change is to use the Class Defense Bonuses (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/defenseBonus.htm) system and the Armor as Damage Reduction (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/armorAsDamageReduction.htm) variant, both of which work well (especially together) to make low-armor settings work. Classes don't HAVE to worry about armor because they get the defense bonuses, but any armor they do have also gives a pretty good bonus in the form of DR.

Egiam
2009-01-18, 05:58 PM
Sounds cool. :smallamused:
If I were you, I would consider how the cultures view different magic sources. Are sorcerors considered blessed, or cursed? That would make some nice backstory either way.

Thane of Fife
2009-01-18, 06:17 PM
but by bulls do you mean more like Minotaurs or Bulls the animal.

I had been thinking primarily of Shedu and Lammasu, with normal bulls and minotaurs possibly represented as well. Those two monsters will probably have to be written up (actually, they'll be two names for the same monster).


Your players wont have many choices in backrounds because if they want to be a spell caster they have to be ether a high priest/priestess or decended from royalty.

Possibly. I had also considered simply eliminating arcane magic altogether, turning it into a completely different sort of thing (I sort of had an idea of needing Tablets to cast spells, or of their being somewhat like 4e rituals), or of making it into a Conjuring sort of thing, where all spells are basically variants on the summoning of some demon or spirit.


Change it so then those two may have supernatural abilities, like what the drow have

That is potentially a very interesting idea - I'd been thinking that they might just be high-level clerics.


Weapons will be easy to do because you can just change names of them, from like instead of normal have tin weapons, Master Work be Bronze and stuff like that would be my suggestion.

I had been thinking of dividing weapons into Bronze, Iron, and Wood. A weapon might be modified if used against superior or inferior armor. Some weapons will simply need to go - I don't believe that long swords, for example, were used in Mesopotamia.


[Conan] itself, to me, seems very Mesopotamian

It's something I'd been considering. Parts of it do, certainly, but at the same time, lots of it isn't.


The Dark Sun campaign setting is also a possibility to look at for inspiration

I've actually been somewhat trying to distance myself from that, in that, while Dark Sun is great, it doesn't really have the feel I want.


Also, one thing that I might suggest as a mechanics change is to use the Class Defense Bonuses system and the Armor as Damage Reduction variant, both of which work well (especially together) to make low-armor settings work. Classes don't HAVE to worry about armor because they get the defense bonuses, but any armor they do have also gives a pretty good bonus in the form of DR.

Both good ideas which I had not considered. Armor as Damage Reduction could be an intriguing way to differentiate between Iron, Bronze, and Wood. The Class Defense Bonuses look a bit odd to me - why does a cleric get a higher bonus than a barbarian? That will need some work.


If I were you, I would consider how the cultures view different magic sources. Are sorcerors considered blessed, or cursed? That would make some nice backstory either way.

First, let me assure you that I'm looking. Second, near as I can tell, most magic here should be divine in nature. If anyone has sources which say otherwise, I'd love to see them.

Mercenary Pen
2009-01-18, 07:21 PM
You might also want to check out the Vote up a campaign setting (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=98325) thread, because the campaign setting currently under construction there is being based thematically around the Arabian Nights, which is itself set nearby in geographical location- even if the emphasis is somewhat different.

I suspect that certain conversions could easily be made (mostly involving the creation of iconic creatures and maybe a little bit of re-mapping and re-fluffing), to give you a reasonable approximation of your setting.

Thane of Fife
2009-01-18, 09:57 PM
You might also want to check out the Vote up a campaign setting (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=98325) thread, because the campaign setting currently under construction there is being based thematically around the Arabian Nights, which is itself set nearby in geographical location- even if the emphasis is somewhat different.

I suspect that certain conversions could easily be made (mostly involving the creation of iconic creatures and maybe a little bit of re-mapping and re-fluffing), to give you a reasonable approximation of your setting.

While the Hourglass of Zihaja is definitely something I've been keeping an eye on, a world based on the Arabian Nights should have a completely different flavor than what I want.

Zihaja is a god who hangs out in the background and most people are unaware of; I want gods who actively protect and lead not only individuals, but whole armies. The Arabian Nights feature lots of genies and sorcerers and rogues, and most of those are things I'm not particularly interested in. I want a game of warriors and priests, with almost all magic coming from the gods. So, while I'm sure that the VUACS will be good, I don't think this will be as easy as a simple refluffing of that.

Satyr
2009-01-19, 05:12 AM
I think I have seen a line of books about ancient times setting, with stuff like the Trojan Wars, bibilcal times, Babylon, etc. I just can't remember where (and I don't know anything about their quality).

Have you read Gilgamesh? It is probably the oldest written lore we have access to, and it is full of babylonian mythology. Including undead things eating the living. And temple prostitution.


With the code of Hammurabi, ou have the base for juridiction in your setting.

Besides, there is a very comprehensive collection about Babylonian history (http://history-world.org/babylonia.htm)somewhere on the net.

KevLar
2009-01-19, 11:52 AM
Sword & Sorcery's Ancient Kingdoms: Mesopotamia (http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Kingdoms-Mesopotamia-Sword-Sorcery/dp/1588469948), perhaps?

And Green Ronin has the Mythic Vistas series. Testament: Roleplaying in the Biblical Era (http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=1380) is relevant.

Stycotl
2009-01-19, 05:14 PM
I've actually been somewhat trying to distance myself from that, in that, while Dark Sun is great, it doesn't really have the feel I want.

you'll need to specify what things you don't feel are the right fit for what you want when you talk about conan and dark sun, because both of those fantasy worlds were heavily based on mesopotamia. dark sun has everything that you said you wanted on your list. it just has other things too, like cannibalistic halflings and stuff.

be specific.

i love mesopotamian settings. i've played a few in dnd, especially in dark sun, and also in white wolf games, using vampire and mage. any of these settings can be tailored to how you want them.

Thane of Fife
2009-01-19, 11:06 PM
Besides, there is a very comprehensive collection about Babylonian history somewhere on the net.

Thanks for the link - I've also been looking at Sacred Texts (http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/index.htm).


you'll need to specify what things you don't feel are the right fit for what you want when you talk about conan and dark sun, because both of those fantasy worlds were heavily based on mesopotamia. dark sun has everything that you said you wanted on your list. it just has other things too, like cannibalistic halflings and stuff.

Well, Hyboria, while it has a vaguely similar despotism style, is generally too secular for what I'm imagining, as well as making the supernatural rarer than I'd like.

Dark Sun, on the other hand, is a bit harder to define. First, while wizards aren't exactly encouraged on Athas, they're still a core part of the setting, and I'm really considering just ditching them altogether in favor of a more priestly approach to magic. Second, I'd rather leave psionics out of this completely - they don't really fit the ancient feel I'm interested in. And perhaps most importantly, while Dark Sun is largely about a hostile landscape, with points of light dotting it, I almost want the opposite. While this setting won't be the most wonderful place to wander through the wilderness, I'd really like almost a Points of Darkness approach - the cities here are both the safe zones and the most dangerous places in the world. Monsters (generally) aren't just wild creatures looking for food, they're entities actively sent by the gods to accomplish specific goals.

Samurai Jill
2009-01-19, 11:18 PM
All sounds very well and good and interesting, except for this:

5. A combination of mighty empires and powerful city-states, with small villages and towns being scarce.
Basic economic theory will tell you this is impossible, particularly with low tech levels- it took at least 2 farmers to support 1 city dweller/craftsman throughout most of history. Small villages and towns were just less interesting because the middle-classes were almost non-existent- no important mid-level NPCs to talk to. But by your description, I'm guessing you want something mythical in the style of homer, so it's unlikely to come up much either way.

What historical period do you want to base this off? As far back as Ancient Sumeria and the Epic of Gilgamesh, or as recent as the rise of the Achaemenid Persians and birth of Zoroastrianism?

Thane of Fife
2009-01-19, 11:55 PM
Basic economic theory will tell you this is impossible, particularly with low tech levels- it took at least 2 farmers to support 1 city dweller/craftsman throughout most of history. Small villages and towns were just less interesting because the middle-classes were almost non-existent- no important mid-level NPCs to talk to. But by your description, I'm guessing you want something mythical in the style of homer, so it's unlikely to come up much either way.

I suspect that you're right, and that large cities will be more along the line of important areas than the only centers of population. At the same time, though, this is a fantasy setting and doesn't really need to follow real world economics. If the gods are sufficiently at war, for example, then it becomes more efficient to keep your worshippers in a city where you can protect them, and have as many as possible fed by magic, then to allow them to be picked off by enemy demons.


What historical period do you want to base this off? As far back as Ancient Sumeria and the Epic of Gilgamesh, or as recent as the rise of the Achaemenid Persians and birth of Zoroastrianism?

Much closer to the former than the latter, though I've been looking mostly at Assyria, and as far as that goes, I'd be looking mostly at the Old and Middle Assyrian periods.

In all honesty, though, it will most likely end up as the traditional sort of mish-mash of stuff from the region, just like default D&D includes elements from the Dark Ages through to the early Renaissance.

Samurai Jill
2009-01-20, 12:37 AM
I suspect that you're right, and that large cities will be more along the line of important areas than the only centers of population. At the same time, though, this is a fantasy setting and doesn't really need to follow real world economics. If the gods are sufficiently at war, for example, then it becomes more efficient to keep your worshippers in a city where you can protect them, and have as many as possible fed by magic, than to allow them to be picked off by enemy demons.
I'd hope this would be the exception, rather than the rule, since feeding large populations would be pretty taxing, even for deities. Speaking of which- if you intend to have Gods intervening so directly in the lives of mortals, I would suggest being able to detail them as playable personalities unto themselves in some regard.

In all honesty, though, it will most likely end up as the traditional sort of mish-mash of stuff from the region, just like default D&D includes elements from the Dark Ages through to the early Renaissance.
True. Sounds interesting. The simplification of armour, in particular, opens up possibilities for a very different combat style.

Blue_C.
2009-01-20, 06:33 AM
Both good ideas which I had not considered. Armor as Damage Reduction could be an intriguing way to differentiate between Iron, Bronze, and Wood. The Class Defense Bonuses look a bit odd to me - why does a cleric get a higher bonus than a barbarian? That will need some work.

To answer your question here, its because Clerics get access to all armor and shields, while barbarians only get up to Medium armor.

And now I'll just randomly type my impressions as I think them.

It may be a bit more than what you intend, but have you considered generic classes (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/genericClasses.htm), with the proviso that spellcasters are all divine?

From what you are saying, I'm getting the impression that a typical adventuring party is not going to be a band of grave robbers and mercenaries for hire; instead their primary patron will be their cities governing deity. Not the high priest, king, or chamberlain, Ishtar herself is going to meet the party in a bar with a map and a handful of gold coins, and probably have a beer with them while she's there. And that campaigns are, in the long run, going to revolve around advancing your god at the expense of others.

In the matter of dungeons, with a setting this young, there aren't going to be too many "ancient ruins" and such to find. An abandoned city or two, where a century ago a city lost and a rival deity blasted it into smithereens, but that's going to be it, I think.

Are the various races going to be represented? Because I think having elves around that have clear, adult memories of a time when no cities existed at all is going to be...disconcerting. On the other hand, their explanation of the rise of civillization might be insteresting.

"The dwarves saw our little herb gardens and insisted on learning the technique. We taught them how to sow seeds, with wonder, because they'd never shown the urge to build before, only destroy. It wasn't until our wandering priests saw, in the tenth year after, the large fields of hops owned by dwarves but tended by human and halfling hands that it all began to make sense. From there they made silos for the grain, cool rooms for the beer, dedicated houses for the breweries, then temples; it was most intriguing. But it wasn't until the gnomes came up with distillery that we really began to worry."

DracoDei
2009-01-20, 06:47 AM
"The dwarves saw our little herb gardens and insisted on learning the technique. We taught them how to sow seeds, with wonder, because they'd never shown the urge to build before, only destroy. It wasn't until our wandering priests saw, in the tenth year after, the large fields of hops owned by dwarves but tended by human and halfling hands that it all began to make sense. From there they made silos for the grain, cool rooms for the beer, dedicated houses for the breweries, then temples; it was most intriguing. But it wasn't until the gnomes came up with distillery that we really began to worry."

So much truth and win.

And the dragons with NO idea of what abilities they might develop next... (well, not unless they nagged their diety until he indulged them...)

Thane of Fife
2009-01-20, 12:28 PM
Speaking of which- if you intend to have Gods intervening so directly in the lives of mortals, I would suggest being able to detail them as playable personalities unto themselves in some regard.

Oh, there are definitely plans for something along those lines.


To answer your question here, its because Clerics get access to all armor and shields, while barbarians only get up to Medium armor.

Yeah, I figured that out, but it still seems wrong.


It may be a bit more than what you intend, but have you considered generic classes, with the proviso that spellcasters are all divine?

Generic Classes have, in fact, been considered. I'm still trying to decide whether I want to use them or not. Thoughts, anybody?


From what you are saying, I'm getting the impression that a typical adventuring party is not going to be a band of grave robbers and mercenaries for hire; instead their primary patron will be their cities governing deity. Not the high priest, king, or chamberlain, Ishtar herself is going to meet the party in a bar with a map and a handful of gold coins, and probably have a beer with them while she's there. And that campaigns are, in the long run, going to revolve around advancing your god at the expense of others.

While you would certainly be correct that the PCs probably won't be the traditional grave-robbing mercenaries, the rest I'm less sure about. While the gods may very possibly give them their missions, they probably wouldn't pay them that much - Ishtar, for example, would simply expect the PCs to say OK because she's a goddess. And if they refuse, she might throw a temper tantrum and have her demons attack them. And possibly the rest of the city. At which point other gods might say, "Hey guys, you started this. You've got to clean it up."

If the PCs want payment, they'll be more likely to do work at the behest of their priest-king. War, for example.


In the matter of dungeons, with a setting this young, there aren't going to be too many "ancient ruins" and such to find. An abandoned city or two, where a century ago a city lost and a rival deity blasted it into smithereens, but that's going to be it, I think.

You would be right that ancient ruins probably wouldn't work, though there will almost certainly be some abandoned temple cities. There will also be places which are just odd and supernatural - 'at the top of that mountain lives the great king of the storm demons, Ipshu.'

And deities will almost certainly not be blasting cities to smithereens. There will usually be rival deities protecting settlements. So war has to be fought through mortals.

I envision wars in this setting having a few stages:

1. The demon attack: The gods of one city basically unleash their demons on an enemy city, which is protected by its Shedu and other guardian demons (and possibly PCs).

2. The battle: Eventually, both sides muster an army and meet on some big field somewhere.

3. The assault: The winner of the battle attacks the enemy city. Because of the immense power of a priest-king atop a ziggurat, the defending city's ruler is basically what the battle hinges on. And now the PCs have something to do - fight their way through any unoccupied defenders and slay said priest-king.

If you win, then you can start taking over and/or slaughtering the populace.


Are the various races going to be represented? Because I think having elves around that have clear, adult memories of a time when no cities existed at all is going to be...disconcerting. On the other hand, their explanation of the rise of civillization might be insteresting.

If I do include them, it will most likely be as non-PC races. I'll need to think more about it.

Blue_C.
2009-01-20, 03:01 PM
So much truth and win.

And the dragons with NO idea of what abilities they might develop next... (well, not unless they nagged their diety until he indulged them...)

I hadn't considered the dragons.

And while I was joking, many anthropologists believe that creating a steady supply of grain for beer was the impetus behind agriculture, and thus civilization. Granted, beer then wasn't exactly Bud Light, and contributed positively to a well balanced diet, but still.


Generic Classes have, in fact, been considered. I'm still trying to decide whether I want to use them or not. Thoughts, anybody?

The reason I suggested them is three fold. 1, the disconnect between classic 3.5 d20 classes and generic classes would likely make the weapon and armor changes easier to accept. 2, I think the generic classes may be a way to connect a PC with his character background: The nobility study magical arts, and intercede directly with a city's deity; their immediate servants and slaves fill all their temporal needs from tax collecting to bathing; and the lowest class work the fields and environs or fight in their god's army, as needed. 3, the spellcaster class lends itself more readily to the image of priest-kings and queens than either the cleric or druid classes, let alone something like a paladin.

Thane of Fife
2009-01-20, 05:17 PM
1, the disconnect between classic 3.5 d20 classes and generic classes would likely make the weapon and armor changes easier to accept

Weapon and armor changes are probably not going to be enormous - some of the best weapons will be disappearing (most of the swords, certain bows, crossbows, etc) and the best armor will be rarer (but apparently they did, in fact, have plate mail and such in Ancient Mesopotamia).


2, I think the generic classes may be a way to connect a PC with his character background: The nobility study magical arts, and intercede directly with a city's deity; their immediate servants and slaves fill all their temporal needs from tax collecting to bathing; and the lowest class work the fields and environs or fight in their god's army, as needed.

Now that is intriguing. I had been considering making class into a race replacement sort of thing, but that sounds good, too.


3, the spellcaster class lends itself more readily to the image of priest-kings and queens than either the cleric or druid classes, let alone something like a paladin.

This is certainly true. Though I would probably want to modify the spell list a bit. Even if I kept the base classes, a large number of them would be disappearing.

The other option, of course, would be to make new classes, but that would be a lot of work.



General Rules and Stuff:
These are things which I believe I'm going to want/need to represent.

1. Bronze vs. Iron gear. This should be easy enough. Normally, they both function as normal, but get bonuses or penalties against each other = bronze armor, for example, may have decreased damage reduction against iron weapons.

2. Divine Rules. Specifically, I'm considering rules which allow PCs to gradually ascend. I think that using the Reputation rules is probably the best place to start with this (it's not entirely in theme, but I think it's interesting enough and fits with the new world idea sufficiently to be worth including).

3. Magic Items. Sort of along with the ascendance bit, I'm considering rules which will allow the PCs' gear to grow somewhat as they become more legendary. This will probably be connected to the divinity bit, if they're both included.

4. Defense Bonus and Armor as Damage Reduction will probably both be used. I don't want armor to be too common, really.

Thane of Fife
2009-01-21, 11:41 AM
Alright, here's one of the first creatures I've worked up for the setting - it's an Alu, which is basically a demon which attacks sleeping individuals, covers them 'like a sheet,' and suffocates them. Note that this is the creature's stat-block as if it were in a normal game. Comments and critiques welcome.


Alu
Size/Type: Medium Outsider
Hit Dice: 5d8+5 (27 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: fly 30 ft. (perfect)
Armor Class: 16, touch 16, flat-footed 13 (+3 deflection, +3 dex)
Base Attack/Grapple: +5/+9
Attack: Bite +9 melee (1d4+4)
Full Attack: Bite +9 melee (1d4+4)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Suffocation, Improved Grab
Special Qualities: Gaseous Form at will, Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +4
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 10
Skills: Spot +8, Listen +8, Hide +11, Move Silently +21 (+10 racial bonus), Open Lock +11, Disable Device +7, Sense Motive +8
Feats: Improved Grapple, Iron Will, Great Fortitude
Enviroment: Any
Organization: Solitary
Challange Rating: 4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always Chaotic Evil
Advancement: ??
Level Adjustment:

Suffocation
Any creature grappled by an Alu is pulled into its folds and begins to suffocate. Any round in which the creature attempts to resist the grapple counts as 4 rounds of suffocation.

An Alu is an odd creature which has little in the way of an actual shape. Typically, these demons are controlled by deities, who use them as silent killers. An Alu's preferred method of killing is to come across a sleeping individual and suffocate him.

They are not natural creatures, and have no need for food or sleep. Almost always under the loose control of some deity, they generally have no desires or needs other than killing, and do not bother to collect treasure of any kind.

Alu are often among the types of creatures used to attack rival cities prior to the start of an actual war.

DracoDei
2009-01-21, 04:02 PM
Ne Plus Ultra stealth is generally reserved for ethereal and Epic creatures, unless there is STRONG support in the mythology, I think you should re-arrange the skill-points to include Move Silently, and then give it a +10 to +20 racial bonus to Move Silently.

Thane of Fife
2009-01-23, 11:44 PM
Alright - the perfect stealth is gone now.

On to more normal campaign world stuff: races.

Elves:
As mentioned, the whole ancient people thing doesn't quite work with the whole new world idea. So elves are out. Half-elves, too.

Gnomes and Halflings:
I don't think either if these races really fits - gnomes are too not human, while halflings are too soft for this difficult life. So they're both out.

Dwarves:
Dwarves don't really seem to fit in with the culture, but at the same time, I like the idea of tying them to bronze, somehow.

Nephilim:
First of the probable new races are the nephilim. I might use rules roughly similar to the Half-Giant rules for them. In essence, they're big, tough brutes.

Winged Genies (Or better name):
Essentially winged humans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winged_genie), these guys are somewhat divine in origin, and are often employed as the protectors of priest-kings.

So that would come out to 4 races, 2 of which will probably need some sort of LA. Since I'd prefer to encourage humans, I might include some background to subtly discourage dwarves.

Intriguingly, all of these races seem to lean slightly towards martial characters, which is good, I suppose.


Looking over this, I'm beginning to pick out a background for the world - this is a new world, one which has not yet grown into the Great Wheel. As such, many of the races which populate most worlds have not yet appeared here. Further, this world is so far cut off from the most powerful gods - the deities of this world are, in actuality, fairly weak in comparison to most settings' deities, and only the strongest will survive when the connection with the Great Wheel is formed. Somewhat aware of this, the gods are obviously interested in increasing their power bases and hopefully ensuring their survival.

Draz74
2009-01-24, 12:18 AM
A well-developed Hobgoblin culture (extremely militant, of course) seems like it would fit well in an Ancient Sumeria setting.

LurkerInPlayground
2009-01-25, 02:45 AM
I think a lot of those races could work with re-skinning to be honest.

Gnomes never get any real fluff anyway that doesn't play them off to be silly comedic relief. So you could work in their own culture. Maybe make them merchants of "exotic" character that are found virtually everywhere you go. There's got to be a work alchemy and illusion into all that.

Dwarves I could see working, with some changes. I'd keep them as master craftsmen to be honest. They have the secret of iron that nobody else does, that makes them great for contrast.

Mind you, it doesn't even have to be steel-making yet. And they might still be limited in the kinds of weapons they can make out of them. (No greatswords made of steel.) And they may not yet have such advanced mining methods that would allow them to gather a large amount of ore. By this method, having a "dwarven sword" could actually be something to brag about, although nobody but a dwarven smith could really know how to repair one.

I do like the bronze idea though -- so they might have a few ironwork/steel pieces here-and-there, but their average soldier is mostly decked out in bronze armor.

Likewise, most magic might be aimed at nullifying the penalties inherent with bronze weapons. While steel or iron is simply the better base for making magic weapons.

Maybe, the dwarves and gnomes are close trading partners. So you can see a gnome selling iron knives as "exotic" goods, although the dwarves will only stubbornly part with anything better.

Personally, I'd prefer to see Djinn as wild and elemental creatures of magic. More inhuman and uncontrollable than anything else.

Thane of Fife
2009-01-25, 10:46 AM
A well-developed Hobgoblin culture (extremely militant, of course) seems like it would fit well in an Ancient Sumeria setting.

