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Callos_DeTerran
2011-06-29, 12:06 AM
http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/1246/kungfumasterz.jpg

The (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOw5R9zqBNU) Celestial Emperor has lain dead for several months now, and his reincarnation has yet to be found amongst the people of the empire. Chaos threatens to break out as warlords, eunuchs, and priests seek to shape the future of the empire by taking the Jade Throne for themselves while the land falls apart around their perfumed heads. Bandits, newly emboldened by the lack of retaliation for their crimes, swoop down upon their prey in greater numbers while old rivalries threaten to bring dojos and temples to open warfare with one another to settle old blood-grudges. Drought, famine, and poverty spread like diseases in the absence of government oversight of essential duties. Peasants and nobles alike find their lives falling apart, unnoticed by the un-caring monolithic empire that is busy tearing itself apart at the seems.

However....hope remains.

For every dishonorable villain who preys on the helpless, new heroes arise to face them down. Martial artists across the empire find themselves thrown into the storm the country has become and struggle to forge their own paths through it all. Some are a stabilizing force, crushing bandit armies, exposing corruption and deceit among the nobility and imperial court, or ending the threat of vile practitioners of the martial arts. Others seek to write a new destiny for the land and its beleaguered people, to establish their own legends and kingdoms to act as a guiding light for the downtrodden in search of better tomorrows. A few merely seek glory and fame, but despite these selfish actions manage to improve the lot of those around them by way of the deeds they perform to become famous. Martial artists clash in truly epic displays of ability and prowess, each weapon swing and blow engraving the names of these warriors in the Book of Eternity. In this time of chaos and hardship, there's much need for heroes and many who seek to answer that call...

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Warriors and Wuxia is meant to be a collaborative effort to use the Tome of Battle rules (and some of the very finely made home-brew on these very forums) to create a cinematic wuxia setting compatible with 3.5 D&D rules. The setting itself is a blending of Chinese, Japanese, and Indian influences (With a couple more mixed in as well) that is epitomized in the empire of the Celestial Emperor that spans the breadth of the known world. The action is fast-paced and hard-hitting, while tragic love stories, deadly political intrigue, and almost Shakespearean tales of revenge unfold around high-flying wuxia heroes. The empire is corrupt and rotten to the core beneath a lair of gilt and riches, but one of the key themes of this setting is that people have the potential to change the world around them with enough effort, even if Fate itself seems to conspire against them. As was mentioned before, this project uses all of the material from the Tome of Battle (though not any of the setting described within it, like Reshar and his Temple), including legacy weapons if the DM in question allows them, BUT there's not quite enough material there to form a comprehensive setting entirely on it's own.

So, to account for this, a LOT of Tome of Battle homebrew is going to be included in this project and I don't take any credit for any of it (aside from the stuff I actually made), that belongs to the wonderful people who've created this material. First up is going to be home-brew and optional rules that can (and should!) be included in any Warriors & Wuxia game to create a better Wuxia experience for all involved.

Added Rules

There are certain rules that need to be used in addition to the normal D&D rules to properly emulate the cinematic combat of a setting like this. I’ve included links to those rules below, as well as one or two of my own fashioning.

Armor as Damage Reduction (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/armorAsDamageReduction.htm)

Character Traits (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/buildingCharacters/characterTraits.htm)
Players should be encouraged to pick traits for their characters, to help better define the character as a whole.

Contacts (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/campaigns/contacts.htm)

As with Defense Bonus, the currently allowed classes fall under the table as such...

Column A
Dancer, Warrior-Poet

Column B
Crusader, Swashbuckler, Warlord

Column C
Sohei Adept, Sublime Assassin, Warblade

Column D
Blade Master, Guru, Swordsage

Defense Bonus (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/defenseBonus.htm)

Of the current classes allowed for use in a Warriors and Wuxia game, they fall under the following categories each. Note: In a W&W game, the Defense Bonus counts as a Dodge bonus to defense, meaning that it does not apply in any situation where the character's Dexterity bonus does not apply to their AC.

Column A
Dancer, Guru

Column B
Sublime Assassin, Swashbuckler, Swordsage, and Warrior-Poet,

Column C
Blade Master, Sohei Adept, and Warblade

Column D
Crusader, and Warlord

Honor
Honor, as a whole, is a replacement for the alignment grid for Warriors and Wuxia. The people of the empire don't care as much if someone is good or evil, but for how honorable a person are they and how honorable a family they came from. Much like the alignment system though, there are different steps to Honor that their player chooses upon character creation (and may change depending on the character's actions during play). These steps can be found here (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/campaigns/honor.htm#freeFormHonor).

Also, while the people of the empire may not care about good or evil, certain class abilities very well might. For this purpose, after deciding how honorable their character is a player must decide if their character is Good, Neutral, or Evil. Note, that while Warriors and Wuxia doesn't have a standard cosmology where there's literal planes and creatures of pure good and pure evil, it still takes an objective view of such matters, not a subjective one.