Hobgoblins. I knew that there was a humanoid race that would work well, but I couldn't think of it. I think hobgoblins would work well as a kind of outsider race, so they may be the equivalent of the young Persian Empire - just beginning to expand to the point where other powers are starting to worry. I might also make them a monotheistic culture, to put a bit more fear into the other cities.


Gnomes never get any real fluff anyway that doesn't play them off to be silly comedic relief. So you could work in their own culture. Maybe make them merchants of "exotic" character that are found virtually everywhere you go. There's got to be a work alchemy and illusion into all that.

The problem with gnomes isn't that they're comic relief or anything (I try not to use them that way in my settings), but rather that, like with elves and halflings, I don't really see any niche for them. As mentioned, I'm almost certainly going to ditch Arcane magic, which gets rid of everything that makes gnomes interesting. In short, the things that make gnomes gnomes are, in large part, things which I don't think belong in this campaign setting.

You're right that I could use them as traders, but I don't really see any reason why humans and dwarves couldn't handle that.


Dwarves I could see working, with some changes. I'd keep them as master craftsmen to be honest. They have the secret of iron that nobody else does, that makes them great for contrast.

Mind you, it doesn't even have to be steel-making yet. And they might still be limited in the kinds of weapons they can make out of them. (No greatswords made of steel.) And they may not yet have such advanced mining methods that would allow them to gather a large amount of ore. By this method, having a "dwarven sword" could actually be something to brag about, although nobody but a dwarven smith could really know how to repair one.

I do like the bronze idea though -- so they might have a few ironwork/steel pieces here-and-there, but their average soldier is mostly decked out in bronze armor.

They will certainly not have steel - nobody will have steel. There will be iron throughout the world, though it will be rare - most people are still using bronze.

I'm still struggling with just what flavor to give them.


Likewise, most magic might be aimed at nullifying the penalties inherent with bronze weapons. While steel or iron is simply the better base for making magic weapons.

There will, generally, be no penalties associated with bronze weapons - rather, bronze weapons will generally be less effective against iron armor, and bronze armor less effective against iron weapons.


Personally, I'd prefer to see Djinn as wild and elemental creatures of magic. More inhuman and uncontrollable than anything else.

I believe that you're thinking of Arabic-style djinn. These are not those. These are much closer to guardian spirits, and would basically be the equivalent of normal Aasimar, creatures inclined towards good and protectiveness. There is nothing wild or elemental about this kind of djinn.

Blue_C.
2009-01-25, 03:16 PM
About your winged humans, there's a race in Races of the Wild that gradually gains the ability to fly as it levels, and is +0 LA. You may want to check that out. Also, I liked "Talos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talos)" as a name for the race.

From what I understand, the primary force behind civilization on this world is going to be the resulting population boom and what it will do for a deity's power base, not agriculture like it was on Earth, yes? If so, you might want to include a counter-civilization culture consisting of creatures that reject the concept of cities. Human tribes could work for this, but it also opens up the door for one of the traditionally savage races, such as kobolds, goblins, or even drow. You have an idea of a monotheistic empire; this batch of people can be those that reject deities entirely, worshiping the four elements, the five energies, sand, whatever makes sense.

Thane of Fife
2009-01-26, 08:21 AM
From what I understand, the primary force behind civilization on this world is going to be the resulting population boom and what it will do for a deity's power base, not agriculture like it was on Earth, yes? If so, you might want to include a counter-civilization culture consisting of creatures that reject the concept of cities. Human tribes could work for this, but it also opens up the door for one of the traditionally savage races, such as kobolds, goblins, or even drow. You have an idea of a monotheistic empire; this batch of people can be those that reject deities entirely, worshiping the four elements, the five energies, sand, whatever makes sense.

In a nutshell, this is what I'm thinking about as the 'major drive:'

This is a new world, one which has not yet fallen into its place on the Great Wheel. It is populated by creatures native to it; it boasts no connections to the other planes. Even the gods and the dead from this world simply live in different places upon it. And yet, these gods are not gods in the same sense as on other worlds. These gods are merely the most powerful spirits/demons on this world.

This will not always be true; eventually the world will be united with the multiverse. When this happens, gods from the outside will flood in, looking to secure new worshippers. The gods who live here currently will almost certainly be unable to compete with beings who can claim huge power bases on numerous other prime material worlds. They'll likely get shut out of worshippers and lose their divinity. Unless they can secure enough worshippers before that happens to be able to at least survive when the 'new gods' arrive.

The gods know this. Mortals don't. The gods need to secure as many worshippers as possible or be destroyed. Some form alliances, others prefer to work alone. But they all desperately need worshippers, and they're willing to spend any amount of power to get them. These gods are active in the world because they have to be. This is happening at the same time that the first civilizations are being born. There's a sort of synergy between them - the gods help to protect the mortals, and the mortals help to spread the word of the gods.

Draz74
2009-01-26, 12:48 PM
Hobgoblins. I knew that there was a humanoid race that would work well, but I couldn't think of it. I think hobgoblins would work well as a kind of outsider race, so they may be the equivalent of the young Persian Empire - just beginning to expand to the point where other powers are starting to worry. I might also make them a monotheistic culture, to put a bit more fear into the other cities.
You're welcome. :smallbiggrin:


The problem with gnomes isn't that they're comic relief or anything (I try not to use them that way in my settings), but rather that, like with elves and halflings, I don't really see any niche for them. As mentioned, I'm almost certainly going to ditch Arcane magic, which gets rid of everything that makes gnomes interesting. In short, the things that make gnomes gnomes are, in large part, things which I don't think belong in this campaign setting.

You're right that I could use them as traders, but I don't really see any reason why humans and dwarves couldn't handle that.
One idea I'm using in one of my settings is "merged" dwarves and gnomes. A single race, mostly like Dwarves, but smaller, and a little less gruff. Even though they're more like Dwarves, they're called "Gnomes."

Perhaps whatever dwarf/gnome option you go with, a flavor possibility is to give them a bit of Egyptian. Mesopotamia and Egypt interacted a little bit starting very early on.


They will certainly not have steel - nobody will have steel. There will be iron throughout the world, though it will be rare - most people are still using bronze.
Note that, in real life, there were at least a few decades (maybe even centuries) when the Hittites had a monopoly on iron and guarded it closely. So the precedent is there for iron to be pretty exclusive to one culture.


I believe that you're thinking of Arabic-style djinn. These are not those. These are much closer to guardian spirits, and would basically be the equivalent of normal Aasimar, creatures inclined towards good and protectiveness. There is nothing wild or elemental about this kind of djinn.
Sounds cool. Is djinn really the best name for them, though? Because I think of "djinn" being rather exclusive to the Arabic interpretation.

Thane of Fife
2009-01-26, 05:59 PM
One idea I'm using in one of my settings is "merged" dwarves and gnomes. A single race, mostly like Dwarves, but smaller, and a little less gruff. Even though they're more like Dwarves, they're called "Gnomes."

The thing is, I see no reason to bother. Dwarves sort of fit the setting. Gnomes don't. I did something vaguely similar to this with Ketemia (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=90629), but it seems somewhat pointless here.


Perhaps whatever dwarf/gnome option you go with, a flavor possibility is to give them a bit of Egyptian. Mesopotamia and Egypt interacted a little bit starting very early on.

While I've certainly considered some Egyptian flavored cultures, I don't know that dwarves would work - the Ancient Egyptian mind often seems obsessed with death, and that doesn't seem too dwarvish. Perhaps humans, or perhaps some new race with animal heads.

People interested in that idea?


Note that, in real life, there were at least a few decades (maybe even centuries) when the Hittites had a monopoly on iron and guarded it closely. So the precedent is there for iron to be pretty exclusive to one culture.

Looking into this, I find that they were indeed said to be more skilled at iron-working, which seems to fit with dwarves. So very well, dwarves can maintain their 'master craftsmen' bit.


Sounds cool. Is djinn really the best name for them, though? Because I think of "djinn" being rather exclusive to the Arabic interpretation.

Problem is that it's the right word. I suppose I could call them Fravashi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fravashi) or Faravahar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faravahar).

Eldan
2009-01-27, 03:36 AM
For the Egyptians, you probably shouldn't use dwarves, though I don't see what else you could use. They certainly share the egyptians love for monumental stone architecture, but the rest, especially the prominent agriculture and the connection to the river and seasons, the focus on death and the worship of rulers as god-like doesn't reeally fit.
Now, seeing as they are so focused on preserving their dead, maybe make them a really short-lived species? They believe that they only live, let's say thirty years at first, then being reborn in some remote place, which is better in every single aspect, but only if they were burried correctly? Given that this place would, given the basics of the setting, even be on the same planet, it would certainly explain the death obession.
Also, if they believed, similar to the egyptians, that the more stuff they were burried with, the richer they would be in the next world, I can see them being greedy and gathering wealth to bury.

Another_Poet
2009-01-27, 02:48 PM
Awesome. glad to see this thread. Here are my suggestions in no particular order.

1) Gods of the masses. You say you want gods to be a part of everyday life, and I think that's great. However I fantasy settings that try to capture this end up portraying the gods as acting like the local king or meddling in every human affair there is. That's silly; the ancient gods generally take interest only in the mighty deeds of heroes and kings, and their realm is still faraway and hard to access. So here are two possible ways to get that "active gods" feel without turning gods into annoying micro-managers.

-Offerings grant power. When a character makes a sacrifice to the gods they may be able to gain special diving favour. A sacrifice consists of two separate rolls: a Craft (Sacrifice) check to determine how worthy teh sacrifice is, and a Diplomacy check to determine how well the sacrificer addresses the gods. Depending on the results, various bonuses or one-time abilities can be obtained. Details:
A standard sacrifice would consist of a sheep or other relatively small animal, however, these animals should be purchased from the local temple (thus supporting the clergy) in order to be effective. Thus the cost is more than a typical animal of its type, usually 2-5 gp. Devotees are encouraged to pay more for the animal if they are able (again, as a sort of donation) so a wealthy character might spend 20, 50, or even hundreds of gold pieces on a single sheep.

The sheep must then be sacrificed. This is done in a ceremonial style, and requires more care and finesse than just slaughtering an animal for meat. Thus, a Craft (Sacrifice) check must be made. As long as the result is 10 or more, the offering is worthy of the gods and can be accepted; a lower result means that the offering was fumbled and unworthy. It can still be eaten in either case.

Other sorts of offerings can also be made, provided they are clean and well-made (masterwork weapons, precious gems, etc.) but the offering must be destroyed as part of the ritual, just as a sheep must be slaughtered. It cannot be used again afterward. A Craft (Sacrifice) check should still be made to determine gracefully well the devotee presents and destroys the offering. This is separate from any Craft checks that were made to build the item in the first place.

Craft (Sacrifice) checks higher than 10 may impart a bonus on the prayer that follows. A 15 yields a +1 circumstance bonus; a 20 yields a +2 circumstance bonus, and so on. The GM may give additional bonuses if the offering was particularly expensive or hard to obtain (for instance, a 500 gp all-white bull with red eyes; a cedar carving that took numerous craft checks to make; etc.).

In the event of a successful Craft (Sacrifice) check, the devotee may go on to implore the deities for help. This takes the form of a Diplomacy check, plus any modifiers from a high Craft (Sacrifice) roll. At the GM's option, Perform (Oration) may be used instead of Diplomacy.

The character states his or her case to the dieties, attempting to show that they are worthy of special consideration or blessings. The DC for this check is typically quite high; at least 20, but easily raised by 5 or more if the character has committed great crimes, has not shown previous religious devotion, chose an inappropriate offering, or is in the employ of someone whose schemes are viewed unfavourably by the gods.

In the case of a successful Diplomacy check, the character may receive one of these boons:
-Free reroll on any one check in the next 7 days
-A Truestrike effect (+20 attack) on he next attack made.
-Recover from ability damage at twice the normal rate for 24 hours.
+5 on all Diplomacy roll for 24 hours
+4 on next saving throw.
-A stroke of good luck, such as finding a friendly NPC in the middle of a desert or being mistaken for someone important upon entering town.
-Next attack that would kill character instead places character at -9 hp and stable (24 hour duration)
etc.

Which effect the character gains is decided by the deity being petitioned, although the character can attempt to steer the deity toward a particular type of effect by requesting it in the prayer.

Alternately, a character who offers an animal sacrifice and succeeds on the Diplomacy check can look at the animal's liver and divine the future, receiving a free Augury (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/augury.htm) effect on the spot.

-Devotion grants blessings. This is an idea I've taken from the brilliant Iron Kingdoms setting. In that setting, every character who chooses a patron deity receives some special blessing related to theat deity. It may be as simple as a +1 to Intimidate (war deity) or a +1 to Ride checks (deity of roads and travel). But it's quite easy to make a list of the campaign deities and choose a skill or other roll that each of them benefits, based on their portfolios. Of course, players naturally choose the deity that will help out their class skills the most, but that's exactly how it should be - polytheist bankers follow a god of wealth, polytheist sailors follow a god of the sea, and they do it (quite often) because they want soem guidance in their chosen profession or some luck when they're in a tight spot.

2) Cedar is Good. Lebanon was known for its cedar and this fragrant, water-resistant and beautiful wood took on a major role in religious artwork across the ancient Near and Middle East. Even Gilgamesh carved and sacrificed a massive cedar door, which he set adrift down a river, after his battle with Phunbaba the guardian of the Cedar Forest.

3) You can use all-bronze weapons in your world and not have to make significant changes to weapons. Bastard Swords and Greatswords are the only D&D weapons that definitively cannot be made from Bronze, and you can replace those with Tooth Swords (long wooden swords with rows of bronze or bone blades set into the sides) so that people can still swing big two-handers, if you want. See my Bronze Age Armour chart for he armour side of things:
http://img249.imageshack.us/img249/5062/bronzeagearmorrx1.jpg

Obviously if you get rid of the Druid class then it's even easier to make the switch (and in that case you can ignore my footnote #5 at the bottom of the chart).

4) I think temple prostitute should be a prestige class. People nowadays get a lot of giggles out of the idea, but it was an important and sacral job at the time. Men (especially warriors) were widely seen as wild, dangerous beings who could be tamed and civilised by intercourse with women. Women, in other words, had the sacred ability to quench the fire of male macho behaviour. Thus, having a way for unmarried men to sleep with women was considered an important method of reducing violent crime within a city, and the temple prostitute took care of that. High-ranking temple prostitutes would also be on hand to "welcome" visiting kings or warriors from faraway lands, thus performing an important diplomatic function. I think that you could make a cool class around this idea without making it too lascivious (find a name that doesn't have "prostitute" in it, for starters). I'm not sure whether Bard or Cleric is a better candidate for this type of thing, maybe a little both of both. Heck, you could make it a base class that is essentially a divine bard. These women were priests, after all.

5) Barbarians should be a feared but powerful class. I'd consider using the Pathfinder barbarian if I were you, as that pool of rage points is so much cooler than just rages/day. Gilgamesh's companion was essentially a high-level barbarian.

6) Don't neglect ancient Greek sources when looking for inspiration. There was a lot in common even before Alexander.

7) If I were you, I would try to brainstorm up a long list of climates/biomes/terrain types. It was pretty diverse. Obviously, desert was abundant past the edges of the fertile river basins. But desert is pretty generic. You might do some reading on wikipedia and have a goal of coming up with at least 5 different types of desert, so that you can vary terrain hazards and weather a bit. Coastal regions would also be very diverse in their terrain types, as would mountains. Forest would be less common but they were still around, and swamps definitely make for good adventuring places (especially with the crocodiles they had, and have, in that region).

8) Many adventures would center around finding and slaying one particular epic monster, rather than hordes of goblins or the like. Likewise, quests for certain divine artefacts or quests to go and find the entrance to the gods' world (or the land of the dead) would be very genre appropriate.

OK that's what I have for now. I'm eager to see how this shapes up.

ap

Thane of Fife
2009-01-28, 11:26 AM
Wow, lots of ideas, there:


1) Gods of the masses.

What I am thinking so far is that gods tend to work in three ways:

1. Gods usually work through spirits and demons. For example, Uhtu might release a couple Alu upon a city with orders to kill those who blaspheme against him or who worship one of his specific rivals. There are also more benevolent spirits such as Shedu and the Winged Genies mentioned above who may try to stop these spirits - these more benevolent creatures tend to require some effort to maintain. For example, a tablet depicting a Shedu might be buried under the doorstep of a house to protect it from those that would do harm.

2. Magic. First, all magic is divine. So sorcerers and wizards are out. More importantly, though, there will be spells somewhat like 4th edition rituals, which will require more effort and such, but will have their own effects and can be used by anybody. For example, one of these might exorcise demons from a house, or set up some sort of ward. These will be dependent on the whims of the gods, and hence aren't surefire things, but they're better than nothing.

3. The Gods themselves only interact with great beings, as you mentioned. They will most likely tend to be easily-insulted and not particularly forgiving.



-Offerings grant power.

That is an intriguing idea, and one which I may very well use somehow.


2) Cedar is Good. Lebanon was known for its cedar and this fragrant, water-resistant and beautiful wood took on a major role in religious artwork across the ancient Near and Middle East. Even Gilgamesh carved and sacrificed a massive cedar door, which he set adrift down a river, after his battle with Phunbaba the guardian of the Cedar Forest.

Interesting.


3) You can use all-bronze weapons in your world and not have to make significant changes to weapons.

There won't be significant changes to weapons, but there will be some. Crossbows, Oriental Weapons, and a large number of polearms will probably be out (don't expect any guisarmes or halberds). The bastard sword and greatsword will most likely also disappear.

Your armor chart looks lovely, and I am now torn between using it and keeping armor mostly as is but using Armor as Ramage Reduction and Defense Bonus.


4) I think temple prostitute should be a prestige class.

It's something I've been thinking about. Possibly as one of several 'flavors' of cleric. A Prestige Class could work, too, though.


5) Barbarians should be a feared but powerful class.

I had, in fact, been thinking about using Generic Classes. But that actually makes barbarians unplayable.

A Vote, Good Citizens.

Select one of these four options:

1. Use normal classes, excluding Bard, Druid, Monk, Paladin (probably), Ranger (probably), Sorcerer, Wizard (unless you can think of good reasons to allow them)

2. Use generic classes

3. Some normal classes, some new classes - likely additions include some variants on: Prophet, Temple Prostitute, Charioteer, Guardian

4. Use of generic classes, but rather modified to represent basically social classes (so, basically, would probably split the Generic Warrior into Hero and Wild Man, or something like that).

Draz74
2009-01-28, 12:03 PM
Generic Classes are only a good idea if you're ready to do a lot of work to fix 'em up and make them work. If you're planning on that, then it would be no problem to (for example) make a bunch of feats that make Barbarians work just fine.

Your Option 1 is incredibly limited, though -- only 4 classes (Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue, Cleric)? Assuming you don't end up picking Generic Classes, I think you could at least add to this list:

- Divine Bard (representing a temple prostitute, or a wandering wise-man storyteller, or just a less warlike/more skilled Cleric type)
- Paladin of Tyranny (maybe other alignments too, but LE Paladins definitely seem like they'd fit in the world of Gilgamesh and the Tower of Babel)

Also, Ranger (nonspellcasting variant) is kind of a wild card. I can't think of any particular reason why it would fit well in your setting, but I can't think of any reason it *shouldn't* exist, either. Wilderness Rogue or Scout could also be alternatives.

If you get into splatbook classes, you could also add:

- Favored Soul (seems really appropriate)
- Knight
- Warblade, Crusader if you're ok with Tome of Battle
- Scout, as mentioned before
- Divine-variant Hexblade? maybe unneccessary with Paladin of Tyranny
- Dragon Shaman could possibly be a compromise between "no nature-type magic at all" and "full-fledged druidic magic." It could be reflavored to de-emphasize the dragon aspect, and just become a shaman.

Another_Poet
2009-01-28, 02:24 PM
1. Gods usually work through spirits and demons. For example, Uhtu might release a couple Alu upon a city with orders to kill those who blaspheme against him or who worship one of his specific rivals. There are also more benevolent spirits such as Shedu and the Winged Genies mentioned above who may try to stop these spirits - these more benevolent creatures tend to require some effort to maintain. For example, a tablet depicting a Shedu might be buried under the doorstep of a house to protect it from those that would do harm.

I'd strongly recommend against this. Well, against part of this. WHat a lot of people don't understand about ancient religion (Classical, Egyptian and Mesopotamian alike) is that the people revered the gods as paragons of virtue. We don't se that much because we mostly just read the stories where the gods are slaying people, cursing people, cheating on their spouses etc. But those myths were often taken as metaphorical and were partnered with a rich theology. The people loved their diverse pantheons of gods, and the followers of (for example) Ninurta did not typically make war against the followers of (for example) Enlil. Any given Sumerian might make offerings to Ea, Enlil, Ninurta and five or six other gods in the course of one day. There was no god-versus-god rivalry in trying to gather followers; all the gods encouraged all the followers. People went to war with each other for many secular reasons, but they typically didn't try to convert each other. This was the great age of polytheism, before single-god exclusive worship had been invented.

In fact, one of the few god-versus-god stories we have from Mesopotamia is the flood story. All the gods had agreed in council to destroy humans with a flood, because humans were acting selfishly and wickedly. Ea, one of the gods who had made humanity, pleaded for the other gods to go easy on the humans. But he lost the vote, and the gods prepared the flood. (Notice that the gods are acting together to smite all followers, even their own). Out of love for his creations, Ea betrayed the other gods and arranged for one of the most virtuous humans, a man named Utnapishtim, to overhear Ea talking about the flood with his sister. He made sure Utnapishtim also overheard exactly how big of a boat would be needed and how much food would have to be aboard to survive the flood. Utnapishtim got the hint, and saved (a small portion of) humanity aboard his ark.

So, it's my personal opinion that you will do your campaign setting a great service if you depart from the Greyhawk/Forgotten Realms trope of gods selfishly hoarding followers. Gods can definitely act through demons and spirits, but they might use these beings to challenge great heroes, to lead people to found cities, to end wars, to protect sacred or forbidden knowledge, to guard the entrances to the underworld, to punish those who commit atrocities, etc. Those are all great themes that resonate with the ancient epic feel, whereas gods acting like squabbling children just makes it hard to believe that anyone would worship these beings at all.



There won't be significant changes to weapons, but there will be some. Crossbows, Oriental Weapons, and a large number of polearms will probably be out (don't expect any guisarmes or halberds). The bastard sword and greatsword will most likely also disappear.

Just curious, why get rid of polearms? Very long spears with various fancy tips were a staple of early combat, and (since the pole is wood and the blade is relatively small) they can easily be made from bronze.


Your armor chart looks lovely

w00tles!


3. Some normal classes, some new classes - likely additions include some variants on: Prophet, Temple Prostitute, Charioteer, Guardian

I vote for this one, number 3, but that's probably no surprise.

I would also suggest replacing Cleric with Favoured Soul, as that will keep your only caster class somewhat more balanced with your other classes. It also seems more flavourfully appropriate.

I'd also consider leaving Bard in, perhaps as the only wielder of arcane magic. Or if not, have some means by which characters can get a hold of arcane spells, since taking them out altogether might be a bit heavy-handed. Perhaps arcane spells can still be found in magic items, which are typically made by the gods (or their spirits/monsters). Alternately, there could be rumours that humans made their own magic to challenge the gods before the Flood - part of the reason the Flood was sent at all - and so wizardry is forbidden now. That would give DMs the option of including wizardly artifacts n ruins of pre-flood cities/temples or even have them buried in silt deposits. That would make dowsing for magic items a lucrative profession, and a good plot hook, but watch out because sometimes demons were entombed alongside thesepowerful artifacts....

Also just a thought but for flavour reasons you could change the typical shapes of magic items.
Used to be...............................................I s now
Wands............................................. .......Sceptres
Rods/Staves............................................ Rods/Staves
Scrolls........................................... .........Clay seals
Potions........................................... ........Magic plants, flowers, ointments
Rings............................................. .........Bracelets, crowns, rings

Again, just ideas.

Thane of Fife
2009-01-29, 04:37 PM
Any given Sumerian might make offerings to Ea, Enlil, Ninurta and five or six other gods in the course of one day. There was no god-versus-god rivalry in trying to gather followers; all the gods encouraged all the followers. People went to war with each other for many secular reasons, but they typically didn't try to convert each other. This was the great age of polytheism, before single-god exclusive worship had been invented.

While I would agree with this in general, it's anything but always the case. Judaism and Zoroastrianism both appear in the period being examined here. Akhenaten tried to bring forth the worship of Aten as an almost single-god deity during this period (and was hated for it).


Gods can definitely act through demons and spirits, but they might use these beings to challenge great heroes, to lead people to found cities, to end wars, to protect sacred or forbidden knowledge, to guard the entrances to the underworld, to punish those who commit atrocities, etc. Those are all great themes that resonate with the ancient epic feel, whereas gods acting like squabbling children just makes it hard to believe that anyone would worship these beings at all.

My research indicates that there were demons which just generally attacked people, killing them in their beds, making them sick, or whatever.


Just curious, why get rid of polearms? Very long spears with various fancy tips were a staple of early combat, and (since the pole is wood and the blade is relatively small) they can easily be made from bronze.

While things like pikes and longspears will stay, halberds and voulges and guisarmes and so on are simply too medieval for me.


I would also suggest replacing Cleric with Favoured Soul, as that will keep your only caster class somewhat more balanced with your other classes. It also seems more flavourfully appropriate.

The major problem is that I have access to absolutely no splatbooks. I might tweak the spell list a bit, or boost martial classes or something, but I pretty much need to stick to Core and Homebrew classes.


Or if not, have some means by which characters can get a hold of arcane spells, since taking them out altogether might be a bit heavy-handed.

A few might get squeezed into the cleric list, but in general I don't see why access is needed to them. A large number of Arcane spells are offensive in nature, and, I might be missing something, but that doesn't seem to fit with what I know of Ancient Mesopotamian myth.


I'd also consider leaving Bard in, perhaps as the only wielder of arcane magic.

If I end up making the new classes (which is looking likely), then the Prophet will probably end up as a sort of Divine Bard, based off of Moses.

Belial_the_Leveler
2009-01-29, 06:21 PM
On the subject of gods:
The vast majority of evil entities were the Apostates, immortals that did not acknowledge the sovereignity of Enlil and the other Gods that Decree. These ranged from the pretty common Lilu that sometimes also served Innana to the Ackharru (sumerian vampires) to various spirit entities that could posess people and spread plagues to true demons like Khumbaba, the most powerful of which could threaten even gods (Innana is slain by a bunch of demons commanded by Ereshkigal)
In addition to the above, the deity Ereshkigal (Queen of the Netherworld) does not appear to fit in the standard power structure of the other deities. She commands demons and undead, has slain her sister (when challenged but still...) and threatened the king of the gods that she'd fill the world with the dead-and said king (Enlil) had to listen to her. Despite all that, she's not one of the seven gods that decree.

On the subject of magic:
There are several types of magic users evident in ancient Sumer:
The priests, who wield the power of their deities. Powerful-but their abilities are limited by the decrees of their gods and don't seem to have the same powers. E.g. not all priests can heal, not all can call natural disasters and so on. Consider giving each of the seven chief gods plus Ereshkigal six domains and then have clerics cast spells only from those domains.
The favored of the gods who are the voice of their deities on earth. These seem to have a wider range of powers than priests and various other blessings. Consider using the Favored Soul class.
The alchemists, people who mix potions and oils, perform some healing, make poisons, talismans and wardings. These are quite common in the setting so consider using the Artificer class or similar.
The sorcerous people those that through supernatural lineage or support (usually demonic) have weird powers, usually evil or destructive, or control over spirits, perform various tricks, place or remove curses, perform summonings and banishments but aren't priests. Full-blasting arcane magic doesn't exist but consider using the Warlock as a class.

Another_Poet
2009-01-29, 06:47 PM
While I would agree with this in general, it's anything but always the case. Judaism and Zoroastrianism both appear in the period being examined here. Akhenaten tried to bring forth the worship of Aten as an almost single-god deity during this period (and was hated for it).

Well, the Hebrews overlaps with the end of the period in question, but there were no monotheist tribes that we know of in the early days of the Fertile Crescent. And even the Hebrews did not originally try to convert others to their god or wipe out other gods' followers; they worshipped the one god who had traveled with them as they wandered, and much of their warfare against other gods' followers was a reaction to oppression by those tribes. Much of the Old Testament complaints about other gods are not about the worship of other gods as such, but about Hebrews worshipping other gods.

I don't know nearly as much about Zoroastrianism, but I do know that it represents a (relatively late) reform to a much older body of polytheistic practices and beliefs. The Egyptian example you gave sounds like one person's crusade, which was rejected by the masses of polytheist followers. It kind of underscores how out-of-place the one-god mentality was in the time period in question.

I guess my question for you is, if you're really trying to capture a Mesopotamian feel, why base your entire deity system on a handful or counter-examples rather than on the hundreds of Mesopotamian countries, tribes and city-states who favoured pure polytheism? Is it just a comfort/familiarity thing, coming from other campaign settings? Or are you specifically interested in a Hebrew-v-Canaanite type of setting?

Also, I should note that I'm taking this god talk in the context of game design. If you (or a mod) feel that it is verging too much into real world religion talk, just let me know.



My research indicates that there were demons which just generally attacked people, killing them in their beds, making them sick, or whatever.

Absolutely, although said evil spirits were not considered to be sent by or commanded by the gods. In fact, people turned to the gods or the clergy for relief from such attacks/possessions.


While things like pikes and longspears will stay, halberds and voulges and guisarmes and so on are simply too medieval for me.

Fair enough. I'm sure you're planning on adding some new weapons as well based on period armaments. I'm eager to see what kinds of things, if you wouldn't mind posting them.


The major problem is that I have access to absolutely no splatbooks. I might tweak the spell list a bit, or boost martial classes or something, but I pretty much need to stick to Core and Homebrew classes.

Fair enough. It's not SRD so I can't reproduce it here, though Complete Divine is one of the more common sourcebooks and can probably be found used for cheap. It also has a wide variety of cool divine spells, which would also benefit your no-arcane setting.

I'd also say that using only SRD materials you could produce a FS class by giving a a sorcerer's spontaneous spellcasting progression to a d8 divine caster with cleric saves and no turning undead.



A few might get squeezed into the cleric list, but in general I don't see why access is needed to them. A large number of Arcane spells are offensive in nature, and, I might be missing something, but that doesn't seem to fit with what I know of Ancient Mesopotamian myth.

Fair enough.



If I end up making the new classes (which is looking likely), then the Prophet will probably end up as a sort of Divine Bard, based off of Moses.

Aww, I was hoping it would be more of an oracle/seer type of class. Moses sounds more like a high-level cleric to me. Or a low-level cleric with a really expensive staff.

Draz74
2009-01-29, 06:50 PM
The major problem is that I have access to absolutely no splatbooks. I might tweak the spell list a bit, or boost martial classes or something, but I pretty much need to stick to Core and Homebrew classes.

You do have Unearthed Arcana rules (http://www.d20srd.org/), at least. And while they don't contain the Favored Soul, they do contain some very interesting variants:


This "Divine Bard" (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#bardVariantDivineBard) everyone keeps talking about
The Cloistered Cleric (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#clericVariantCloistere dCleric) - an interesting option, but it doesn't really make the Cleric any weaker, so beware of balance issues
The Spontaneous Cleric (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/spontaneousDivineCasters.htm) - which IMHO makes the Cleric much more flavorful, not to mention weaker in much the same way as the Favored Soul
Another minor Cleric variant (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#cleric) that might be appropriate


The other big way the Favored Soul is "nerfed" compared to the Cleric is just that different aspects of his spellcasting depend on different ability scores, not all just Wisdom-based. You can easily homebrew some change to the Cleric along these lines, if you like.

Thane of Fife
2009-01-29, 09:15 PM
The vast majority of evil entities were the Apostates, immortals that did not acknowledge the sovereignity of Enlil and the other Gods that Decree.

This bit is intriguing and something my research had not turned up.


The priests, who wield the power of their deities. Powerful-but their abilities are limited by the decrees of their gods and don't seem to have the same powers. E.g. not all priests can heal, not all can call natural disasters and so on. Consider giving each of the seven chief gods plus Ereshkigal six domains and then have clerics cast spells only from those domains.
The favored of the gods who are the voice of their deities on earth. These seem to have a wider range of powers than priests and various other blessings. Consider using the Favored Soul class.
The alchemists, people who mix potions and oils, perform some healing, make poisons, talismans and wardings. These are quite common in the setting so consider using the Artificer class or similar.
The sorcerous people those that through supernatural lineage or support (usually demonic) have weird powers, usually evil or destructive, or control over spirits, perform various tricks, place or remove curses, perform summonings and banishments but aren't priests. Full-blasting arcane magic doesn't exist but consider using the Warlock as a class.

I've read bits about all of those but the last one.

Current thoughts are to use Clerics (probably modified) for the first, a new Prophet class for the second, and possibly use the ritual-thingies for the third.


And even the Hebrews did not originally try to convert others to their god or wipe out other gods' followers; they worshipped the one god who had traveled with them as they wandered, and much of their warfare against other gods' followers was a reaction to oppression by those tribes. Much of the Old Testament complaints about other gods are not about the worship of other gods as such, but about Hebrews worshipping other gods.

Oh, certainly.


I guess my question for you is, if you're really trying to capture a Mesopotamian feel, why base your entire deity system on a handful or counter-examples rather than on the hundreds of Mesopotamian countries, tribes and city-states who favoured pure polytheism? Is it just a comfort/familiarity thing, coming from other campaign settings? Or are you specifically interested in a Hebrew-v-Canaanite type of setting?

I wasn't really planning to base the entire deity system on these exceptions - I was simply planning on having them represented to some degree. I think that the chance to depict an almost alien monotheistic culture is a worthwhile one.


Fair enough. I'm sure you're planning on adding some new weapons as well based on period armaments. I'm eager to see what kinds of things, if you wouldn't mind posting them.

I'm considering such additions as the Staff Sling, the Khopesh, and the Sappara. There are probably other weapons which could stand to be introduced, but these are the main ones that come to mind.

And chariots, too.


Aww, I was hoping it would be more of an oracle/seer type of class. Moses sounds more like a high-level cleric to me. Or a low-level cleric with a really expensive staff.

I think that he was a bit less physically martial than a cleric. But he was definitely a prepared spellcaster. But I think that I want to conserve the idea of relatively martial priest-kings.

There could be an oracle-type, but I don't know if it really fits the setting.


You do have Unearthed Arcana rules, at least. And while they don't contain the Favored Soul, they do contain some very interesting variants:

* This "Divine Bard" everyone keeps talking about
* The Cloistered Cleric - an interesting option, but it doesn't really make the Cleric any weaker, so beware of balance issues
* The Spontaneous Cleric - which IMHO makes the Cleric much more flavorful, not to mention weaker in much the same way as the Favored Soul
* Another minor Cleric variant that might be appropriate


I did know that much, though I wasn't aware that the Divine Bard was actually a class.

Another_Poet
2009-01-30, 12:03 AM
I wasn't really planning to base the entire deity system on these exceptions - I was simply planning on having them represented to some degree. I think that the chance to depict an almost alien monotheistic culture is a worthwhile one.

I think if it's seen as a sort of oddity or dangerous cult within the broader setting, or if it's associated with just one country/culture, this could work really well. It'd be interesting to see how the pantheon of polytheist gods view one of their number trying to snuff out polytheist worship.



I'm considering such additions as the Staff Sling, the Khopesh, and the Sappara. There are probably other weapons which could stand to be introduced, but these are the main ones that come to mind.

Yeah, slings of any sort are pretty badass, definitely undervalued by normal D&D rules. Give 'em a range increment of 200 feet and better damage (if firing actual sling bullets rather than rocks). Check out slinging.org if you haven't already.

I hadn't heard of the sappara before, but upon googling it I have a hard time seeing what makes it different from a khopesh. Is it a different size?

You might peruse athas.org to see if there are any good Dark Sun weapons you could pilfer.



And chariots, too.

Absolutely! I was trying to brainstorm about how to make chariots worthwhile in D&D. Mounted combat isn't very useful to start with, and chariots just make it more cumbersome. Ill suited to dungeons and all. Here are some possilities:

1) Chariots moving at full speed grant an extra +2 Dex bonus to the chariot warrior's AC.
2) Chariots provide partial cover (+4 AC bonus) to chariot-warriors. Do not combine this with (1), obviously.
3) Chariots automatically Trample (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#trample) enemies in their path (use the HD, size and other relevant stats of the animal pulling the chariot to determine damage, save DC, etc.).
4) Sickle chariots replace the Trample damage dice with 3d8 and widen the area of Trample by 5' to either side of the chariot.
5) Bonus to Intimidate?


I think that he was a bit less physically martial than a cleric. But he was definitely a prepared spellcaster. But I think that I want to conserve the idea of relatively martial priest-kings.

Martial priest kings, absolutely! This makes me think more of Gilgamesh types though, than of Moses. Maybe it's just my skewed perception.



There could be an oracle-type, but I don't know if it really fits the setting.

Well, every land had its oracles and many were more well known in their time than the Sybil of Delphi in her time. Of course Delphi is more famous to us nowadays.

I think the real problem with a Seer class is not getting it to fit the flavour, but getting enough prophetic class abilities (or spells) at every level to make it interesting, but not broken. I mean you can't start of seeing the future at Level 1 but if you can't, what kind of seer are you?

Also, regarding races:

-I would suggest a watered-down version of the Gnoll. This race could replace Dwarves, Half-Orcs or both as the "physically robust" race. The whole hyena head thing seems too Egyptian to pass up. A suggested form:

Gnolls as they appear in the Monster Manual are a race of evil jackal-headed beings who were originally created to act as hunters and footsoldiers for the gods, but grew twisted and and ran away to serve their own nefarious purposes. When a weakling is born to a clan of gnolls, the runt is typically beaten savagely and left to die of exposure. These gnoll exiles, though weaker than their kin, are still far more robust than humans. Oftentimes they reject the vicious raiding lifestyle of their race and try to fit into human society...

GNOLL EXILE (medium humanoid)
Gnoll exiles possess the following racial traits:
* Strength +2, Constitution +2, Intelligence -2, Charisma -2.
* Size Medium.
* A gnolls base land speed is 30 feet.
* Darkvision out to 60 feet.
* +1 natural armor bonus.
* Automatic Languages: Gnoll. Bonus Languages: Common, Draconic, Elven, Goblin, Orc.
* Favored Class: Ranger. (Or scout, or whatever your setting offers in this area.)
* Level adjustment +0.

I think elves should be replaced with some kind of semi-divine race, something like the Aasimar but watered down to have no LA. Maybe they normally serve as handservants to the gods, but some are given dispensation to wander amongst the mortal races or are left with mortals for reasons unknown.

Raptorans seem like another fitting race, perhaps tweaked to have an ibis look. But adding a flying PC race is a big decision, obviously.

Thane of Fife
2009-01-30, 11:00 AM
I hadn't heard of the sappara before, but upon googling it I have a hard time seeing what makes it different from a khopesh. Is it a different size?

I believe that the Sappara is basically the short sword equivalent of the Khopesh.


You might peruse athas.org to see if there are any good Dark Sun weapons you could pilfer.

They're looking to be pretty Athas-specific. Athas Emporium (http://www.athas.org/products/AE)


Martial priest kings, absolutely! This makes me think more of Gilgamesh types though, than of Moses. Maybe it's just my skewed perception.

What I meant was that the Cleric class would retain being martial, while the Prophet would represent more casting-oriented priests, like Moses.


I think the real problem with a Seer class is not getting it to fit the flavour, but getting enough prophetic class abilities (or spells) at every level to make it interesting, but not broken. I mean you can't start of seeing the future at Level 1 but if you can't, what kind of seer are you?

I'd been thinking that, too.


-I would suggest a watered-down version of the Gnoll. This race could replace Dwarves, Half-Orcs or both as the "physically robust" race.

There was some discussion on this earlier - I believe that the races I'm currently leaning towards are:

Humans
Nephilim (Basically big humans - might use half-giant rules)
Dwarves (Possibly as an Assyrian or Hittite 'guys who use iron' type of people)
Hobgoblins (A vaguely Persian equivalent - sort of a young empire coming into power, but with a weird, monotheistic religion. Yes, I know that that's not a direct Persian equivalent).
Winged Genies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winged_genie) would be the semi-divine race which I was considering.

Gnolls are one which has been under consideration.

Another_Poet
2009-01-30, 11:14 AM
Well, if you already have Dwarves and Hobgoblins then you might give something special to gnollites to make them different. Perhaps the ability to speak with dogs/canines, or some kind of canine empathy. Dunno if that would make them too powerful to be LA +0 but I suspect it'd be okay.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't "nephilim" a word for the gods themselves? Seems like +0 races would be too weak to represent Nephilim. But it's been a while since I've ready anything about those cultures, perhaps I misremember.

ap

Thane of Fife
2009-01-30, 05:27 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't "nephilim" a word for the gods themselves?

I believe that Nephilim is simply a Hebrew word for giants. But they're referenced as being some of the people who inhabited Canaan, I believe, although I've also seen them connected to the pre-flood.


Well, if you already have Dwarves and Hobgoblins then you might give something special to gnollites to make them different. Perhaps the ability to speak with dogs/canines, or some kind of canine empathy. Dunno if that would make them too powerful to be LA +0 but I suspect it'd be okay.

Gnomes get something similar, so it would probably be fine, but if they're to be Egyptian equivalents, then I feel like something more Egyptian in nature could be more interesting. Unfortunately I'm low on ideas. Any thoughts? Anybody?

Thane of Fife
2009-02-04, 08:28 AM
Beginnings of class modifications:

Spells Lists for the Prophet and Priest (Cleric) Classes:

Prophet Spells (Sorted Roughly by Level):
The Prophet is, in general, the major caster. He gets the offensive spells and the debuffs in particular.

Bane
Bless
Cause Fear
Cure Light Wounds
Deathwatch
Doom
Magic Stone
Magic Weapon
Obscuring Mist
Remove Fear

Aid
Bear's Endurance
Bull's Strength
Consecrate
Cure Moderate Wounds
Darkness*
Hold Person
Make Whole
Remove Paralysis
Resist Energy
Lesser Restoration
Shatter
Silence

Bestow Curse
Blindness/Deafness
Contagion
Create Food/Water
Cure Serious Wounds
Daylight
Deeper Darkness
Dispel Magic
Locate Object
Magic Circle against Alignment
Prayer
Protection from Energy
Remove Curse
Stone Shape
Water Walk

Control Water
Cure Critical Wounds
Dismissal
Greater Magic Weapon
Planar Ally, Lesser
Poison
Repel Vermin
Restoration
Sending
Spell Immunity

Atonement
Break Enchantment
Commune
Cure Light Wounds, Mass
Dispel Alignment
Flame Strike
Insect Plague
Mark of Justice
Plane Shift
True Seeing

Animate Objects
Banishment
Bear's Endurance, Mass
Bull's Strength, Mass
Cure Moderate Wounds, Mass
Dispel Magic, Greater
Forbiddance
Heal
Heroes' Feast
Planar Ally

Control Weather
Cure Serious Wounds, Mass
Destruction
Regenerate
Repulsion
Restoration, Greater

Cloak of Chaos
Cure Critical Wounds, Mass
Discern Location
Earthquake
Firestorm
Holy Aura
Planar Ally, Greater
Shield of Law
Unholy Aura

Energy Drain
Heal, Mass
Implosion
Miracle
Storm of Vengeance

Priest (Cleric) Spells:
The Priest is more the martial caster; he gets buffs and the ability to fight.

Bless
Cure Light Wounds
Deathwatch
Detect Alignment
Divine Favor
Entropic Shield
Magic Stone
Magic Weapon
Protection from Alignment
Remove Fear
Shield of Faith

Augury
Bear's Endurance
Bull's Strength
Consecrate
Cure Moderate Wounds
Death Knell?
Remove Paralysis
Resist Energy
Lesser Restoration
Shield Other

Cure Serious Wounds
Daylight
Dispel Magic
Magic Circle against Alignment
Magic Vestment
Prayer
Protection from Energy
Remove Curse

Cure Critical Wounds
Death Ward
Dismissal
Divination
Divine Power
Greater Magic Weapon
Planar Ally, Lesser
Repel Vermin
Restoration

Atonement
Commune
Cure Light Wounds, Mass
Dipel Alignment
Mark of Justice
Plane Shift
Righteous Might
Spell Resistance

Banishment
Bear's Endurance, Mass
Bull's Strength, Mass
Cure Moderate Wounds, Mass
Dispel Magic, Greater
Forbiddance
Heal
Planar Ally

Cure Serious Wounds, Mass
Regenerate
Restoration, Greater

Cloak of Chaos
Cure Critical Wounds, Mass
Discern Location
Holy Aura
Planar Ally, Greater
Shield of Law
Unholy Aura

Heal, Mass
Miracle

Ritual Spells (These can be cast by members of any class, and may be memorizeable to priests and prophets):

Bless
Cure Light Wounds
Magic Stone
Magic Weapon
Protection from Alignment

Augury
Bear's Endurance
Bull's Strength
Cure Moderate Wounds
Delay Poison
Eagle's Splendor
Gentle Repose
Resist Energy
Shield Other

Dispel Magic
Glyph of Warding
Invisibility Purge
Locate Object
Magic Circle against Alignment
Magic Vestment
Remove Blindness/Deafness
Remove Disease

Dismissal
Greater Magic Weapon
Neutralize Poison
Planar Ally, Lesser
Spell Immunity
Tongues

Break Enchantment
Commune
Dispel Alignment
Raise Dead
Righteous Might

Banishment
Dispel Magic, Greater
Forbiddance
Glyph of Warding, Greater
Planar Ally

Resurrection

Cloak of Chaos
Holy Aura
Planar Ally, Greater
Shield of Law
Spell Immunity, Greater
Unholy Aura

True Resurrection


In general, these spells will be more difficult to cast, but will available to everybody. The various resurrection spells will likely have some kind of 'go to the underworld' piece attached to them.