Flight

This is an almost integral part of most cinematic wuxia/kung-fu films and settings and this one is no different! This rule allows characters to perform astounding feats of athleticism without requiring them to spend valuable resources to do something that every cinematic wuxia star seems capable of. When these rules refer to level, they refer to a character's initiator level which is determined as such. Each level in a martial adept class adds +1 to a character's initiator level, each level in a non-martial adept class that has a full BaB counts a 1/2 while ever level in a class that does not have a full base attack only counts as 1/4. Initiator level is always rounded down.

At 5th level a character gains the ability to walk or run across surfaces that wouldn’t otherwise allow such passage (such as water, quicksand, rough terrain, floors on the verge of collapse, etc.). The character must begin and end their movement on a surface capable of supporting their weight (and making any balance checks that might be required for narrow surfaces) but may otherwise treat such surfaces as normal terrain. If the character does not end their movement on a surface capable of sustaining their weight then they are treated as if they had just stepped unto it at the end of their turn. A character crossing water will fall into it and need to begin swimming, for example. Not, this movement does not protect the character (in any way) from any hazards the surface might have. Crossing lava, for example, would deal damage to the character as if they’d been splashed with it for every five feet that they cross, making it a very dangerous prospect.

At 10th level, the character’s ability to go where no one else can reaches a new height. As long as the character begins and ends their movement on a surface capable of sustaining their weight (and again, making any balance checks that might be required), the character is treated as having a fly speed equal to their land speed with good maneuverability. If the character does not end their movement on a surface that can support their weight, then they immediately begin to fall once their movement has ended unless there is something the character can grab a hold of. If the character makes an attack in the middle of this movement then all of their forward momentum is halted and any remaining movement (if the character can move after attacking, such as by using the Spring Attack feat) must be used to go in the opposite direction.

At 15th level, a character is able to balance on things that no other person ever could. The tips of spears, blades of grass, narrow branches, almost anything can be used to support the character’s weight as long as they make a Balance check (DC 25). If they fail this check then the surface is treated as being unable to support the character, as normal, and the character will begin falling. Additionally, if the character makes an unarmed melee attack against an opponent and hits in mid-flight (or makes an unarmed melee attack as their last attack if they get multiple attacks while moving), then the character is treated as having a surface that can support their weight and doesn’t begin to fall at the end of their turn. On their next turn the character can make another leap, at half speed, by pushing off of the opponent. If the character makes another unarmed melee attack as their last attack, then they are capable of jumping again on their next turn, the penalty to their speed remains at half of their total speed.

Improved Flight (Feat)
Requires: 10th level, ability to fly
Benefit: The character treats their maneuverability while flying as one step better (from good to perfect if using the flying rules above) and may make a standing Jump check before moving. However far they would have been capable of jumping is added to their fly speed for the round, enabling a character to potentially go much further then normal. Abilities that allow a character to treat a standing jump as a running jump of any kind act as normal.

Item Enhancement (http://sites.google.com/site/avatard20/itemenhancement)
Warriors and Wuxia is, for the most part, a non-magical setting. Aside from the occasional legacy item, artifact, and supernatural disciplines magic just...doesn't seem to exist at all. Still, that leaves very few material awards that a DM can reward players with, which is why I recommend using these Item Enhancement rules from Avatar: the Last Airbender d20. These are along the line of 'mundane' enhancements a character can add to their gear, exceptional craftsmanship rather then magical enchantments.

To create these weapons, characters need to use the following feats (also from Avatar d20, but reprinted here for convenience's sake)
Craft Item of Renown [General]
Prerequisite: Craft (specific skill) 6 ranks
Benefit: With this feat, the craftsman improves upon his existing talent at creating superior masterwork items. The master craftsman can create masterwork items that are twice as effective as standard masterwork items – weapons confer a +2 bonus to attack rolls, armor bonus is increased by 2, and skill bonus items confer a +4 bonus. These items of renown take twice as long to create.
Normal: Masterwork weapons confer a +1 bonus to attacks, bonus is increased by 1, and skill bonus items confer a +2 bonus.

Craft Item of Fame [General]
Prerequisite: Item of Renown, Craft (specific skill) 9 ranks
Benefit: With this feat, the craftsman improves upon his existing talent at creating superior masterwork items. The master craftsman can create masterwork items that are three times as effective as standard masterwork items – weapons confer a +3 bonus to attack rolls, armor bonus is increased by 3, and skill bonus items confer a +6 bonus. These items of renown take three times as long to create.
Normal: Masterwork weapons confer a +1 bonus to attacks, bonus is increased by 1, and skill bonusitems confer a +2 bonus.

Craft Item of Glory [General]
Prerequisite: Item of Renown, Item of Fame, Craft (specific skill) 12 ranks
Benefit: With this feat, the craftsman improves upon his existing talent at creating superior masterwork items. The master craftsman can create masterwork items that are four times as effective as standard masterwork items – weapons confer a +4 bonus to attack rolls, armor bonus is increased by 4, and skill bonus items confer a +8 bonus. These items of renown take four times as long to create.
Normal: Masterwork weapons confer a +1 bonus to attacks, bonus is increased by 1, and skill bonus items confer a +2 bonus.