Faith Points and Rage Points:

Classes which don't cast spells (Fighters, Rangers (Which I will hope to bring in a non-casting variant of), and possibly Rogues) are nonetheless dependent on the favor of the gods. Such characters have some sort of code based upon their faith - so long as they maintain it, they get Faith Points. If they don't then they may even get negative Faith.

A code will include things like making sacrifices, certain taboos, and so on, depending upon their religion.

Barbarians are too wild and uncivilized to get Faith Points. They get Rage Points instead.

The main purposes of these points is to allow non-casting melee types to keep up with casting melee types, as well as to represent that whole Divine Favor thing which is a bit of a staple of ancient warfare.

I just need ideas on what these points should do. Any thoughts?

Another_Poet
2009-02-04, 04:59 PM
Egyptian flavour for gnolls? I dunno, they fit pretty well in many ways as is. Maybe giving them some kind of endurance against extreme hot or cold weather for desert survivability, instead of one of the other abilities. Although speak with canines is just too awesome for me to want to see it go, and +1 natural AC is so perfect for a Scout that it'd be a shame to take it away.

Best thing you could probably do is give them an appropriate set of racial deities.

Spell lists look good.

What should points do? Well, for barbarians you should shamelessly rip off the Pathfinder rage powers. They already have an entire rage point system worked out and that will also give you a framework for Faith points (i.e. how many should a character get and what are they worth).

For fighters I would suggest looking at some of the 4th ed powers and offer similar powers when Faith points are spent. This could easily make Fighters a class worth playing, even one of the cool classes again. Give 'em some abilities that move enemies around the battlefield and watch them steal the show.

Another great power to give fighters would be the Whirling Frenzy ability that is currentkly a barbarian variant. Basically, for a set number of rounds you can make one extra attack per round but all attacks take a -2 penalty. You do not have to make a full attack to use it; you can get two attacks as a standard action at -2/-2 if you want.

For rogues and rangers, similar powers but focus more on what makes them unique. For example rangers could use their faith points on some fighter-y thins, but also on some survival things and nature-oriented things. Maybe give them the ability to Turn Plants, Turn Animals and Turn Magical Beasts by spending Faith points. Imparting special properties to their arrows would be a nice touch too.

For rogues, same deal but different focus. Some fighter-y stuff but also some stealth and assassin abilities. Definiely make Poison Use available to them by spending Faith points (perhaps 1 point buys 1 day of safe poison use). Getting a +20 to intimidate for 1 round would be a worthy ability, or a +20 to acrobatics (jump, tumble, etc). Maybe some luck abilities to reroll failed disable device cheks or failed use magic device checks and the like.

Don't be afraid to steal the abilities that monks buy with Ki points (Pathfinder) or that Ninja buy with Ki points (regular D&D) since I doubt you'll have monks or ninja running around your setting but some of their abilities will fit in nicely.

ap

edited to add: if you're not using the Scout as a base class (though it'd be great as a chariot-warrior build) then you should turn Skirmish damage into Faith point abilities for rangers and rogues. For rogues, specify that it does not stack with Sneak damage.

Another_Poet
2009-02-06, 09:52 AM
Bump.

Thane, you still 'brewing stuff for this?

Thane of Fife
2009-02-06, 11:58 AM
Yes, I'm just a terrible procrastinator (well, I'm good at procrastinating, so I guess I'm actually a good procrastinator, but you know what I mean). I'd appreciate it if you'd stay on my case.

As mentioned before, I have no splatbooks. So, while the Scout sounds reasonable, I don't know what it (or Skirmish) do, and hence can't really add them.


Egyptian flavour for gnolls? I dunno, they fit pretty well in many ways as is. Maybe giving them some kind of endurance against extreme hot or cold weather for desert survivability, instead of one of the other abilities. Although speak with canines is just too awesome for me to want to see it go, and +1 natural AC is so perfect for a Scout that it'd be a shame to take it away.

Best thing you could probably do is give them an appropriate set of racial deities.

Eh, you're probably right.


What should points do? Well, for barbarians you should shamelessly rip off the Pathfinder rage powers. They already have an entire rage point system worked out and that will also give you a framework for Faith points (i.e. how many should a character get and what are they worth).


Having just downloaded the Pathfinder Beta, yeah, I guess that looks good.


For fighters I would suggest looking at some of the 4th ed powers and offer similar powers when Faith points are spent. This could easily make Fighters a class worth playing, even one of the cool classes again. Give 'em some abilities that move enemies around the battlefield and watch them steal the show.

Another great power to give fighters would be the Whirling Frenzy ability that is currentkly a barbarian variant. Basically, for a set number of rounds you can make one extra attack per round but all attacks take a -2 penalty. You do not have to make a full attack to use it; you can get two attacks as a standard action at -2/-2 if you want.

I am somewhat hesitant about giving movement-based abilities, as I am not a huge fan of that tactical aspect of the game.

Whirling Frenzy is an interesting possibility; other thoughts which I have entertained are:

Damage Reduction (Yay! Everybody loves Damage Reduction!)
Tying in Rituals (Use Faith Points to 'hold' them after casting but until the unleash, or something)
Bonuses To Hit and Stuff
Possibly allow points to be permanently traded for superhuman power sorts of things - shaking walls with your voice a la Sisera (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisera), for example (and should catching enormous numbers of fish in your beard be a feat?), or things like water-breathing (being able to hold your breath for long periods of time) or even (possibly) immortality.
Better ability to resist stuff other than damage (so saving throw boosts, I suppose).
Possibly Healing.


Temple Prostitutes:

First, they need a better name. Courtesan is all that I can think if, and that's no better.
I have considered making this a class which has some ability to control Faith and Rage points. So, a TP could sap a barbarian's rage points, for example, in order to 'civilize' him.
They should probably also get some spells, but I'm uncertain what kinds.

Priests/Clerics:

Turn Undead needs to go. I am uncertain with what to replace it.
I am considering dropping spontaneous healing for spontaneous domain spells or something else, which would tie in with allowing faith points to heal.
I'm uncertain whether to lower their spells per day. The cleric has taken a hit in spells available (and I'm considering making him a spontaneous divine caster), but I want the Prophet to get more spells than the priest, and the priest already gets a fair few.

Prophets:

First, I'm unsure how many spells per day they should get.
As far as other abilities go, I'm thinking of some sort of ability to commune with their god, as well as a vaguely bard song -like ability, with the Prophet raising his hands to boost his allies.
Abilities needed will probably be Wisdom and Constitution, with possible Intelligence-dependency.

Rangers:

Two-weapon fighting seems a bit odd. I'd like to add in an option to replace it, but I know not what.

Another_Poet
2009-02-06, 04:45 PM
I was thinking about your lack of splatbook woes and I want to introduce you to two sources.

First off, the class index at Crystal Keep (http://crystalkeep.com/d20/rules/DnD3.5Index-Classes-Base.pdf). On pge 160 you will find the Scout with all its class info (skills, saves, abilities, etc). In fact, cirtually all of the 3.x classes and numerous vriants are included, archiving the crunch content of a long list of splatbooks. (There is also a PrC index and a Race index and the like, if you go to the main page of that site). I am not exactly clear on why this is legal but, as I was told when I first asked around, WotC is aware of the site and has chosen to allow it to remain. Cool.

Note that the Scout's skirmish abilities (the extra damage as well as the +AC bonus) only work in light armour, which is why I think the gnoll's natural AC bump is so great for scouts. Also, if a Scout rode a chariot they could take a full attack while moving so they could get skirmish damage on a full attack.

Secondly, in case you want it straight from the horse's mouth, anytime you are at a loss for the details of a non-core class you should find out what book it is from (easy enough with some googling). Then go to the WotC site (wizards.com) and find that book's product page. Bingo! To the side or below the product is a list of all the web extras for that book, complete with links to the archived pages. By doing this, I was able to find class descriptions for the awesome spellthief class and two of the worst PrCs ever devised, both from the same book that the Scout is in. (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=products/dndacc/177290000)

The product page will also tell you the month and year of the book, which you can then use to check the WotC Archives all the way back to the year 2000 (http://wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4arch/main). Every once in a while there is a freebee version of a class or something that isn't linked from a product's home page so this way you can check and see for sure if the class in question has been given out online by WotC. Typically they will withhold a few bits of information like saves and BAB but that's what Crystal Keep is for.

Anyway, now that that's out of the way, you can marvel at the Scout class and how perfect it is for the setting in question.

For the temple prostitute, Wikipedia claims that the Sumerian word is Qadistu, with an accent mark over the "s" but I'd fact check first (and find the proper plural, which almost certainly isn't qadistus). Supposedly Hebrew had a similar word, kedeshah, literally meaning "consecrated woman" and referring to the same ceremonial role.

The most common term, however, is the Classical one and that is the one I would suggest: Hierodule. Everyone can pronounce it pretty well by reading it off the page and it is more culture-neutral, referring to such a priestess generally rather than one tribe's take. This also means you aren't doing (as much) cultural appropriation, which is GOOD.

In any case the Hierodule should probably be a devotee of Inanna/Ishtar.

I love the Rage/Faith sapping powers, by the way. Perfect in every regard. Also, you might give them a class ability to choose one male deity and one female deity (the male being her lover and the female being her patroness). For one week she can sap twice as many Rage/Faith points from people who follow those deities, but she can't sap any from anyone else. She has to remain celibate during this week (i.e. not cheat on the male deity) or suffer divine wrath. At the end of the week she can choose new deities, or go back to being a generalist, as she pleases.

As far as spells I would give her a pile of charm spells, as she is uniquely suited (as a follower of Ishtar) to use these normally arcane powers. Treat them the same way as domain versions of arcane spells, so that they become divine.

Your priest ideas sound great. Replacing spontaneous healing with spending Faith points is a good way to keep PCs a little more cautious and a little more careful of resources. If you're taking away both spontaneous healing and Turn Undead then don't cut down the spells per day at all. They've already taken a hit from the reduced spell list.

Now, on to the Prophet. I'm gonna give it to you straight: I think this is your favourite class and your enthusiasm is causing you to make it into the new CoDzilla. It gets more spells per day than a cleric, a cooler spell list, a direct phone line to a god and bardic party buffs (in addition to the extant divine buff spells)?

I think you have two problems here. First of all you have a lot of cool class ability ideas but you're handing them all to your homebrewed class. The bardic party buffs, for instance, would make the most thematic sense with the Hierodule. I mean, that was her main job in ancient Sumer - act as a living vessel of Inanna, to whom the king is ritually married, so that the king can draw on the goddess' power via sacral sex with the Hierodule. As time went on the scope of this sacral sex widened, but a big part of it was always to impart divine power to the (king/warriors/civic leaders/priests/fill in the blank). She's a living buff spell. And you said yourself you don't know what abilities to give her, so maybe add spontaneous buff power to her portfolio. Maybe once she saps the enemy's Faith points she can gibe them to allies instead. If you think that would make her too strong, ditch the access to charm spells (and give them to the divine bard) OR leave her as is and give the spontaneous buffs to the divine bard.

The second problem is that the basic idea of the Prophet, as you describe it, is Moses. But Moses wasn't a team player. He was the only guy in two kingdoms and several generations who could be at once slave and king, Jew and Egyptian. He was the only guy in the world at the time (suposedly) who could talk to the One True God. In fact, none of his powers were his; they were all God's. So by trying to make a class after him, you're trying to make a class based on God Himself. You just can't balance that.

My advice would be to narrow down the scope of this class so that it's not Moses 3.5. Make it "the cleric who does plagues" or "the cleric who sees the future" or "the cleric who has the phone line to god". Choose one focus and line up a bunch of consistent class abilities that suport that focus. That way the guy is still crucial to the team, but he can't run the whole show. There should be times when the Prophet is in the back seat and you need the Hierodule or the rogue or something to be successful. After all, the Prophet has faith but the priest has formal training in ceremony and ritual. The priest should, logically, have more spells (both per day and a bigger spell list) even if the Prophet's few spells are more badass.

In fact, I'm starting to think the best way to structure the classes would leave the cleric as the Priest, but change the favoured soul to the Prophet and leave out the divine bard (giving its abilities to the Hierodule instead). That gives you a divine healer, divine blaster, and divine buffer which keeps magical powers balanced but accessible.

As far as putting Moses in D&D, I think the best way to do it is not to make him into a class (which will pwn) but to represent him as high level. I mean the guy walked through a desert for 40 years. He had to get some XP while he was out there. Not to mention years of training as a prince. And what is the CR on holy crap the red sea is going to fall on me and destroy thousands of people unless I make my concentration check? That's like a CR 18 custom trap, right? Dude's just high level, otherwise a normal cleric.

Okay that's my whole schpiel. Hope it helps. :)

(Still loving this by the way. Don't take my critcism too hard, I try to keep it light-hearted.)

edit: What's weird about TWF?

Thane of Fife
2009-02-06, 07:18 PM
First off, the class index at Crystal Keep. On pge 160 you will find the Scout with all its class info (skills, saves, abilities, etc). In fact, cirtually all of the 3.x classes and numerous vriants are included, archiving the crunch content of a long list of splatbooks. (There is also a PrC index and a Race index and the like, if you go to the main page of that site). I am not exactly clear on why this is legal but, as I was told when I first asked around, WotC is aware of the site and has chosen to allow it to remain. Cool.

Quite interesting. And yes, the Scout does look beautiful (except possibly for no mounted skirmish).


The most common term, however, is the Classical one and that is the one I would suggest: Hierodule. Everyone can pronounce it pretty well by reading it off the page and it is more culture-neutral, referring to such a priestess generally rather than one tribe's take. This also means you aren't doing (as much) cultural appropriation, which is GOOD.

That was something I considered. My only problem being that it sounds a bit obscure. But that can be lived with.


I love the Rage/Faith sapping powers, by the way. Perfect in every regard. Also, you might give them a class ability to choose one male deity and one female deity (the male being her lover and the female being her patroness). For one week she can sap twice as many Rage/Faith points from people who follow those deities, but she can't sap any from anyone else. She has to remain celibate during this week (i.e. not cheat on the male deity) or suffer divine wrath. At the end of the week she can choose new deities, or go back to being a generalist, as she pleases.

Very intriguing idea.

As for lots of charm spells, it was my primary thought, tempered by the worry of the class turning into a seductress.


Now, on to the Prophet. I'm gonna give it to you straight: I think this is your favourite class and your enthusiasm is causing you to make it into the new CoDzilla. It gets more spells per day than a cleric, a cooler spell list, a direct phone line to a god and bardic party buffs (in addition to the extant divine buff spells)?

You may be right, and I appreciate the input (better sooner than later).


I think you have two problems here. First of all you have a lot of cool class ability ideas but you're handing them all to your homebrewed class. The bardic party buffs, for instance, would make the most thematic sense with the Hierodule. I mean, that was her main job in ancient Sumer - act as a living vessel of Inanna, to whom the king is ritually married, so that the king can draw on the goddess' power via sacral sex with the Hierodule. As time went on the scope of this sacral sex widened, but a big part of it was always to impart divine power to the (king/warriors/civic leaders/priests/fill in the blank). She's a living buff spell. And you said yourself you don't know what abilities to give her, so maybe add spontaneous buff power to her portfolio. Maybe once she saps the enemy's Faith points she can gibe them to allies instead. If you think that would make her too strong, ditch the access to charm spells (and give them to the divine bard) OR leave her as is and give the spontaneous buffs to the divine bard.

The second problem is that the basic idea of the Prophet, as you describe it, is Moses. But Moses wasn't a team player. He was the only guy in two kingdoms and several generations who could be at once slave and king, Jew and Egyptian. He was the only guy in the world at the time (suposedly) who could talk to the One True God. In fact, none of his powers were his; they were all God's. So by trying to make a class after him, you're trying to make a class based on God Himself. You just can't balance that.


I'm going to say, first, that I think that the first problem stems from the second - all the stuff the Prophet gets comes more-or-less from Moses.

Second, you say that his powers were all God's, and thus are unbalanceable. Here I disagree. That's the basis of the cleric class - his powers come from some god. The purpose of Faith points is to depict the favor of god(s).

I suppose that my main point on the Prophet, including responding to what I haven't quoted, is that he is, largely, intended to be the wizardly type - powerful magic, but physically weak. You will note, for example, that the Prophet list has little in the way of defensive or personal buff spells - he relies on his allies for protection. He's intended to be a support class. The bard song thing is unnecessary; he could just use Prayer for that.



As far as putting Moses in D&D, I think the best way to do it is not to make him into a class (which will pwn) but to represent him as high level.

Moses would certainly be very high-level, but I think that the cleric is too martial to represent him well.


edit: What's weird about TWF?

I don't know. It just doesn't seem to fit the period.

Thane of Fife
2009-02-09, 06:03 PM
Races

Humans

The predominant race throughout the world, humans have a number of cultures throughout the world, and, in general, control its most powerful cities and empires.

There is no doubt (at least to humans) that the gods favor this race above the others.

Humans are have their normal racial abilities and modifiers.

Dwarves

Masters of warfare, the dwarven empire is one feared across the land. Riding powerful scythed chariots and wielding iron weapons, the armies of the dwarves are devastatingly effective.

Dwarves have their normal racial abilities, except that, instead of receiving +1 to hit orcs and goblinoids, and receiving a +4 dodge bonus against giants, dwarves receive these bonuses against something else (yet undecided). Also, Favored Class is now Scout.

Nephilim

It is said that, before the Flood, men were of far greater stature then they are now. Thus is claimed the origin of the Nephilim, those who, somehow, defied the gods themselves and survived the great cataclysm. Others claim that these giants among men are descended from the gods themselves.

Regardless of their origin, however, the Nephilim are as powerful as they are large, a race to be feared by men.

Nephilim are treated as half-giants (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/psionicRaces.htm#halfGiants), except that they receive no natural psionic abilities or boosts.

Hobgoblins

To the east lies the Empire of Kuresh, the land of the hobgoblins. Though cunning and militant, the hobgoblins are alien to other races - theirs is a religion of but a single god, and a culture of odd taboos. They obey few of the same religious practices as more polytheistic beings.

Theirs is a new empire, but it is one which is on the rise.

Hobgoblins have the following modifiers:

+2 Intelligence
Base Speed 30 ft
Darkvision to 60 ft.
+2 racial bonus to Saving Throws vs. fear effects
Limited Religion Choices
-2 racial penalty to Diplomacy and Bluff checks when dealing with individuals of other races
Favored Class: Fighter


Gnolls

The gnolls are an odd people, and are more animalistic than any of the world's other races. Most gnolls boast the head of either a hyena or a jackal, but there are some whose appearance is catlike, reptilian, or even birdlike. Regardless, gnolls tend to be fierce and warlike, and are known to be scavengers - after a battle, it is not uncommon for the victorious gnolls to feast upon the dead. Meat is meat, after all. Perhaps because of this, gnoll kings are known to have elaborate tombs constructed. An attempt to ward off potential tomb feeders?

Gnolls have the following modifiers:

+2 Strength, -2 Charisma
Base Speed 30 ft
Low-light vision
+1 Natural Armor Modifier
Gnolls can speak with whatever kind of animal they resemble, as per Speak with Animal, 1/day
Hunger: A gnoll must eat red meat at least once per day. A gnoll who does not consume such suffers a -1/day penalty to all Attack Rolls and Skill Checks. The penalty is relieved when the gnoll feeds upon red meat. Note that the gnoll must still eat regularly, as with other humanoids; this is simply an additional requirement.
Favored Class: Ranger

Faravahar

Guardian spirits sent by the gods, Faravahar are largely human in appearance, excluding their large, feathered wings. These beings are usually sent by the gods to protect important individuals from evil spirits. Because of this, Faravahar are more dependent on remaining faithful to their patrons then are many other beings.

Faravahar have no cultures of their own.

Faravahar have the following modifiers:

Base Speed 30 ft. Fly 30 ft. (poor)
Faravahar are Native Outsiders rather than Humanoids
Spirit: A Faravahar is dependent on its patron god for its continued existence. As such, a Faravahar must spend Faith Points to remain at full power.<Insert stuff about how that works>.

I believe that that's the general races being considered. Thoughts? Anything broken?

Another_Poet
2009-02-09, 09:24 PM
As for lots of charm spells, it was my primary thought, tempered by the worry of the class turning into a seductress.

Good point, that would cheapen the whole class. Okay, then I vote all the more strongly for being able to distribute sapped Faith points among allies. I think that one of the two following mechanics would be good:

A Hierodule can cause an enemy to lose x Faith points. Alternately, she can sap away half that amount and give the lost Faith points to an ally of her choosing (or herself).

OR

A Hierodule can cause an enemy to lose x Faith points. She can give half of these Faith points to an ally of her choosing (or herself); the rest are simply lost.

Either way, whichever seems better, I definitely think that the number of Faith points that can be stolen and used should be less than the max number of Faith points she can cause an enemy to lose. Otherwise any group with a Hierodule will have a huge advantage over any group without, as the Faith point gulf would just be horrendous.



Second, you say that his powers were all God's, and thus are unbalanceable. Here I disagree. That's the basis of the cleric class - his powers come from some god.

Good point, and that is exactly why divine casters are already so overpowered.


I suppose that my main point on the Prophet, including responding to what I haven't quoted, is that he is, largely, intended to be the wizardly type - powerful magic, but physically weak. You will note, for example, that the Prophet list has little in the way of defensive or personal buff spells - he relies on his allies for protection. He's intended to be a support class. The bard song thing is unnecessary; he could just use Prayer for that.

I think this is a good thing to focus on. There are a number of ways that you could achieve this distinction and balance the rules while doing so. For instance, perhaps a Prophet who picks up a weapon loses his powers until he puts it down and for 24 hours afterward. Thus, he has to rely only on his spells for combat. A smaller nerf would be to require some very in-depth spiritual practices of the Prophet, including things like fasting and physical hardship. I remember posting a Fasting feat on these forums once, I'll try to dig it up for you.

A third option would be to simply reduce the Prophet's HD to d6 or even the wizardly d4. But I personally never saw Moses as being physically weak. That may just be because he was never portrayed as such in the pop-culture sources I've seen (movies etc). But I think that if you took a PHB cleric with the tweaks you've already made, and gave him the penalties to Str, Dex and Con from being Venerable aged, you'd have a perfect frail Moses and certainly not martially oriented at all :)

Re. races:

Looks great! I like the alternate heads for gnolls. You should make the scope of their Speak with... ability more clear. For instance, a jackal-headed Gnoll can speak with all canines, not just jackals; an eagle-headed Gnoll with all birds, not just eagles; etc.

Hobgoblins by default have a pretty lame starting package - I wouldn't give up the human bonus feat for just darkvision and some bonus against fear, especially not with the equally darkvisioned dwarf as an option with so much other cool stuff. There are some homebrewed variants to hobgoblin out there, which a google search should turn up plenty of. Or just come up with something of your own. The poor little beasties just don't have an equal footing as it stands.

Also, dwarves' favoured class is Scout? Even with their limited 20' movement? I suppose it's possible, it just looks weird when I try to picture it. If I were you I'd give Scout to Hobgoblins and Fighter to Dwarves but that's just me.

It occurs to me that if Scout were the favoured class of Hobgoblin, then you could give hobgoblins some kind of chariot-themed racial ability and suddenly they would be awesome. Something as simple as "A Hobgoblin who takes a level in a PC class may have a chariot and one horse that do not count against his starting wealth." That's a nice little 1st level bump, esp for scouts but even a Hobgoblin Hierodule (yuck) us better off in high-speed mobile armour than on foot. Of course the charm wears off quickly by 4th level when you can buy chariots just to set them on fire at parties. So perhaps a racial ability that makes chariots even nicer would be good. Or perhaps I just love chariots too much.

Another_Poet
2009-02-09, 10:01 PM
Ah! Here it is, the Ascetic Fast feat (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5292358#post5292358). And I even used Google to find it instead of the forum search engine, to save on server resources :)

Ovaltine Patrol
2009-02-10, 03:43 AM
You may wish to read up a little on astrology and the Zodiac: they could play a strong role in a setting based, in part, on classical antiquity.

Another_Poet
2009-02-10, 11:07 AM
Yes, good point! But do remember that the zodiac signs had different names. If memory serves, the mixture of animals and mythological figures in the classical zodiac was a Greek renaming of stuff they got from the Middle East. You should be able to find the original ones pretty easily though.

Another_Poet
2009-02-12, 09:45 AM
Bump ba ba ba bump bump bump!

Thane of Fife
2009-02-12, 05:07 PM
Both the Fast feat and the astrology idea are intriguing ones - some quick looking suggests that the Babylonians used basically the same constellations as the Greeks, but the Greeks renamed them. Regardless, fantasy world, so we can have new ones.


Either way, whichever seems better, I definitely think that the number of Faith points that can be stolen and used should be less than the max number of Faith points she can cause an enemy to lose. Otherwise any group with a Hierodule will have a huge advantage over any group without, as the Faith point gulf would just be horrendous.

That seems reasonable.


Good point, and that is exactly why divine casters are already so overpowered.

I'm not sure that I agree. 3.x divine casters are overpowered because they improved in everything from 2e, while many other classes didn't really improve at all - clerics, for example, got better buff spells, better spells in general, 2 more levels of spells, spontaneous healing, domain powers, domain spells, better weapon selection, probably better saves, the ability to not lose spells upon being hit, and so on.

Fighters, by contrast, got bonus feats, worse saving throws (by far), and an inability to make use of their bucketload of attacks.

Regardless, though, many of the best buffs are now available as rituals to all classes, and non-casters all have access to Faith or Rage points, so that should help.


I think this is a good thing to focus on. There are a number of ways that you could achieve this distinction and balance the rules while doing so. For instance, perhaps a Prophet who picks up a weapon loses his powers until he puts it down and for 24 hours afterward. Thus, he has to rely only on his spells for combat. A smaller nerf would be to require some very in-depth spiritual practices of the Prophet, including things like fasting and physical hardship. I remember posting a Fasting feat on these forums once, I'll try to dig it up for you.

A third option would be to simply reduce the Prophet's HD to d6 or even the wizardly d4. But I personally never saw Moses as being physically weak. That may just be because he was never portrayed as such in the pop-culture sources I've seen (movies etc). But I think that if you took a PHB cleric with the tweaks you've already made, and gave him the penalties to Str, Dex and Con from being Venerable aged, you'd have a perfect frail Moses and certainly not martially oriented at all :)

My general theory on the Prophet so far has been to give him minimal self-buffing ability, as well as very little in the way of defensive spells. He'll probably get access to only a few weapons, no armor, and will have poor hit dice (d6 or d4). The idea of spiritual practices as a requirement is a good one, which will probably be applying somewhat to all characters (except barbarians). Such practices will be necessary for spells/faith.


Hobgoblins by default have a pretty lame starting package - I wouldn't give up the human bonus feat for just darkvision and some bonus against fear, especially not with the equally darkvisioned dwarf as an option with so much other cool stuff. There are some homebrewed variants to hobgoblin out there, which a google search should turn up plenty of. Or just come up with something of your own. The poor little beasties just don't have an equal footing as it stands.


This actually is my own - I believe that I took away +2 Constitution in exchange for also removing +1 Level Advancement. I could add the bonus back in, I suppose, but I feel like that would be pushing it.


Also, dwarves' favoured class is Scout? Even with their limited 20' movement? I suppose it's possible, it just looks weird when I try to picture it. If I were you I'd give Scout to Hobgoblins and Fighter to Dwarves but that's just me.

It occurs to me that if Scout were the favoured class of Hobgoblin, then you could give hobgoblins some kind of chariot-themed racial ability and suddenly they would be awesome. Something as simple as "A Hobgoblin who takes a level in a PC class may have a chariot and one horse that do not count against his starting wealth." That's a nice little 1st level bump, esp for scouts but even a Hobgoblin Hierodule (yuck) us better off in high-speed mobile armour than on foot. Of course the charm wears off quickly by 4th level when you can buy chariots just to set them on fire at parties. So perhaps a racial ability that makes chariots even nicer would be good. Or perhaps I just love chariots too much.

I actually gave Scout to dwarves with the vague intent of making them the chariot race. This was mainly because I'm having trouble making dwarves interesting in the setting. Hobgoblins were intended to be sort of Persian-style.


That said, Chariots. This seems like something to do. I'm thinking they need a new skill - Charioteering - as well as general rules. If Scout is going to be the Charioteer class, then riding one needs to count as not being mounted. There also need to be maneuver, trampling, and scythe rules. Am I missing anything?

LurkerInPlayground
2009-02-12, 11:12 PM
Dwarfs and chariots doesn't seem weird.

iron = better chariots

chariots = nothing better to do with our horses

Makes perfect sense to me.

Ovaltine Patrol
2009-02-13, 09:39 AM
Another thought, hearkening back to the subject of active gods: perhaps the various city-states worship powerful, non-divine beings. Aberrations, huge animals, intelligent undead, and outsiders of all stripes come to mind.

If the cultures are too primitive to make steel, they may not have the capacity to forge adamantine or create alchemical silver (although cold forged iron might still be in), that means that without the use of magic, overcoming damage reduction for many creatures would be very difficult, adding to their perceived divinity.

Another_Poet
2009-02-13, 10:20 AM
If the cultures are too primitive to make steel, they may not have the capacity to forge adamantine or create alchemical silver (although cold forged iron might still be in), that means that without the use of magic, overcoming damage reduction for many creatures would be very difficult, adding to their perceived divinity.

There are two things to remember when running a Bronze setting (this only addresses the weapon mechanics, and is not a critique of the idea of monsters being worshipped):

1) Bronze Age peoples used iron. They knew how to work it, including heating it up and hammering on it. They just didn't have a heat source capable of smelting it, so they could only use it in tiny quantities when they found relatively pure natural ore.

2) Iron really isn't much better than bronze as far as weapons and armour go. Historians have tested this; bronze weapons hold up surprisingly well against iron weapons. This is because of the work-hardened edge put on bronze blades, and because of the high tin content (12%) of combat bronze. Also, soft metals work fabulously well as shield-bosses because they deform and absorb incoming blows much better than a harder surface does. The real reason people switched from bronze to iron isn't because iron is better, but because people were running out of tin with which to make the bronze. Only after the switch did they realise they could make much longer swords with iron, which is probably its only actual advantage over bronze.

In the Bronze Age setting I ran, I treated bronze as having the default weapon statistics. My players never got a hold of iron, but if they had, I would have treated it mechanically the same as bronze with two exceptions: raise the hardness by a small amount (really only matters when Sunder comes into play); and allowed very high craft checks to create things like bastard swords and great swords.

If you wanted to make a huge gulf between bronze and iron, you could replace Adamantium with Iron and give it all the Adamantium stats. That's far too generous to iron, but it'll be a usable game mechanic. Mythril would stay the same, and as it is usually considered to be very silver-like (or findruine-like) it is probably able to be melted down and cast like other Bronze Age metals.

As far as damage reduction this does indeed make Fey far more powerful, but I would consider the following possibilities to help the PCs solve this:

-Iron daggers are available on the market, made from small chunks of natrually pure iron ore. Stab the fey to death.

-Have an alchemical means by which iron-ore-laden dust can be sprinkled on a bronze weapon to temporarily allow it to overcome DR/cold iron

-Have some spirit being transmute the PC's weapons into iron as a reward for a quest

Of course fey as such probably won't crop up too much in a Mesopotamian setting anyway, but to whatever extend DR/cold iron shows up, you have options.

Thane of Fife
2009-02-18, 03:49 PM
Chariots:

There are three major types of chariot - light chariots, heavy chariots, and 4-wheeled chariots. The former two are vehicles intended for driving into combat; the latter is primarily a transport.

To drive a chariot requires the Charioteer skill. The following classes have Charioteer as a class skill:

Fighters, Priests, Scouts

It is a cross-class skill for all other classes.

Charioteer (Dex)

Simply driving a chariot does not require a skill check. Similarly, preparing a chariot for use does not require a check. Any of the tasks does require a check.

Fire-and-Steer
You can attempt to use a weapon (or magic item) which requires both of your hands without losing control of the chariot. Attempting this is a standard action. If you fail, then you are unable to attack as you are forced to seize the reins in order to maintain control.

Snap the Reins
You can attempt to drive your chariot to a faster speed. A successful Charioteer check increases your chariot's speed by 10 feet for 1 round, but deals 1 point of damage to each of the creatures driving your chariot. You can use this ability every round, but each consecutive round of additional speed deals twice as much damage as the previous round.

Take off
If your chariot is being pulled by creatures capable of flight, then you may attempt to get them to take off. This is part of a move action. If you fail, then the chariot remains moving along the ground.

Hold her Steady
As a standard action, you can attempt to safely guide the chariot through difficult terrain, such as rocks, steep hills, rough ground, or relatively shallow ditches. Failure means that you suffer the normal penalties for driving into dangerous terrain. Note that some terrain - such as deep forest, water too deep to ford, or mountains - cannot be driven through even with this skill.

Trample
Heavy and 4-wheeled chariots may automatically attempt to trample their enemies. For light chariots, a Charioteer check is required. Test at the start of your turn: if you succeed, your chariot gains the Trample ability for the duration of the round.

Seize the Reins
You can attempt to leap into an unoccupied chariot moving within 10 feet of you in order to seize the reins. This is a swift action, but you will need to spend your next standard action getting the chariot under control. If you succeed, you will then be driving the chariot. If you fail, then you are unable to secure your place, and count as falling out of a chariot moving at half the speed of the chariot you attempted to board.

Swoop
While your chariot is flying, you may attempt to swoop down to trample through enemies and then rise back into the air. Declare your intent at the beginning of your move action, and make the Charioteer check. If you succeed, then you count as riding through the creatures you swooped into. If you fail, then you still count as riding through them, but you immediately stop flying (though you maintain your speed).

{table=head]Task|Charioteer DC
Fire-and-Steer | 10
Snap the Reins | 10
Take Off | 10
Hold her Steady | 15
Seize the Reins | 20
Swoop | 20
[/table]

Special:

When driving a heavy chariot, all Charioteer DC's are increased by +5. When driving a 4-wheeled chariot, all Charioteer DC's are increased by +10.

The Charioteer skill will be a prerequisite for any Charioteer Combat feats.

Synergies:

If you have 5 or more ranks in Handle Animal, you get a +2 bonus on Charioteer checks.

Benefits of a Chariot:

A character in a chariot counts as being both mounted and unmounted for the purposes of attacks, whichever he prefers (for example, a lance still deals double damage when wielded by a charging chariot-rider, but a Scout can also use his Skirmish ability when riding in one).

All characters in a chariot receive a chariot bonus to their armor class (yeah, I just made up a new type of bonus). Such a bonus counts as an armor bonus in all respects, except that it stacks with other armor bonuses. The exact bonus depends upon the chariot.

A light chariot moves at the base speed of the creatures pulling it. A heavy chariot moves at 80% of the creature's speed. A 4-wheeled chariot moves at 60% of the creature's speed. Most chariots are pulled by two beasts - if one of these beasts is slain, then the chariot's speed is reduced to 80% of what it would normally be.

Riding through Enemies:

All heavy and 4-wheeled chariots naturally have the Trample ability. Light chariots can get it through a successful Charioteer skill check. The save DC for the Trample is equal to (5+Charge Speed/10). For example, a Light Warhorse pulling a heavy chariot charges at 90 feet/round, and thus has a save DC of 14. If the charioteer had Snapped the Reins, he could have increased the speed to 110 feet/round, and thus offered a save DC of 16.

Trample damage is generally determined by the type and speed of the chariot:

Light Chariot:
1d8 + Chariot Speed/10

Heavy Chariot:
2d6 + Chariot Speed/10

4-Wheeled Chariot:
1d8 + Chariot Speed/10

Some chariots are further equipped with scythed wheels, making them even more dangerous. Such chariots inflict double damage when trampling, half of which is slashing damage, and half of which is bludgeoning damage. In addition, the DC to avoid such a trample is increased by 5. Scythed Wheels are only effective on a chariot moving at least 80 feet/round.

Falling off of a Chariot

It's possible that a character may fall off of a chariot. In general, this happens only if somebody goes to the effort to throw him off, but it could happen if he falls unconscious, if the chariot is upset, if he tried to seize the reins, or under other unforeseen circumstances. In such an event, the character takes a number of points of damage equal to 1d6 + the chariot's speed/10.

Dangerous Terrain

Chariots are not made for moving through difficult ground. A chariot driven into difficult terrain crashes. This generally means that the chariot is upset, but it could potentially result in a collision with a tree or some such. Regardless, all riders, as well as all beasts pulling the chariot, take damage equal to the amount of damage taken from falling off. The chariot itself is almost certainly destroyed.

Dead Beasts

Usually, if one of the beasts pulling a chariot is slain, it is cut loose. This is generally assumed to be done without any trouble. If, for whatever reason, the beast is not cut loose, then the chariot is forced to a halt.




Other than stats for specific chariots, am I missing anything? General thoughts?

Ovaltine Patrol
2009-02-19, 03:27 PM
I was going more by the arms and equipment guide's description of alternate materials and not on any kind of knowledge of history or metallurgy.

Another_Poet
2009-02-19, 04:31 PM
@ Ovaltine: No problem, and in general I would do the same. In a Bronze Age setting however you need to do a little re-working, because D&D is presumed to use iron/steel so bronze has to be inferior. If there is no (or almost no) iron/steel then it's easier just to treat bronze as status quo and adjust the other, less common stuff.

@Thrane: Chariot rules are great! I'm confused about the Heavy chariot having lower trample damage though; it weighs more and has more hooves trampling the ground. Is the 1d8 a typo? Given the penalties to the piloting DC's one of these I would definitely make the damage worthwhile.

Also, a sickle wheel is essentially a hit by at least 4 swords, so it should do at least 4 extra dice of slashing damage on all chariot models, rather than just doubling trample damage. I would say it adds 4d6 slashing to light, 4d8 slashing to heavy, and 6d6 slashing to four-wheeled, but with the following penalties:

-All Charioteer DC's increase by 5 when sickle wheels are equipped
-Speed drops by 20 feet/round when sickle wheels are equipped.

Also, how about allowing a very difficult Charioteer check to pilot a chariot through difficult terrain? Liek DC 30? And even on a success, movement drops to 1/4 of normal.

Really good rules though. Armour bonus and "counts as mounted and not mounted" are perfect.

Thane of Fife
2009-02-19, 05:13 PM
I'm confused about the Heavy chariot having lower trample damage though; it weighs more and has more hooves trampling the ground. Is the 1d8 a typo? Given the penalties to the piloting DC's one of these I would definitely make the damage worthwhile.

I assume that you mean the 4-wheeled chariot? That chariot isn't really intended to be a 'super-heavy' chariot, but rather a vaguely outdated 'bad' chariot. What I read suggested that early chariots were 4-wheeled and were used for transporting soldiers about the battlefield. The later chariots - the light and heavy ones - are intended to be actual war chariots. As such, I kept the damage low on the 4-wheeled one to discourage its use in an unrealistic sense (though I could probably raise it slightly in view of the low speed such a chariot will be restricted to).


Also, a sickle wheel is essentially a hit by at least 4 swords, so it should do at least 4 extra dice of slashing damage on all chariot models, rather than just doubling trample damage. I would say it adds 4d6 slashing to light, 4d8 slashing to heavy, and 6d6 slashing to four-wheeled, but with the following penalties:

-All Charioteer DC's increase by 5 when sickle wheels are equipped
-Speed drops by 20 feet/round when sickle wheels are equipped.

Those sound like it could be a bit high - most people probably wouldn't be hit by all of the blades. On top of which, that would probably more than triple damage, which seems a bit much.

Something I just found suggests that most ancient scythed chariots were actually pulled by four horses, which I should probably include (perhaps allow a heavy chariot pulled by 4 beasts to operate at full speed, instead of 80%?).


Also, how about allowing a very difficult Charioteer check to pilot a chariot through difficult terrain? Liek DC 30? And even on a success, movement drops to 1/4 of normal.

Hold her Steady allows movement through some difficult terrain, so I assume that you mean really difficult stuff, like forests and mountainous? That's probably reasonable.

Another_Poet
2009-02-20, 12:33 PM
Yeah, I did mean 4-wheel, sorry.

As far as the sickle damage, 4 dice is a lot of damage but if you account for the lower speed the save DC for half becomes ridiculously easy. So it'd be like 5x damage but almost always halved. 2.5x damage seems reasonable being put through a mulcher while being trampled.

Still, your way works too. It sounds like you have all your bases covered. I really love these chariot rules.

Ovaltine Patrol
2009-02-21, 04:42 PM
Eternal Rome of Green Ronin Publishing's Mythic Vistas series has some rules for chariots, especially as used in gladiatorial combat. Another book in the series, Testament probably has all kinds of useful material for a Mesopotamian setting, but I haven't had the opportunity to look at that one.

Thane of Fife
2009-02-27, 11:13 AM
This is mostly a bump.


As far as the sickle damage, 4 dice is a lot of damage but if you account for the lower speed the save DC for half becomes ridiculously easy. So it'd be like 5x damage but almost always halved. 2.5x damage seems reasonable being put through a mulcher while being trampled.

Still, your way works too. It sounds like you have all your bases covered. I really love these chariot rules.

Thanks, for one thing. The save for half would get staggeringly easy, but it is still a huge amount of damage (for low levels). I'm beginning to think that you're right in making it a flat dice roll, though.


I am also beginning to do some work on Faith and Rage.

I have not done an in-depth comparison between these uses and the Pathfinder ones (though the Pathfinder ones look a bit weak to me - 4 points/round for DR 1/-?), and so these should be taken as preliminary, and I think that they're terribly balanced.

A character is considered Devout, Not Devout, or Upsetting to his faith. This is generally based on whether he's praying, sacrificing, not blaspheming, and so on. Different faiths will have different requirements.

Fighters, Rogues, Rangers, and Scouts all get Faith Points. Barbarians get either Rage points or Faith Points, but not both (though they can switch between them over time). Priests, Prophets, and (maybe) Hierodules do not get Faith Points, as they get spells instead. Despite this, they can still be given points by a Hierodule.

A Devout character gets 6 points at first level, and 4 at each level after that. A Not Devout character gets half that, and an Upsetting character gets none. Note that these are behaviors, not types of characters (i.e. Your behavior decides how you qualify each day).

Rage points are spent as per Pathfinder (at the moment, anyway, and that hopefully won't change). Faith is spent as follows:

2 points to reroll a failed saving throw.
4 points to reroll a failed attack roll.
2 points to regain 1d8 hp as an immediate action
2 points to use a Ritual / level of the Ritual. These points are then tied up until the Ritual is unleashed.
Other Stuff for which I need suggestions.

That would work basically parallel to how barbarians run. I am also considering handing out fewer points, but restoring them more frequently (which would make Rituals a bigger deal). Monsters and such will also usually get points of some kind (mostly to keep the Hierodule from being useless when up against monsters).

Another_Poet
2009-02-27, 12:24 PM
Here are some initial thoughts.

First of all, good idea giving monsters some kind of points. I would just give a set number of Rage points to animals, magical beasts, undead and maybe aberrations. I would give a set number of Faith points to Outsiders, and I would apply the PC faith/rage rules by class to giants and monstrous humanoids. I don't think I'd give any points to oozes or vermin. For constructs I'd either give them nothing or have it depend on the creator, i.e. the creator can "seal" a set number of his/her own faith/rage points inside the construct at creation.

Having the Devout, Nondevout and Upsetting behaviour determined daily seems problematic. I mean, if I crap on a deity's altar Thursday I don't expect to be considered devout Friday no matter what actions I take.

I would suggest something like this: give every character a pool of Faith points. Maybe start it at 10 points, since 10 is the average human ability score for any given ability. Based on behaviour, characters can raise or lower this ability over time. Their basic 10 points refresh every day, but if they make lots of sacrifices for a lonmg time they might get bumped up to 12 or so. If they go on a mission for a temple they might get bumped up to 13 or 14. Slaying a demon that was terrorising the land could raise them to 16. But then they go and attack an enemy while in the sacred confines of a temple, and maybe it drops to 15. They pursue said enemy to a place that has been ritually defiled, and because they're in a hurry they don't bother to purify it before moving on. Boom, down to 14.

This way actions still impact Faith points, and Faith points still refresh daily, but one has to work hard at being devout before one gets a bigger pool of Faith points. I assume it would be easier to fall down toward Upsetting than it would be to rise up toward Devout.

A Faith score of 10-11 would be considered Non-Devout. Higher would be Devout and lower would be Upsetting.

A barbarian gets Rage points by giving into his animal side. His behaviour and personality become animalistic, even bestial. It's not that he's evil, it's that he no longer fits into human society well at all. Thus, he loses the ability to use Faith points but gains Rage points from his beast-like energy and instincts. This is a perfect cognate to Enkidu, and just like Enkidu the act of communing with a god could cause the barbarian to regain Faith points but lose bestial powers. Of course in most D&D games "communing with a god" probably won't mean "one full week of nonstop sex" like it did for Enkidu. But still, you get the point.

If you wanted to make Faith points more scarce, you could use the same "ability modifier" system the other 6 abilities use. So, for instance, a Non-Devout person with a score of 11 gets 0 Faith points per day. A Devout person with a score of 16 gets 3 points per day. An Upsetting person with a score of 6 gets -2 points per day, which (to be cruel) could be something the DM can invoke as "bad luck" one time per day for every -1 point. To be nicer, it could have no effect on its own but would count against Faith points granted by a Hierodule. So if the Hierodule gave 6 Faith points to the Upsetting character with a Faith score of 6, he'd have to immediately subtract his -2 modifier and end up with only 4 Faith points. That seems fairly balanced.

owever you do the points, one problem remains. As it stands Devout characters get lots of rewards whereas Upsetting characters get lots of suck. That seems fine moralistically, but it's bad for game balance and fun. People like to play antiheroes.

The solution? Demonic disciples. I'm using the term "demonic" here in the way it's usually used when applied to ancient myths: powerful monsters who are basically the same as gods themselves, but who for whatever reason are at odds with the gods (or are too wild and chaotic to be considered gods). So the Titans, for instance, or Humbaba. Thus I don't mean "demons" in a Christian sense as "evil and wanting to steal your soul".

When a character reaches a low enough Faith score, it may attract the attentions of these demon-monsters. They may come to challenge the individual, or to befriend the individual, or to grant special powers. They may ask for the individual's help in some task. So the Upsetting characters can still get cool supernatural powers/quests/items just like the Devout characters.

Of course these demons are not quite as strong as gods, and far more dangerous to deal with - but they're also bound to be much more interesting. So I think it would balance out.



2 points to reroll a failed saving throw.
4 points to reroll a failed attack roll.
2 points to regain 1d8 hp as an immediate action
2 points to use a Ritual / level of the Ritual. These points are then tied up until the Ritual is unleashed.
Other Stuff for which I need suggestions.

I don't get why an attack roll costs more than a saving throw. I'd switch those two. The healing seems a little underpriced - if it was a standard action maybe it'd be in line with the others. I don't know what your Rituals can do so I can't comment on that.

I will say though, the pricing depends almost entirely on how many points people get. If a 1st level character can get 10/day, then rerolling a save should cost somewhere between 8 and 15 rage points. If a 1st level character can only get, say, 2/day then the prices seem basically alright as they are.

ap

LucyHarris
2009-02-27, 05:58 PM
Wow. I just read this entire thread and I have to say, I am really intrigued by this. I can't wait to see what more you come up with for this (heck, already want to play a Hierodule).

Thane of Fife
2009-02-27, 07:47 PM
I would just give a set number of Rage points to animals, magical beasts, undead and maybe aberrations. I would give a set number of Faith points to Outsiders, and I would apply the PC faith/rage rules by class to giants and monstrous humanoids. I don't think I'd give any points to oozes or vermin. For constructs I'd either give them nothing or have it depend on the creator, i.e. the creator can "seal" a set number of his/her own faith/rage points inside the construct at creation.

That sounds similar to what I was planning, though I admit I'd not thought of Oozes, vermin, or constructs (constructs are another group of monsters OI'm not entirely certain of maintaining, though - I'd rather have statue guardians that turn into living creatures. Probably Outsiders.)


Having the Devout, Nondevout and Upsetting behaviour determined daily seems problematic. I mean, if I crap on a deity's altar Thursday I don't expect to be considered devout Friday no matter what actions I take.

It wouldn't change that easily - I should have said that they regenerate their points each day according to their status.


I would suggest something like this: give every character a pool of Faith points. Maybe start it at 10 points, since 10 is the average human ability score for any given ability. Based on behaviour, characters can raise or lower this ability over time. Their basic 10 points refresh every day, but if they make lots of sacrifices for a lonmg time they might get bumped up to 12 or so. If they go on a mission for a temple they might get bumped up to 13 or 14. Slaying a demon that was terrorising the land could raise them to 16. But then they go and attack an enemy while in the sacred confines of a temple, and maybe it drops to 15. They pursue said enemy to a place that has been ritually defiled, and because they're in a hurry they don't bother to purify it before moving on. Boom, down to 14.

This way actions still impact Faith points, and Faith points still refresh daily, but one has to work hard at being devout before one gets a bigger pool of Faith points. I assume it would be easier to fall down toward Upsetting than it would be to rise up toward Devout.

A Faith score of 10-11 would be considered Non-Devout. Higher would be Devout and lower would be Upsetting.

That sounds pretty good, actually, and I might use that instead. Although I might say that your Faith score determines how many points you get, rather than setting them completely equal - otherwise, the barbarian would rapidly get far more Rage points than other characters could hope for, though that could be a good thing. Make Rage less powerful but usable more often, or something. I don't know.


A barbarian gets Rage points by giving into his animal side. His behaviour and personality become animalistic, even bestial. It's not that he's evil, it's that he no longer fits into human society well at all. Thus, he loses the ability to use Faith points but gains Rage points from his beast-like energy and instincts. This is a perfect cognate to Enkidu, and just like Enkidu the act of communing with a god could cause the barbarian to regain Faith points but lose bestial powers. Of course in most D&D games "communing with a god" probably won't mean "one full week of nonstop sex" like it did for Enkidu. But still, you get the point.


This is pretty much exactly what I was going for. Something I've been considering is making it so that, if a Hierodule feeds a creature with Rage points Faith, he actually loses Rage until he hits 0, then begins to gain Faith. Which would support that whole Hierodules soothing the wild man bit.


If you wanted to make Faith points more scarce, you could use the same "ability modifier" system the other 6 abilities use. So, for instance, a Non-Devout person with a score of 11 gets 0 Faith points per day. A Devout person with a score of 16 gets 3 points per day. An Upsetting person with a score of 6 gets -2 points per day, which (to be cruel) could be something the DM can invoke as "bad luck" one time per day for every -1 point. To be nicer, it could have no effect on its own but would count against Faith points granted by a Hierodule. So if the Hierodule gave 6 Faith points to the Upsetting character with a Faith score of 6, he'd have to immediately subtract his -2 modifier and end up with only 4 Faith points. That seems fairly balanced.

That's also an interesting idea. Perhaps make it modifier points / level? I want Faith to be something which is used frequently - it shouldn't be like Action Points where it only gets used when you're in trouble. One way to do that is to make it replenish per combat. That messes up the Healing bit, though....


owever you do the points, one problem remains. As it stands Devout characters get lots of rewards whereas Upsetting characters get lots of suck. That seems fine moralistically, but it's bad for game balance and fun. People like to play antiheroes.

The solution? Demonic disciples. I'm using the term "demonic" here in the way it's usually used when applied to ancient myths: powerful monsters who are basically the same as gods themselves, but who for whatever reason are at odds with the gods (or are too wild and chaotic to be considered gods). So the Titans, for instance, or Humbaba. Thus I don't mean "demons" in a Christian sense as "evil and wanting to steal your soul".

When a character reaches a low enough Faith score, it may attract the attentions of these demon-monsters. They may come to challenge the individual, or to befriend the individual, or to grant special powers. They may ask for the individual's help in some task. So the Upsetting characters can still get cool supernatural powers/quests/items just like the Devout characters.

Of course these demons are not quite as strong as gods, and far more dangerous to deal with - but they're also bound to be much more interesting. So I think it would balance out.

Hmm. I can see what you mean, but it seems a bit... wrong, I suppose. I feel like angering the gods should be a distinctly bad idea. But no, I suppose I can see what you mean. Something to consider, perhaps, is that there will be multiple religions, each with different behaviors required for Devoutness. I could probably make one for demons.


I don't get why an attack roll costs more than a saving throw. I'd switch those two. The healing seems a little underpriced - if it was a standard action maybe it'd be in line with the others. I don't know what your Rituals can do so I can't comment on that.

I'm not really sure why I've got the Attack Roll as more expensive - it made sense when I wrote it. I'm not sure about the healing. That one's probably the most dependent on how many points people get.

Rituals are like spells available to anyone. For example, anybody can cast a Protection from Evil spell from a tablet or whatever, which will tie up 2 of their Faith points until they 'cast' it. The main idea is to give everybody some access to warding magic, as everything I've read suggests that it was a moderately big part of Mesopotamian life. Priests and Hierodules would probably get increased access to them, as parts of established temples.

They could probably stand to be more expensive points-wise.


Wow. I just read this entire thread and I have to say, I am really intrigued by this. I can't wait to see what more you come up with for this (heck, already want to play a Hierodule).

Thanks! It's good to know that people are finding it interesting.

Another_Poet
2009-03-01, 03:59 PM
Something I've been considering is making it so that, if a Hierodule feeds a creature with Rage points Faith, he actually loses Rage until he hits 0, then begins to gain Faith. Which would support that whole Hierodules soothing the wild man bit.

That is badass.



Hmm. I can see what you mean, but it seems a bit... wrong, I suppose. I feel like angering the gods should be a distinctly bad idea. But no, I suppose I can see what you mean. Something to consider, perhaps, is that there will be multiple religions, each with different behaviors required for Devoutness. I could probably make one for demons.

Yeah, it would have to be done just right to have the right feel. Here are some suggestions:

-Use "demigods" "titans" or even "beasts of the gods" instead of "demons". That should snap people out of Christian Hell Demon mode.
-Make it clear that the benefits of working with these beings are powerful, but temporary. You seek out the Stone Giant of the Eastern Sea and agree to take his place as watchman at the door of death for 1 week? Great, his power is yours to use... until he takes it back...
-Also make it clear that you still don't want to actively piss off the gods. The gods outrank your divine beast friends and WILL shut you down if you screw up enough. Having a low devoutness score and working with the (often not evil) demigods is fine, but burning the gods' temples will still come with consequences.

I think what it comes down to is offering a highly Chaotic source of benefits for the non-devout, rather than offering an Evil source of benefits. A lot of people are non-devout just because they don't like rules or don't play well with others, and those are your classic antiheroes.

I know this is pretty vague and doesn't contain any mechanics. I'll try to think of something more usable and post it.

Antariuk
2009-03-03, 09:50 AM
Hello,

I have just registered on this board because im totally with this thread. Many great ideas appeared in here, but one (in my eyes) very important part of mesopotamian culture is missing: cuneiform writing.

It is not just a cheap replacement for the nordic runes or any other fantasy letters, but so much more if you think of magical effects. And it gives a bit more kick to the setting as not every character class should be able to read and write, because that ability was preserved to priests, nobles and administrators in the ancient mesopotamian cultures. So a priest/mage class in the party would be useful not only in dealing with casting spells and healing people but also in dealing with contracts, inscriptions and all forms of written word.

Other spontaneous ideas I have:

- Waterways. Huge parts of the country are only fertile if they are interspersed with waterways. So there are villages and services dedicated to the preservation and repair of barrages and waterways. There would also be abandoned fields that have become salty and unfertile through heavy exhaustion - perhaps there is an old ruined city nearby the party wants to discover? (salty fields may be useful as an indicator for the presence of old human settlements)

- Tablets of Destiny: at least this is a setting they really belong to! Possibilities are endless to use them in a campaign, but presumably a god like Marduk, Enki (or Ea, as his babylonian name was mentioned here before) or Ishtar will appear :)

- speaking of Enki, perhaps there is an conflict you want to add in that setting: Abzu (the home of Enki after he killed the god Abzu) and Tiamat as the principles of sweet and salty water, the new and the old world, civilization against wilderness. Depends on how exactly you want to add mythological progress in that world, but if Tiamat was not slaughtered by Marduk and used to create the material world, perhaps she ist still there deep in the ocean as a nemesis of the younger gods, that frequently create demons?

- Nomads. Nomadic tribes would be great as a constant threat to smaller settlements and perhaps as traders, if they are not that hostile. But it would be great to design their culture as an opposite to the mesopotamians, because thats is how it actually was.

Thane of Fife
2009-03-03, 10:37 AM
I have just registered on this board because im totally with this thread.

Well, then, welcome to the Forum (and the thread). It's good to have you.
Tremble in fear, Hourglass of Zihaja - soon we will have so many followers that even you will be unable to stand before us! Muahahahahahahahaha....


cuneiform writing.

It is not just a cheap replacement for the nordic runes or any other fantasy letters, but so much more if you think of magical effects. And it gives a bit more kick to the setting as not every character class should be able to read and write, because that ability was preserved to priests, nobles and administrators in the ancient mesopotamian cultures. So a priest/mage class in the party would be useful not only in dealing with casting spells and healing people but also in dealing with contracts, inscriptions and all forms of written word.

While I totally see where you're coming from, and tend to lean towards PC illiteracy in games I run, most settings assume vastly higher literacy rates than was historically reasonable. I'm not sure why this is.


Waterways. Huge parts of the country are only fertile if they are interspersed with waterways. So there are villages and services dedicated to the preservation and repair of barrages and waterways. There would also be abandoned fields that have become salty and unfertile through heavy exhaustion - perhaps there is an old ruined city nearby the party wants to discover? (salty fields may be useful as an indicator for the presence of old human settlements)


That sounds reasonable.


Tablets of Destiny: at least this is a setting they really belong to! Possibilities are endless to use them in a campaign, but presumably a god like Marduk, Enki (or Ea, as his babylonian name was mentioned here before) or Ishtar will appear :)

I'm unclear on what you're referring to, though it sounds promising. Please elaborate.


Abzu (the home of Enki after he killed the god Abzu) and Tiamat as the principles of sweet and salty water, the new and the old world, civilization against wilderness.

It is certainly something that I have been considering. This could probably tie in with the non-god worship Another Poet is speaking of.


Nomads. Nomadic tribes would be great as a constant threat to smaller settlements and perhaps as traders, if they are not that hostile. But it would be great to design their culture as an opposite to the mesopotamians, because thats is how it actually was.

That could make an interesting addition, though I'd need to think on how to include them.


I think what it comes down to is offering a highly Chaotic source of benefits for the non-devout, rather than offering an Evil source of benefits. A lot of people are non-devout just because they don't like rules or don't play well with others, and those are your classic antiheroes.

Thinking of them as Chaotic rather than Evil helps a lot.

Hmm. So much to think about. Also: I'm still looking for a name. All I can think of at the moment is Between Two Rivers, and I'm not tremendously fond of that.

Another_Poet
2009-03-03, 11:39 AM
Welcome Antariuk and may I just say that's a bunch of great ideas!!

On literacy here is an idea that I have. I've never liked only making casters &c literate because they're already so powerful. So here is an attempt to balance the scales.

Literacy: All characters (except barbarians and commoners) are literate in one of two alphabets: cuneiform or hierogplyhic. Some languages (X, Y and Z) write in cuneiform, and others (A, B, and C) write in hierogylphs. The automatic language that a character speaks determines which alphabet he or she can read. If a character has multiple automatic languages, he or she must choose one alphabet. No character begins literate in multiple alphabets.

Being literate allows a character to read and write basic messages or even great literature in their language. However, special religious texts and magical seals are not written in the common form of an alphabet. They are typically coded (stylised wedged, wedges stacked together oddly, cyphers applied, abstract hierogyphs, merged hieroglyphs, etc) and may be in an archaic form of the language. To read, and thus use a magical text like this a character must succeed on a Decipher Script check.

No character classes have Decipher Script as a class skill except priest, hierodule, and prophet (am I forgetting any casters here?). Decipher script cannot be used untrained.

However, one class (Rogue equivalent? Scholar type?) is specially trained in these ancient texts and can automatically succeed in deciphering them without making any check.

That's my suggestion. Everyone can read regular texts, magic/divine types can read magic/divin texts, and there's one special character who can do it all with ease -- who is not a full caster.

Also the mention of waterways reminded me of a creature from Dark Sun that would actualy fit this setting quite well. The Cistern Fiend is a wicked, dangerous monster that people intentionally introduce into their wells or aqueducts. Even though it is a man-eater its presence naturally purifies the water. People just keep their distance and it preys on vermin like rats and such instead. One of my favourites.

ap

Edit: On the name of the setting, for some reason I keep coming back to a word scramble.

Topomesamia (has a nice ring to it)

or

Potomesomia (reminds me of root word poto- meaning "water" "drink")

both appeal for some reason.

Otherwise the simple term Eridu (lit "home in the far-away" as I recall, it refers to the first settlements that cleared away the marshes for irrigation or to "the earth" "the world" generally. Fact check me before you quote me on that, but that's the general meaning as I recall.)

Antariuk
2009-03-03, 12:23 PM
Well, then, welcome to the Forum (and the thread). It's good to have you.

Thanks.


While I totally see where you're coming from, and tend to lean towards PC illiteracy in games I run, most settings assume vastly higher literacy rates than was historically reasonable. I'm not sure why this is.

You are right, but in this setting? A fighter or rogue should barely have learned to read and to write, because cuneiform writing is very complex and to master this skill people had to be very clever (more than us actually :)), let alone the costs of a school and the time it needs for a kid to graduate.


That sounds reasonable.

Its also correct in historical matter... many long-living sumerian and babylonian cities had problems with salt on the fields around them, because they had no technique to prevent the fields from exhaustion through overstraining. Even today you can see salty fields (for example in Iraq) that remains from ancient agriculture.


I'm unclear on what you're referring to, though it sounds promising. Please elaborate.

The Tablets of Destiny (my translator gave me that, I don't know if there is a proper name for it) are, as their name says, tablets. In babylonian mythology they were given to Marduk after his victory over Tiamat, so he helds the destiny of the world and even the gods in his hands. What exactly they are about or what is written on them is unkown (as far as I know), but its likely to be the timeline of our world and the destiny of each one of us.

There is another thing comparable to them: the 100 me. They were Enkis holy symbols of might, but the same time they were special powers and abilites. Inanna played some tricks on Enki, made him drunk and stole his me only to gave them to the mortals in her city. That way mankind got acces to several powers as well as Inanna herself.
There are several legends of how mankind got self awareness and the powers that define a human, but I think this one is nice. Putting the players in a quest to return a lost me to a god or perhaps prevent that the gods remove a me from our world would be different from the usual save-the-world-quest.


That could make an interesting addition, though I'd need to think on how to include them.

I think there is not much work to do on including them, they are just there. They follow the ancient routes their ancestors explored, camping in the deserts, in the savannah and near rivers and lakes. They are suspicious for everyone grown up in a settlement and vice versa, but they can tell great stories from far away and perhaps the trade rare goods? Other times they might be aggressive, especially in the outer territories. I would fit them in two niches: traders and bandits, at the same time.


Hmm. So much to think about. Also: I'm still looking for a name. All I can think of at the moment is Between Two Rivers, and I'm not tremendously fond of that.

But thats a very good idea, as the two rivers define the basin were this culture is born. On the other hand, it depends on how correct this setting should be in relation to the real geographical and cultural past. Perhaps we have the gods and severals cultural features, but create a whole new continent?

Antariuk
2009-03-03, 12:41 PM
Welcome Antariuk and may I just say that's a bunch of great ideas!!

Thanks for the nice welcome.


Literacy: All characters (except barbarians and commoners) are literate in one of two alphabets: cuneiform or hierogplyhic. Some languages (X, Y and Z) write in cuneiform, and others (A, B, and C) write in hierogylphs. The automatic language that a character speaks determines which alphabet he or she can read. If a character has multiple automatic languages, he or she must choose one alphabet. No character begins literate in multiple alphabets.

Nice idea. I would give the hieroglyphs to ordinary people and leave the cuneiform for all educated ones, because cuneiform (as some say) was developed to save place on the writing tablets and to write faster - economical reasons (but not financial reasons als clay was available everywhere, unlike parchment or even paper). So normal people can perhaps writhe some hieroglyphs, lets think of some nice ritals like if a new house was build and they write important glyphs for luck and health on the doorsill.


That's my suggestion. Everyone can read regular texts, magic/divine types can read magic/divin texts, and there's one special character who can do it all with ease -- who is [I]not a full caster.

Great idea, but wouldn't that make things very complicated (for a d20 game)?

[QUOTE=Another_Poet;5846008]Otherwise the simple term Eridu (lit "home in the far-away" as I recall, it refers to the first settlements that cleared away the marshes for irrigation or to "the earth" "the world" generally. Fact check me before you quote me on that, but that's the general meaning as I recall.)

I am totally with Eridu, that is a short term with a nice background. At least as a working title I think its perfect, but I would keep it all the way :)

Another_Poet
2009-03-03, 02:27 PM
Great idea [on the levels of literacy], but wouldn't that make things very complicated (for a d20 game)?

I don't think so. It means everyone can read and write, which makes the game run smoothely. It means casters, and no one else, can make checks to read archaic texts of power, which is good flavour and follows the same mechanic (d20+skill ranks+ability modifier) as everything else. And it would mean that special scholars would be able to read it without any check at all, which is even easier. All you have to do is have the scholar class, if there is one, have this listed among its 1st level class abilities. Everything else you just follow the regular trained-only class skill rules for.


I am totally with Eridu, that is a short term with a nice background. At least as a working title I think its perfect, but I would keep it all the way :)

I think we should add something to it to make it a little more compelling, give it some imagery... options:

Wanderers of Eridu
Gods of Eridu
Eridu: in the Land of the Gods
Eridu: the First Heroes

If only I could think of something that means "adventurers" that starts with an e (or at least a vowel) we could have some nice alliteration. Explorers of Eridu would do it, but sounds kind of weak to me.


ap

Thane of Fife
2009-03-03, 04:31 PM
You are right, but in this setting? A fighter or rogue should barely have learned to read and to write, because cuneiform writing is very complex and to master this skill people had to be very clever (more than us actually :)), let alone the costs of a school and the time it needs for a kid to graduate.


The problem is that fighters and rogues are already among the classes which I'm having trouble fitting into this setting - I don't want to make them even more boring (what I mean is that most Mesopotamian heroes would probably be priests, or maybe barbarians. There aren't many normal fighter types that I've seen).


Its also correct in historical matter... many long-living sumerian and babylonian cities had problems with salt on the fields around them, because they had no technique to prevent the fields from exhaustion through overstraining. Even today you can see salty fields (for example in Iraq) that remains from ancient agriculture.

Interesting. I did not know that.


There is another thing comparable to them: the 100 me. They were Enkis holy symbols of might, but the same time they were special powers and abilites. Inanna played some tricks on Enki, made him drunk and stole his me only to gave them to the mortals in her city. That way mankind got acces to several powers as well as Inanna herself.
There are several legends of how mankind got self awareness and the powers that define a human, but I think this one is nice. Putting the players in a quest to return a lost me to a god or perhaps prevent that the gods remove a me from our world would be different from the usual save-the-world-quest.

Looking into that further, it seems like we should be able to do something fascinating with that idea, but I'm having a hard time thinking what (though using them as Plot Hooks is certainly a reasonable option).


I think there is not much work to do on including them, they are just there. They follow the ancient routes their ancestors explored, camping in the deserts, in the savannah and near rivers and lakes. They are suspicious for everyone grown up in a settlement and vice versa, but they can tell great stories from far away and perhaps the trade rare goods? Other times they might be aggressive, especially in the outer territories. I would fit them in two niches: traders and bandits, at the same time.

I was more thinking about whether they should be represented by a new race, or whether they should simply be more humans.


On literacy here is an idea that I have. I've never liked only making casters &c literate because they're already so powerful. So here is an attempt to balance the scales.

An interesting idea. An article on the writing subject. (http://www.bib-arch.org/bar/article.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=35&Issue=02&ArticleID=09&Page=0&UserID=0&)


No character classes have Decipher Script as a class skill except priest, hierodule, and prophet (am I forgetting any casters here?). Decipher script cannot be used untrained.

However, one class (Rogue equivalent? Scholar type?) is specially trained in these ancient texts and can automatically succeed in deciphering them without making any check.

That's all the casters. On a scholar-type class, I would be inclined to either use Hierodules (who I am leaning towards not making full casters), or partially replacing rogues with experts and using them. I think that there was some famous Hierodule who did a lot of historical recording, but I can't find her at the moment.


I think we should add something to it to make it a little more compelling, give it some imagery... options:

Wanderers of Eridu
Gods of Eridu
Eridu: in the Land of the Gods
Eridu: the First Heroes

If only I could think of something that means "adventurers" that starts with an e (or at least a vowel) we could have some nice alliteration. Explorers of Eridu would do it, but sounds kind of weak to me.

Remember that most Campaign Settings have a world name and a setting name: Forgotten Realms/Faerun/Toril, Dragonlance/Krynn, Greyhawk/Oerth, Dark Sun/Athas, etc.

We could use Eridu for the world and have something else for the setting (or vice-versa, though, as you said, Eridu by itself could be more compelling).

Another_Poet
2009-03-04, 11:26 AM
The problem is that fighters and rogues are already among the classes which I'm having trouble fitting into this setting - I don't want to make them even more boring (what I mean is that most Mesopotamian heroes would probably be priests, or maybe barbarians. There aren't many normal fighter types that I've seen).

Well, I suppose that's true as far as the famous heroes, but those countries had their regular soldiers. For every 1 chariot archer there were 100 spearmen. Some players may find it fun to draw their characters from the lower ranks like that.


Looking into that further, it seems like we should be able to do something fascinating with that idea, but I'm having a hard time thinking what (though using them as Plot Hooks is certainly a reasonable option).

You know in some ways that could be the ultimate Maguffin quest. Usually when you have to collext X maguffins for the quest it's 3 famous artifacts or maybe 4 or 5 famous artifacts. But what if it was 100? What if all 100 me had been scattered across the realm, some even into the realm of the titans and some into the land of the dead, and some great priestess has put out a call for the 100 me to be reunited and brought to the great Zigurrat to the Sky (=Tower of Babel)?

Each of the me could be a wondrous item with its own special power. Other adventurers would surely answer the call in addition to the PCs, so at higher levels you might run into a rival team who have like 35 me on them or something. Individual me might be held by divine beasts, corrupt kings, priest of other gods, or buried or lost somewhere.



I was more thinking about whether they should be represented by a new race, or whether they should simply be more humans.

Well I was thinking that any of the races who do agriculture would also have their share of nomads who haven't settled down yet. So there could be nomads of several races.

On the other hand you could make a special human subrace for nomads. That would be kind of cool. They could lose the bonus skill points because they have no great centres of education but gain something else instead. +10' speed (stakcs with +10' from barbarian), or bonus on saves, or some specialty ability. Would still get the human bonus feat just like normal humans.


That's all the casters. On a scholar-type class, I would be inclined to either use Hierodules (who I am leaning towards not making full casters), or partially replacing rogues with experts and using them. I think that there was some famous Hierodule who did a lot of historical recording, but I can't find her at the moment.

My first thought was hierodules but they are already becoming quite powerful. I think giving them a bard spell progression instead of full casting is a good step, and if they also get some bardic buff abilities and of course their faithrape/ragerape powers I think they are set.

I'd definitely favour the rogue-plus-expert combo. you could flavour them as specially trained scholars, often from noble families (hence their fighting ability). Some use their knowledge for good and some use it for personal gain (thus the thief/deceiver aspect). They have access to secret knowledge (such as how to make/use poisons, very big deal in ancient times) and would have every incentive to sneak into ancient tombs and libraries in search of legendary artefacts.


Remember that most Campaign Settings have a world name and a setting name: Forgotten Realms/Faerun/Toril, Dragonlance/Krynn, Greyhawk/Oerth, Dark Sun/Athas, etc.

We could use Eridu for the world and have something else for the setting (or vice-versa, though, as you said, Eridu by itself could be more compelling).

True true. I think we should keep thinking on this. There's got to be some good combo of Eridu and a catchy tag line.

Antariuk
2009-03-04, 12:03 PM
Well, I suppose that's true as far as the famous heroes, but those countries had their regular soldiers. For every 1 chariot archer there were 100 spearmen. Some players may find it fun to draw their characters from the lower ranks like that.

Indeed. And I think in this setting would be a place for rogues too, but for example the lockpicking thing is complicated - there were very few locks with a key, if any (I don't know exactly), and just adding mechanical locks would destroy the sense of a bronze-time culture were not everything was made from metal. I would like to think of ways to solve this in the setting rather than in the class description, so perhaps we could collect some ideas on this (if appreciated) - you see I would like to keep the Rogue :)


Each of the me could be a wondrous item with its own special power. Other adventurers would surely answer the call in addition to the PCs, so at higher levels you might run into a rival team who have like 35 me on them or something. Individual me might be held by divine beasts, corrupt kings, priest of other gods, or buried or lost somewhere.

Absolutely brilliant idea. Even if you as a DM are not using me in the quests of your Eridu campaign, you just add news from other cities were a me was recovered or let the pleyers met some guys that once found a me and sold it to a priest-king - flavour, here we go. I like this a lot.



On the other hand you could make a special human subrace for nomads. That would be kind of cool. They could lose the bonus skill points because they have no great centres of education but gain something else instead. +10' speed (stakcs with +10' from barbarian), or bonus on saves, or some specialty ability. Would still get the human bonus feat just like normal humans.

Yeah, this could be fine. Nomads will be rather scouts and rangers (in ways of fighting) than the full-frontal fighter or barbarian, but some changes from the expeceted theme would do it well, too. Again you can specialize, lets say a tribe is known for its furious archers and another one for its fast and agile scouts? Lots of possibilities here, but I think it would be good to design at least some nomads in opposite to fighters and solders from settled cities, so an ambush or a similar event set up for the players would feel more intense, as they could see the clash of cultures in that event (and not only guys fighting other guys).

Another_Poet
2009-03-04, 02:19 PM
Nomads will be rather scouts and rangers (in ways of fighting) than the full-frontal fighter or barbarian, but some changes from the expeceted theme would do it well, too. Again you can specialize, lets say a tribe is known for its furious archers and another one for its fast and agile scouts? Lots of possibilities here, but I think it would be good to design at least some nomads in opposite to fighters and solders from settled cities, so an ambush or a similar event set up for the players would feel more intense, as they could see the clash of cultures in that event (and not only guys fighting other guys).

Oooh good call!

Antariuk
2009-03-05, 04:23 AM
I collected some ideas from Wikipedia while I was bored on work. Note that this is only about Sumer (and especially early Sumer), so some things will be different if looking at the Akkadians or Babylonians.

from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumer


It is fairly certain that it was during the Uruk period that Sumerian cities began to make use of slave labor captured from the hill country, and there is ample evidence for captured slaves as workers in the earliest texts.

So we have slaves. Many slaves were normal people in their former life (not born into slavery), because it was common practice that if a city state conquered another one, most of the people were enslaved (think of the Exodus in the bible, its pretty much the story), not just for the victorious king but the soldiers were often allowed to claim slaves theirselves as part of the fee. Player characters with slaves? Wheeee...


Time was reckoned in lunar months.

Time to get rid off the calendar of Harptos :P


The Code of Ur-Nammu, the oldest such codification yet discovered, dating to the Ur-III "Sumerian Renaissance", reveals a glimpse at societal structure in late Sumerian law. Beneath the lu-gal ("great man" or king), all members of society belonged to one of two basic strata: The "lu" or free person, and the slave (male, arad; female geme). The son of a lu was called a dumu-nita until he married. A woman (munus) went from being a daughter (dumu-mi), to a wife (dam), then if she outlived her husband, a widow (numasu) who could remarry.

Interesting here that there is no different status for craftsman like in medieval Europe, so if the players are not (former) slaves they all have pretty much the same rights (except priests and such).


The Tigris-Euphrates plain lacked minerals and trees. Sumerian structures were made of plano-convex mudbrick, not fixed with mortar or cement. Mud-brick buildings eventually deteriorate, so they were periodically destroyed, leveled, and rebuilt on the same spot. This constant rebuilding gradually raised the level of cities, which thus came to be elevated above the surrounding plain. The resultant hills, known as tells, are found throughout the ancient Near East.

I forgot to refer to this before, had some ideas but now they are lost... but it looks like we can have many ruined cities without making them hundrets of years old. That would be good for hiding valueables in ruins without haveing the players asking all the time why the hell no one else looted that ruin before.


Discoveries of obsidian from far-away locations in Anatolia and lapis lazuli from northeastern Afghanistan, beads from Dilmun (modern Bahrain), and several seals inscribed with the Indus Valley script suggest a remarkably wide-ranging network of ancient trade centered around the Persian Gulf.

So there is no problem with having exotic and rare goods available on markets for the players, as long as the city has access to waterways or trade routs, and it saves the DM from creating craftsmen and infrastructure for everything the players can buy.


The first war recorded was between Lagash and Umma in ca. 2525 BC on a stele called the Stele of Vultures. It shows the king of Lagash leading a Sumerian army consisting mostly of infantry. The infantrymen carried spears, wore copper helmets and carried leather or wicker shields. The spearmen are shown arranged in what resembles the phalanx formation, which requires training and discipline; this implies that the Sumerians may have made use of professional soldiers.

More spears! Would be great to have Fighters and other warfare characters with spears rather than the usual sword or axe. Spears are something I sometimes missed in a D&D3.5 game.


There is much evidence that the Sumerians loved music. It seemed to be an important part of religious and civic life in Sumer. Lyres were popular in Sumer; see Sumerian music.

and from from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerian_music


A lyre is an example of an instrument used in Sumer. Before playing a stringed instrument, the musicians would wash their hands to purify them. Many of the songs were for the Goddess Innana.

Music and dancing were a part of daily celebration and temple rites-music was played for marriages and births in the royal families. Music was also used to back up the recitation of poetry.

Musicians were trained in schools and formed an important professional class in Mesopotamia

Bards will have a good time, if you gave them some occasions for being employed if a ceremony or wedding is being held.

Another_Poet
2009-03-05, 01:19 PM
Perhaps having someone accompany a sacrifice with a lyre should impart a bonmus on the Diplomacy roll that is made at the end of the sacrifice.

ap

Thane of Fife
2009-03-06, 12:13 PM
Well, I suppose that's true as far as the famous heroes, but those countries had their regular soldiers. For every 1 chariot archer there were 100 spearmen. Some players may find it fun to draw their characters from the lower ranks like that.

That's what I've been going with so far.


Indeed. And I think in this setting would be a place for rogues too, but for example the lockpicking thing is complicated - there were very few locks with a key, if any (I don't know exactly), and just adding mechanical locks would destroy the sense of a bronze-time culture were not everything was made from metal. I would like to think of ways to solve this in the setting rather than in the class description, so perhaps we could collect some ideas on this (if appreciated) - you see I would like to keep the Rogue :)

The Rogue is going to stay, I'm just struggling to find an interesting niche for it.


Absolutely brilliant idea. Even if you as a DM are not using me in the quests of your Eridu campaign, you just add news from other cities were a me was recovered or let the pleyers met some guys that once found a me and sold it to a priest-king - flavour, here we go. I like this a lot.


Yes, that works well with the me. Also, I think that we might need to change that name - me is too commonly used in another way.


Yeah, this could be fine. Nomads will be rather scouts and rangers (in ways of fighting) than the full-frontal fighter or barbarian, but some changes from the expeceted theme would do it well, too. Again you can specialize, lets say a tribe is known for its furious archers and another one for its fast and agile scouts? Lots of possibilities here, but I think it would be good to design at least some nomads in opposite to fighters and solders from settled cities, so an ambush or a similar event set up for the players would feel more intense, as they could see the clash of cultures in that event (and not only guys fighting other guys).

Nomads could work as a human subrace. I like those ideas.


Note that this is only about Sumer (and especially early Sumer), so some things will be different if looking at the Akkadians or Babylonians.

Currently, we're looking from about early Sumer to early Persia (yeah, large time span there).


So we have slaves. Many slaves were normal people in their former life (not born into slavery), because it was common practice that if a city state conquered another one, most of the people were enslaved (think of the Exodus in the bible, its pretty much the story), not just for the victorious king but the soldiers were often allowed to claim slaves theirselves as part of the fee. Player characters with slaves? Wheeee...

Early on, I considered using Generic Classes, with Spellcaster nobles, Expert slaves, and Warrior soldiers. That's pretty much gone, though.


I forgot to refer to this before, had some ideas but now they are lost... but it looks like we can have many ruined cities without making them hundrets of years old. That would be good for hiding valueables in ruins without haveing the players asking all the time why the hell no one else looted that ruin before.

That could be interesting - I had also considered having Pre-Flood stuff.


More spears! Would be great to have Fighters and other warfare characters with spears rather than the usual sword or axe. Spears are something I sometimes missed in a D&D3.5 game.

Soldiers have always used spears - that doesn't stop their being relatively poor weapons for individuals, though. Much of what I've read suggests Khopeshes, Sapparas, and axes.


Bards will have a good time, if you gave them some occasions for being employed if a ceremony or wedding is being held.

Bard != Musician

Bard is a fairly specific archetype, and it is a Celtic one. There will be no bards.

And here is a very preliminary map of Eridu:

http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k155/dragonlordmax/EriduMap.jpg

Antariuk
2009-03-06, 08:05 PM
Currently, we're looking from about early Sumer to early Persia (yeah, large time span there).

Indeed, but hey, lets see the good point: tons and tons of stuff to take ideas from.



That could be interesting - I had also considered having Pre-Flood stuff.

That sounds good. For example, many of the pre-flood kings are listed as extreme long-living humans (like 300.000 years), so they were some kind of supernatural? Player could find strange items left behind by these ancestors.



Bard != Musician

Bard is a fairly specific archetype, and it is a Celtic one. There will be no bards.

Ok, you have a point.


And here is a very preliminary map of Eridu:

Looks good. Perhaps you want to add some islands or perhaps one, so we can have Dilmun, wich is some sort of a paradise to Sumer: "Dilmun, sometimes described as "the place where the sun rises" and "the Land of the Living", is the scene of some versions of the Sumerian creation myth, and the place where the deified Sumerian hero of the flood, Utnapishtim (Ziusudra), was taken by the gods to live forever." (from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilmun)

EDIT: Hm, I just realized that you put the cedar forest near the coast - although there are cedars growing at the asian coasts (in real world), most of them can be found on mountans. Perhaps just add some mountains into the woods?

Another_Poet
2009-03-09, 01:02 PM
I like everythign said here. I just want to add that I like the word "me" as it is. I think it we used a capital M and put it in italics, Me would be easy to distinguish and understand. It's a nice counterpoint to the zqar'yari type words all too often found in fantasy.

LucyHarris
2009-03-09, 04:45 PM
How is that pronounced, by the way? Is it like "mee" or "meh"? Or something else?

Antariuk
2009-03-09, 05:04 PM
How is that pronounced, by the way? Is it like "mee" or "meh"? Or something else?

I have this small explanation in one of my lists:


The vowels may be pronounced as follows: a as in father, u as in pull, e as in peg, and i as in hip. Of the special consonants, is pronounced like ng in rang, is pronounced like ch in German Buch or Scottish loch, and is pronounced like sh in dash.

By the way, Me is only the short-form, to say so:

me-du-du-ga: the good 'me's, the beneficial functions.
me-klib-ba: all the 'me's, all the functions of civilized life.
me-ma: the high 'me's, the high functions
me-u: terrible 'me's, negative attributes
me-nam-nun-na: the (god-given) 'me' of royalty
me-n-galam: perfected 'me's

BlueWizard
2009-03-10, 02:20 AM
This sounds right up my alley.

LucyHarris
2009-03-10, 10:36 AM
me-du-du-ga: the good 'me's, the beneficial functions.
me-klib-ba: all the 'me's, all the functions of civilized life.
me-ma: the high 'me's, the high functions
me-uš: terrible 'me's, negative attributes
me-nam-nun-na: the (god-given) 'me' of royalty
me-n-galam: perfected 'me's

Um....wow. You might have to streamline that one general way of saying it for the game.

ufo
2009-03-10, 12:14 PM
http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/1724/eridumapfulld.png

There are probably a hundred Playgrounders who could do this much better, but I thought this whole setting was awesome and I was feeling bad that I wasn't contributing somehow :smalleek:

Wasn't sure what the yellow parts on the original meant, though.

Antariuk
2009-03-10, 01:53 PM
Looks fine! But I think we shouldn't put much work into beautiful maps right now, as ideas are still growing and things have to be worked out. For that matter, i have one or two things I wanna talk about:

1. City States. All cities in Sumer were their own states, with a king or priest-king and the unavoidable bureaucracy to run a state, no matter how small. Some cities battled each other, trying to increase their influence and wealth by collecting tax, slaves and goods from subordinated cities. Others made contracts and build commercial relationship. Very few cities remain something like neutral for a long time (or at least they were not massacred and burned in wars), as they were devoted to very important gods or are famous for culture and craftsmanship.

This could be interesting for gameplay in the Eridu setting, as players don't have to walk hundrets of miles to encounter different attitudes, rules and people - they are 10 miles away. And because the influence of many city states weren't that big (most remain to be just the local city in a 10-20 mile radius), DMs will have a good time creating "random" city states for their campaign.

2. Netherworld (called Aralu). In the land of dust and shadows is the palace of Ereshkigal, the goddes of death and the netherworld. It is surrounded by seven walls and guarded by a gatekeeper everyone (even a goddess like Innanna) has to pass. the ghosts of all death humans go to Aralu and remain there in darkness. If the descendants or relatives of a dead person didnt celebrate funerary rituals with food and drinks, his ghost was likely to haunt the living people, wandering around in all eternity. So to speak, in sumerian mythology dead people were pretty much fu**ed up.

Great source for adventures I think, there were so many smaller and lesser gods or demons that could make a deal with the player characters... or think of the possibility a character dies, in the Eridu setting chances to revive people are better than in lets say Forgotten Realms, because the mythology downright invites heroes into the Aralu :)

3. Abzu. The realm of Enki, right above Aralu, is like a reservoir of all sweet water in the world, were Enki remains. It was the husband of Tiamat before, but Enki killed Abzu and made him his home (persons and principles can be the same, now thats something to think about).

Because Enki is the god of magic, mysteries, knowlegde and the patron of humanity, some characters like wizards scorcerers with a connection to this realm will perhaps try to find the Abzu? Think of a realm beneath the surface, full of rivers, lakes and waterfalls that power every fount in the surface, could be a great journey.


What do you think?

ufo
2009-03-10, 03:08 PM
I don't know anything about Mesopotamian culture, but from an "unknowing observer" point of view, it sounds very interesting.

On the city states thing, I think it is a very good idea, both for the gameplay reasons that you stated, but also because of the fact that city-states is concept rarely used in fantasy/fictional worlds. And we all love originality, don't we?

Another_Poet
2009-03-10, 03:13 PM
What do you think?

I agree in all respects and like it all.

I would modify the undead bit a little. They didn't think of their dead as f'd up, just as much closer to the living. The darkness of the afterlife was considered a place of rest and the ghosts whjo stayed in this world were considered a natural phenomenon. i woudl give each city state at least two or three families who are being visited by a ghost. Many of those families might be happy to have grandma around and leave out offering to her, while others would be sick of their dead relatives interfering in things. The PCs can ingore that or take it up as a plot hook at their option.

I think the yellow stuff on the original map was supposed to be desert. I do think we need to shake up the geography a little, addign more biomes to keep things interesting. Marshes would not be out of place, for certain.

Also when you have a fnatasy map where the land spills off all four edges of the map (and you can't see what's on the far shore of the only sea) you're in n trouble. If we want this to be self-contained then we should make that clear if we want neighbouring countries that are off our Eridu map and may be nothibng like Eridu, we should come up with the basics of whatthose countries are like.

ap

ufo
2009-03-10, 03:37 PM
Again, I do not have much knowledge about this time period, but I assume that it would be reasonable to have a Greek-like culture established in the areas close to Eridu.

Personally, I'm not fond of the idea of simply filling the outlying areas with unknown territory, just as long as these areas do not become a serious concern. After all, they are ultimately irrelevant to the game world.

Another_Poet
2009-03-10, 04:06 PM
We should probably detailsd some separate nations within Eridu. I'm also wondering about dividing the races geographically as they are now. It seems to me that parallel evolution (or creation) and migration patterns are quite possible. You couild have gnoll tribes and nomad and human cities and dwarf strongholds etc all mixed up all over the place. That would work with the idea of city-states and wildernesses.

I also think that we could add a variety of islands each with its own "schtick." I know, I know, very Odyssey and not very Sumerian. But it would be an easy way to provide a whole lot of geographic diversity without adding biomes that are totally alien to the setting.

Island of Giants+
Island of Talking Animals+
Island of Sleep*
Island of Madness*
Island of Youth*
Island of the Ruined Nymph
Island of the Howling Caves
Island of Lust*
Island of Vengeance*
Island of the Man-eaters+
Island of Fallen Nephilim
The Island the Gods Forgot
Island of Wind+
Burning Island
etc

* denotes islands under a constant magical effect, all creatures must make save vs effect (insanity, sleep etc)

+ denotes islands inhabited primarily by one species or creature type

The others just have some unique feature or resident that make them infamous.

Antariuk
2009-03-10, 04:16 PM
Islands? Hey, what about Dilmun? The very Island for every Sumerian! :)

To the seperate natiosn/races-thing: I think we can look at history again. Sumerians were surrounded by semitic nomadic tribes. They lived not only in the deserts but also in the mountains. Through time they merged with the Sumerians and the cultures of Akkad, Assur and Babylon were born. Then there was the empire of the Hittite with a culture analog to Sumer but enough differences, for example a superior knowledge in metalworking. Think of indian culture, the system of castes, de religion - very different.

ufo
2009-03-10, 04:24 PM
We should probably detailsd some separate nations within Eridu. I'm also wondering about dividing the races geographically as they are now. It seems to me that parallel evolution (or creation) and migration patterns are quite possible. You couild have gnoll tribes and nomad and human cities and dwarf strongholds etc all mixed up all over the place. That would work with the idea of city-states and wildernesses.
Definitely. Detailing nations is the best part of worldbuilding, in my opinion.



I also think that we could add a variety of islands each with its own "schtick." I know, I know, very Odyssey and not very Sumerian. But it would be an easy way to provide a whole lot of geographic diversity without adding biomes that are totally alien to the setting.

snip

The others just have some unique feature or resident that make them infamous.

It could definitely work, and these islands could provide easy plot hooks. However, we'd have to make sure that these islands are well implemented, as opposed to simple comic reliefs (which they will become without proper development).

Another concept that we could introduce is the idea of a "common enemy" or "great evil". I'm thinking that in this setting, this could be an empire which has small terriotrial presence in the game world, but can still prove a threat if required by the story, because of it's holdings outside the frame of the setting.

Thane of Fife
2009-03-10, 05:35 PM
Whew - sorry for my absence, but Spring Break is upon me and cutting into my internet time (bizarre though that may sound).


That sounds good. For example, many of the pre-flood kings are listed as extreme long-living humans (like 300.000 years), so they were some kind of supernatural? Player could find strange items left behind by these ancestors.

Current line of thought is that the Nephilim are what remains of the pre-Flood peoples - they hid in those mountains near their territory and managed to survive. I have also considered possibly using some kind of aberrations as Pre-Flood beings.


I like everythign said here. I just want to add that I like the word "me" as it is. I think it we used a capital M and put it in italics, Me would be easy to distinguish and understand. It's a nice counterpoint to the zqar'yari type words all too often found in fantasy.

I don't mind short words, and we could probably write it in such a fashion as to be okay, but me is just such a common word....


This sounds right up my alley.

We'd love to have you.


Map that looks much nicer than mine

That is beautiful, but Antariuk is right, and it's still extremely preliminary.
Yellow was indeed intended to be desert. Or... super desert, or something.


City-States, Underworld, Abzu/Apsu

City-states are a certainty, though there will also be empires. One of the main principles I had in mind starting this was that I wanted a Fantasy Assyria, so there will be at least some empires.

The Underworld is something I've been planning on for quite some time - at the moment, Quest to the Underworld is the default (and probably only) method of resurrection.

On Abzu/Apsu, a mystical land of freshwater could be interesting. As far as wizards and sorcerers go, there really aren't any - all casters are either Priests, Prophets, or Hierodules (or other people using Rituals). All magic is basically divine in origin, all that differs is how people draw on it.


Also when you have a fnatasy map where the land spills off all four edges of the map (and you can't see what's on the far shore of the only sea) you're in n trouble. If we want this to be self-contained then we should make that clear if we want neighbouring countries that are off our Eridu map and may be nothibng like Eridu, we should come up with the basics of what those countries are like.

I think my basic intent was that the map shows the civilized lands known to the area in question - if there is other civilization, it's too far away for these people to get to it. On top of which, there are monsters out there.

These people don't have boats capable of sailing to the other side of the ocean. I will also point out that, in Grey Box Forgotten Realms, land spilled off three edges of the map, and the fourth was an ocean with no hints as to what lay beyond it.

I like the idea of islands, though.


Another concept that we could introduce is the idea of a "common enemy" or "great evil". I'm thinking that in this setting, this could be an empire which has small terriotrial presence in the game world, but can still prove a threat if required by the story, because of it's holdings outside the frame of the setting.

The closest thing to that which the setting currently has would be the Hobgoblins, the Persian analogues. At the moment, they are being portrayed as a large empire to the east, slowly expanding into the main area of the map.

Another_Poet
2009-03-11, 10:38 AM
I think my basic intent was that the map shows the civilized lands known to the area in question - if there is other civilization, it's too far away for these people to get to it. On top of which, there are monsters out there.

These people don't have boats capable of sailing to the other side of the ocean. I will also point out that, in Grey Box Forgotten Realms, land spilled off three edges of the map, and the fourth was an ocean with no hints as to what lay beyond it.

I see your point. On the other hand I feel it's a little weak to say, "What's to the west? Endless desert full of monsters. What's to the north? Endless desert full of monsters. The east? Desert, monsters. Across the sea? Oh, no, you don't have boats that can go across the sea! Walk around it? What? But the coast is all endless desert full of monsters!"

I agree that the islands would have to be really well executed. I left off Dilmun because it'd already been suggested and because it's very different from the sort of island I've been suggesting. I'm not sure it should even be a physical place (extraplanar?). If so it should at least be far hardter to reach than the random coastal islands I've been suggesting.

ap

Antariuk
2009-03-11, 12:10 PM
Another_Poet, you are right. Dilmun is difficult, but I would like to import it because it is deep grounded in the mythology (if we use that). Perhaps it would be an island the players may reach at higher levels, something like "if you are ready to find an enter Dilmun, you won this setting" :)

Currently I am working on some cities (or city states), using the FR campaign setting and other d20 books as ressources. But the most important task are probably the races and classes in this setting. Thane (as this thread is his baby) should make a collection of all his comments and ideas posted so far about classes and races, what should be in and what not, so we can work a bit more focussed.

ufo
2009-03-12, 02:47 PM
*shamesless bumpzilla*

So, you guys got any other ideas? Something that I might work on, with my limited knowledge of this period of history.

Another_Poet
2009-03-16, 11:41 AM
antariuk - yeah I definitely think we should use Dilmun. Your idea sounds good.

ufo - not sure. Thane, what is the next step here? What do you need the most help with?

I suspect that making the crunch to match the fluff is the big priority.

ap

Thane of Fife
2009-03-16, 01:00 PM
Thane, what is the next step here? What do you need the most help with?

I'm struggling with the Faith Points most of all, really. I'm rather uncertain on how to execute them. Part of the problem is that I want them to balance with Rage Points, but Rage Points don't really look to be that good in Pathfinder, while I want Faith to be very important.


Thane (as this thread is his baby) should make a collection of all his comments and ideas posted so far about classes and races, what should be in and what not, so we can work a bit more focussed.

Races


Humans

The predominant race throughout the world, humans have a number of cultures throughout the world, and, in general, control its most powerful cities and empires.

There is no doubt (at least to humans) that the gods favor this race above the others.

Humans are have their normal racial abilities and modifiers.

Dwarves

Masters of warfare, the dwarven empire is one feared across the land. Riding powerful scythed chariots and wielding iron weapons, the armies of the dwarves are devastatingly effective.

Dwarves have their normal racial abilities, except that, instead of receiving +1 to hit orcs and goblinoids, and receiving a +4 dodge bonus against giants, dwarves receive these bonuses against something else (yet undecided). Also, Favored Class is now Scout.

Nephilim

It is said that, before the Flood, men were of far greater stature then they are now. Thus is claimed the origin of the Nephilim, those who, somehow, defied the gods themselves and survived the great cataclysm. Others claim that these giants among men are descended from the gods themselves.

Regardless of their origin, however, the Nephilim are as powerful as they are large, a race to be feared by men.

Nephilim are treated as half-giants, except that they receive no natural psionic abilities or boosts.

Hobgoblins

To the east lies the Empire of Kuresh, the land of the hobgoblins. Though cunning and militant, the hobgoblins are alien to other races - theirs is a religion of but a single god, and a culture of odd taboos. They obey few of the same religious practices as more polytheistic beings.

Theirs is a new empire, but it is one which is on the rise.

Hobgoblins have the following modifiers:

+2 Intelligence
Base Speed 30 ft
Darkvision to 60 ft.
+2 racial bonus to Saving Throws vs. fear effects
Limited Religion Choices
-2 racial penalty to Diplomacy and Bluff checks when dealing with individuals of other races
Favored Class: Fighter


Gnolls

The gnolls are an odd people, and are more animalistic than any of the world's other races. Most gnolls boast the head of either a hyena or a jackal, but there are some whose appearance is catlike, reptilian, or even birdlike. Regardless, gnolls tend to be fierce and warlike, and are known to be scavengers - after a battle, it is not uncommon for the victorious gnolls to feast upon the dead. Meat is meat, after all. Perhaps because of this, gnoll kings are known to have elaborate tombs constructed. An attempt to ward off potential tomb feeders?

Gnolls have the following modifiers:

+2 Strength, -2 Charisma
Base Speed 30 ft
Low-light vision
+1 Natural Armor Modifier
Gnolls can speak with whatever kind of animal they resemble, as per Speak with Animal, 1/day
Hunger: A gnoll must eat red meat at least once per day. A gnoll who does not consume such suffers a -1/day penalty to all Attack Rolls and Skill Checks. The penalty is relieved when the gnoll feeds upon red meat. Note that the gnoll must still eat regularly, as with other humanoids; this is simply an additional requirement.
Favored Class: Ranger

Faravahar

Guardian spirits sent by the gods, Faravahar are largely human in appearance, excluding their large, feathered wings. These beings are usually sent by the gods to protect important individuals from evil spirits. Because of this, Faravahar are more dependent on remaining faithful to their patrons then are many other beings.

Faravahar have no cultures of their own.

Faravahar have the following modifiers:

Base Speed 30 ft. Fly 30 ft. (poor)
Faravahar are Native Outsiders rather than Humanoids
Spirit: A Faravahar is dependent on its patron god for its continued existence. As such, a Faravahar must spend Faith Points to remain at full power.<Insert stuff about how that works>.

On the map, the nephilim are near the mountains, with the idea that they may have hidden at the highest peaks, surviving the Flood.

Hobgoblins are a bit boring at the moment.

Classes:

Fighter:
The most basic class, the fighter is largely unchanged, with the main difference being that he now gains Faith Points. The fighter is the basic soldier, a staunch follower of the gods (probably).

Barbarian:
Currently, we're using the Pathfinder barbarian, or at least something very similar. Barbarians get Rage points instead of Faith. Enkidu would be the archetypal barbarian.

Rogue:
Kind of a filler class at the moment, the Rogue is basically unchanged, except that he gets Faith Points. And that locks and traps are less common.

Scout:
The Scout is mostly in as a charioteer and skirmisher class. He shoots people and gets Faith Points; pretty straightforward.

Ranger:
I'm still planning to try for a Ranger with no spellcasting, who can serve as a skirmisher type, but I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps the poor ranger should be ditched, with the Scout taking his place. If he stays, he'll get Faith Points.

Priest:
Basically the Cleric, the Priest gets a smaller spell list. The plan is for him to be a Clericzilla type. He represents most priests of established temples, and is the most common type of caster. He's mostly a martial sort, though, I guess - Gilgamesh would be the archetype, here. No Faith Points.

Prophet:
The other full caster, the prophet is also divine, but functions more like a wizard - he gets more offensive spells, but is physically weaker, and I've tried to avoid giving him self-buffs. No Faith Points, and might not get to cast Rituals at all. Moses would be the archetypal Prophet. I've also considered some non-casting powers, but most of them have been put to the side.

Hierodule:
A partial-caster, the Hierodule is another established priestess. Her main schtick is that she's a civilizing influence, as well a direct representation of her goddess, and this gives her power over Faith and Rage points - specifically, she can sap points, give points, and such. Giving Faith to someone who has Rage drains Rage rather than giving Faith. The Hierodule also has some scribe elements.

Spell Lists:

Prophet Spells (Sorted Roughly by Level):
The Prophet is, in general, the major caster. He gets the offensive spells and the debuffs in particular.

Bane
Bless
Cause Fear
Cure Light Wounds
Deathwatch
Doom
Magic Stone
Magic Weapon
Obscuring Mist
Remove Fear

Aid
Bear's Endurance
Bull's Strength
Consecrate
Cure Moderate Wounds
Darkness*
Hold Person
Make Whole
Remove Paralysis
Resist Energy
Lesser Restoration
Shatter
Silence

Bestow Curse
Blindness/Deafness
Contagion
Create Food/Water
Cure Serious Wounds
Daylight
Deeper Darkness
Dispel Magic
Locate Object
Magic Circle against Alignment
Prayer
Protection from Energy
Remove Curse
Stone Shape
Water Walk

Control Water
Cure Critical Wounds
Dismissal
Greater Magic Weapon
Planar Ally, Lesser
Poison
Repel Vermin
Restoration
Sending
Spell Immunity

Atonement
Break Enchantment
Commune
Cure Light Wounds, Mass
Dispel Alignment
Flame Strike
Insect Plague
Mark of Justice
Plane Shift
True Seeing

Animate Objects
Banishment
Bear's Endurance, Mass
Bull's Strength, Mass
Cure Moderate Wounds, Mass
Dispel Magic, Greater
Forbiddance
Heal
Heroes' Feast
Planar Ally

Control Weather
Cure Serious Wounds, Mass
Destruction
Regenerate
Repulsion
Restoration, Greater

Cloak of Chaos
Cure Critical Wounds, Mass
Discern Location
Earthquake
Firestorm
Holy Aura
Planar Ally, Greater
Shield of Law
Unholy Aura

Energy Drain
Heal, Mass
Implosion
Miracle
Storm of Vengeance

Priest (Cleric) Spells:
The Priest is more the martial caster; he gets buffs and the ability to fight.

Bless
Cure Light Wounds
Deathwatch
Detect Alignment
Divine Favor
Entropic Shield
Magic Stone
Magic Weapon
Protection from Alignment
Remove Fear
Shield of Faith

Augury
Bear's Endurance
Bull's Strength
Consecrate
Cure Moderate Wounds
Death Knell?
Remove Paralysis
Resist Energy
Lesser Restoration
Shield Other

Cure Serious Wounds
Daylight
Dispel Magic
Magic Circle against Alignment
Magic Vestment
Prayer
Protection from Energy
Remove Curse

Cure Critical Wounds
Death Ward
Dismissal
Divination
Divine Power
Greater Magic Weapon
Planar Ally, Lesser
Repel Vermin
Restoration

Atonement
Commune
Cure Light Wounds, Mass
Dipel Alignment
Mark of Justice
Plane Shift
Righteous Might
Spell Resistance

Banishment
Bear's Endurance, Mass
Bull's Strength, Mass
Cure Moderate Wounds, Mass
Dispel Magic, Greater
Forbiddance
Heal
Planar Ally

Cure Serious Wounds, Mass
Regenerate
Restoration, Greater

Cloak of Chaos
Cure Critical Wounds, Mass
Discern Location
Holy Aura
Planar Ally, Greater
Shield of Law
Unholy Aura

Heal, Mass
Miracle

Ritual Spells (These can be cast by members of any class, and may be memorizeable to priests and prophets):

Bless
Cure Light Wounds
Magic Stone
Magic Weapon
Protection from Alignment

Augury
Bear's Endurance
Bull's Strength
Cure Moderate Wounds
Delay Poison
Eagle's Splendor
Gentle Repose
Resist Energy
Shield Other

Dispel Magic
Glyph of Warding
Invisibility Purge
Locate Object
Magic Circle against Alignment
Magic Vestment
Remove Blindness/Deafness
Remove Disease

Dismissal
Greater Magic Weapon
Neutralize Poison
Planar Ally, Lesser
Spell Immunity
Tongues

Break Enchantment
Commune
Dispel Alignment
Raise Dead
Righteous Might

Banishment
Dispel Magic, Greater
Forbiddance
Glyph of Warding, Greater
Planar Ally

Resurrection

Cloak of Chaos
Holy Aura
Planar Ally, Greater
Shield of Law
Spell Immunity, Greater
Unholy Aura

True Resurrection

Rituals are spells which can be cast by almost anybody - Priests and Hierodules will memorize them like other spells, while other characters will need to use Faith Points to do it. Rituals will generally be time-consuming to cast and will cost small amounts of money, but can be stored by setting aside the Faith used to cast them.

Another_Poet
2009-03-25, 09:35 AM
Regarding Faith points, I would start off balancing them on their own right if I were you, and then work out how they equate to rage points afterward. If 3 rage points equal 1 faith point or something, that's not too hard to use.

The first question to ask is whether you want Faith pools to be large or small. By large I mean 100 Faith points, with abilities costing 10-60 points per use. Byu small I mean like 6 points, with abilities costing 1 or 2 points per use.

A large pool offers a lot more room for gradation (this one isn't as good as the 30 point ability but it's stronger than the 20 point ability let's call it 25). Small pools tend to be easier for people to mentally track. So a large pool is more flexible but you'll need to make a nice clear chart for faith cost and a nice faith point tracking box on the char sheet.

I know you had a short list of abilities you could use with Faith points. Try to brainstorm it out, write every possible use for faith points. Once you have the whole list we can work together to balance out which are better than which and make a hierarchy. Then pricing within your pool size should be easy.

Only then do you need to figure out how they translate to Rage.

ap

Thane of Fife
2009-03-28, 05:59 PM
I like your idea, but am having trouble coming up with stuff that Faith can do. These would be my current ideas:

Reroll attack rolls
Reroll saving throws
Force enemies to reroll attack rolls
Damage reduction
Use/hold rituals
Heal damage
Reroll skill check
Throw off compulsion
Power attack with a missile weapon (maybe - this might better serve as a feat)

As far as numbers go, I'm currently leaning towards a system where each individual point is important. I'm also strongly considering giving points per combat, rather than per day.


In other news, any ideas for class abilities for prophets? So far he's got spells and a limited way to commune with his god. And he needs more.

IcePhoenix
2009-03-30, 06:13 PM
Hello all,

I have read through the thread and so far, the setting looks good. However, even though I do not know very much about Mesopotamia, there is one thing I need to address.

Language
Babylonian (and probably other Mesopotamian languages) has something called "Vowel Harmony." I probably will fail at explaining this correctly, so here is an example:

For the word "Sharraqum," if you add the suffix "-et," the word will not be "Sharraqumet," but will instead be "Sherreqemet." (No, I do not know if that word or suffix exists, or what they mean if they do)

And a Wikipedia link. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vowel_harmony) Keep this type of thing in mind when devising names in the setting.

Thane of Fife
2009-03-31, 06:20 PM
That is both interesting and staggeringly complicated, and certainly something to consider.

Sorry that I almost missed your post.

Thane of Fife
2009-04-18, 05:05 PM
Sorry about letting this fall so far, those who are still interested.

A somewhat re-worked Faith system, with thanks to Lappy9000 for some of the new Faith powers (and yes, I'd still be interested in having more):

Every character has a Faith score, which generally hovers somewhere around 4-ish, with the exception of the classes which don't get Faith points. Every character begins with a Faith of 4 (unless he wants it to begin lower).

At the beginning of every combat, a character gets a number of Faith points equal to his Faith score. He has until the end of the combat to use these points.

Faith Points can be used as follows (note that none of these uses require actions unless otherwise stated):



Re-roll Attack Roll: 1 point
Use this after you have made an attack roll. You may even spend further points to continue re-rolling the re-roll.

Re-roll Saving Throw: 2 points
This functions exactly like the above option, except that it allows you to re-roll saving throws instead of attack rolls.

Re-roll skill check: 1
Just like the above, except that you can re-roll skill checks.

Force Re-rolled Attack: 2 points
After somebody attacks you, you can use this ability to force them to re-roll their attack roll.

Damage reduction: 2 points / 1 DR
During your turn, you may spend any number of Faith points to gain Damage Reduction equal to half the number of points you spent / -. Alternatively, as an immediate action, you may use this ability after somebody hits you with an attack,

Heal damage: 1d6 / 1 point or 1d6 / 2 points
As a standard action, you may spend any number of Faith points to heal damage. You regain 1d6 hit points for every Faith point which you spend. Alternatively, you may use this ability as an Immediate action, in which case you regain 1d6 hit points for every 2 Faith points you spend.

Throw off compulsion: 3
Any time your character is under a magical compulsion, he may spend 3 Faith points to have the compulsion permanently removed. Note that you cannot be prevented from doing this through a compulsion.

Divine Eye: 2 points / round
For every round in which you spend 2 Faith points to activate this ability, any damage dice which you roll are altered:

{table=head]Old Die|New Die
d4|1d2+2
d6|1d4+2
d8|1d4+4
d10|1d6+4
d12|1d6+6
[/table]

Inevitability : 4 points
Spend 4 points after making a successful melee attack to halve the current durations of any beneficial effects currently in use by the target. You may use this ability only once per round.

Favor: 2 points / round
Every round in which you spend 2 points to activate this ability, gain a +2 favor bonus to AC and all attack rolls.

Antariuk
2009-09-09, 07:46 AM
At the risk of getting beaten for rising this necrotic thread:

Thane, are you still working on this project? I moved recently and now I found some of my notes about city states and other ideas for this setting and I remembered...

Thane of Fife
2009-09-09, 07:50 AM
I had actually recently been considering starting a new thread for this, but I haven't had much progress since the last update.

The Faith Point system in particular has been killing me.

charl
2009-09-09, 09:29 AM
I had actually recently been considering starting a new thread for this, but I haven't had much progress since the last update.

The Faith Point system in particular has been killing me.

I would suggest checking out the action point system from Eberron for inspiration (if you haven't already). You could also look at the prestige classes and feats for that system that allow extended use of AP.

Antariuk
2009-09-11, 02:59 PM
I had actually recently been considering starting a new thread for this, but I haven't had much progress since the last update.

The Faith Point system in particular has been killing me.

Anything I can help you with?
I am also wondering if you changed some rules or incorporated new ideas?

Thane of Fife
2009-09-11, 03:16 PM
Anything I can help you with?
I am also wondering if you changed some rules or incorporated new ideas?

Actually, looking up a few posts there appears to be a very workable faith point system.

Which means that, at the moment, class features for the Prophet and Hierodule are probably the big necessities (the former being a full caster and the latter being the faith point manipulator). Priests could probably use some, too.

Mogrii
2009-10-02, 06:35 PM
May be it's a little to late but I just registered and saw this topic.

You wanted a reason why to include wizards? Well, 'mage' is word that comes from persian origin. It comes from magi, which were wise men and followers of the eternal flame if I can recall correctly. They were more like alchemists and astrologers than magicians, but you could work with something there.

Aldizog
2009-10-05, 12:44 AM
Also a newly-registered newbie chiming in on the old thread...

An above poster mentioned a hierodule who did some historical recording. Perhaps thinking of Enheduanna? The first named author, possibly daughter of Sargon the Conquerer (whether she was speaking literally or figuratively is unclear), and a priestess. Though not a heirodule as far as I know. This suggests the use of part of the Archivist approach for divine casters -- they need a "prayer book" for the spells they can cast, reflecting that, in this setting, there is something magical about writing.

And a thought on the "common enemy" that might be used. I've been thinking of developing a campaign set during the Bronze Age Collapse. Some contemporary sources point to the Sea Peoples as being responsible for some of the widespread destruction seen around 1200 BC... of course I have my own ideas about who the Sea Peoples would actually be in my setting, but I'm sure other ideas present themselves. And this time period is just amazing (Bronze Age Collapse, Trojan War, Ramses the Great, Fu Hao, and other interesting figures and events).

Thane of Fife
2009-10-05, 07:57 AM
You wanted a reason why to include wizards? Well, 'mage' is word that comes from persian origin. It comes from magi, which were wise men and followers of the eternal flame if I can recall correctly. They were more like alchemists and astrologers than magicians, but you could work with something there.

Right. I have seen references to such things. The sources I have read, however, generally suggest that there is only really one 'type' of magic to Mesopotamians, and that it comes more or less from the gods. Anyone, however, is able to achieve certain effects. I am, therefore, considering adding a variant of the Expert class to achieve the magi role. I don't know how much you've looked through the thread, but one idea I've had is of rituals - these are spells castable by anyone with the right components. The Magi could get an advantage at using these (perhaps paying fewer Faith points).


An above poster mentioned a hierodule who did some historical recording. Perhaps thinking of Enheduanna? The first named author, possibly daughter of Sargon the Conquerer (whether she was speaking literally or figuratively is unclear), and a priestess. Though not a heirodule as far as I know. This suggests the use of part of the Archivist approach for divine casters -- they need a "prayer book" for the spells they can cast, reflecting that, in this setting, there is something magical about writing.

I am fairly certain that that is indeed who was being described. Something like this is quite possible - many spells will be rituals, as mentioned above, and those characters with spells slots instead of Faith or Rage points will memorize them as other spells (assuming that they have the components). Having some sort of written record of how to perform the ritual would of course be important.


And a thought on the "common enemy" that might be used. I've been thinking of developing a campaign set during the Bronze Age Collapse. Some contemporary sources point to the Sea Peoples as being responsible for some of the widespread destruction seen around 1200 BC... of course I have my own ideas about who the Sea Peoples would actually be in my setting, but I'm sure other ideas present themselves. And this time period is just amazing (Bronze Age Collapse, Trojan War, Ramses the Great, Fu Hao, and other interesting figures and events).

Ah yes, the Sea Peoples, some of my favorites. I had actually forgotten about them, but yes, they would indeed be appropriate for inclusion.