Craft Item of Legend [General]
Prerequisite: Item of Renown, Item of Fame, Item of Glory, Craft (specific skill) 15 ranks
Benefit: With this feat, the craftsman improves upon his existing talent at creating superior masterwork items. The master craftsman can create masterwork items that are five times as effective as standard masterwork items – weapons confer a +5 bonus to attack rolls, armor bonus is increased by 5, and skill bonus items confer a +10 bonus. These items of renown take five times as long to create.
Normal: Masterwork weapons confer a +1 bonus to attacks, bonus is increased by 1, and skill bonus items confer a +2 bonus.

Reputation
As a martial artist becomes more powerful, it is only common that they also become more well-known as well. This setting uses the Event-Based Reputation rules from the SRD, with a minor addition. At 5th, 10, 15th, and 20th level, every character gains a +2 bonus to their reputation score that will apply no matter how well known they are in any given area. 5th level martial artists will find themselves relatively well known in the immediate area or where the majority of their famous deeds were performed. 10th level martial artists are known across several provinces, or even an entire point of the compass. 15th level martial artists are known and respected/feared all over the empire for their prowess in battle, their deeds well known and recorded. Very few martial artists make it to 20th level, but these individuals have transcended mere fame to become legends. They're stories will always be remembered for better or worst. The most powerful of martial artists will find themselves recognized, even in areas they’ve never traveled to before in their lives. As the rules in the SRD point out though, notoriety is not always good. If a character is recognized by an NPC (or PC), then they gain a +5 bonus on their Martial Lore check to reveal information about the character, what style they practice, famous deeds, and so on. While knowing that a character has personally felled a small army of a noble’s guards in the past may deter some assailants, it’s just as likely to incite others who want to use the character’s defeat to fling themselves higher in status.

Many martial artists, as they become more famous, adopt a name that reflects their ‘true soul’ and the philosophy behind their style of combat. The famous Bright Steel and Long Shadow are examples of such martial artists, especially since all but their closest companions have forgotten their true names. Keep in mind that these ‘true soul names’ don’t count as a nom de plumes for the purposes of keeping track of a separate Reputation score unless the character makes some effort and uses the Disguise skill to distinguish their normal self from their true soul name, in which case it’s treated as a nom de plume normally.

The Event-Based Reputation rules can be found here (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/campaigns/reputation.htm#eventBasedReputation). Note that this rule also allows for the Low Profile and Renown feats to be used as well, with no change to either feats effects.

Stunting
Much like Exalted, players should be rewarded if they take the effort to role-play their character's actions, to help promote the highly cinematic fighting this setting ascribes to. At the DM's judgement, they may give a player a bonus of +1d6 to +3d6, depending on how well and...well...awesome their character's actions were described. The DM decides at the beginning of the game if the highest number among a character's stunt dice is accepted, all of them, or some combination there of. Stunting can only be used to apply to an attack roll, skill check, or saving throws at the DM's discretion. If the character uses a counter maneuver, then they can attempt to stunt for that as well.

Weapon Group Feats (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/buildingCharacters/weaponGroupFeats.htm)
There are many and varied weapons that can be used in a W&W campaign, and very few of them are unsuitable, if any. The simple fact is that martial artists films and heroes are known for their unusual choice of weapons and the exotic weapons they choose to wield. However, many such weapons are exotic (thus requiring a feat to use that specific weapon) or are spread out across numerous splat-books. Thus, a W&W game uses the Weapon Group feats, to give players some more options when it comes to determining what weapons their character can use.

Warblade, Blademaster: Basic +4 (like Fighter)
Warlord, Crusader, Wildheart, Swordsage, Swashbuckler: Basic +3 (like Paladin, Barbarian, Ranger)
Warrior Poet, Sublime Assassin, Dancer, Sohie Adept: Basic +2 (like Bard, Rogue, Cleric)
Guru: Basic +1 (like Monk)

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Helpful Kung-Fu Feats
In addition to these rules, this is a list of helpful feats that players can select for their characters. This list is far from comprehensive and will be added to over time as I find more feats and on suggestion.

Complete Warrior
Anvil of Thunder
Armor Skin
Bear Fang
Clever Wrestling
Close-Quarters Fighting
Crescent Moon
Defensive Throw
Eagle Claw Attack
Earth's Embrace
Fists of Iron
Flying Kick
Freezing the Lifeblood
Hammer's Edge
High Sword Low Axe
Karmic Strike
Lightning Mace
Pain Touch
Raptor School
Roundabout Kick
Spinning Halberd
Sun School
Three Mountains
Weakening Touch


Dragon Magazine Compendium
Circle Master
Circle Student
Dead Eye
Defensive Dodge
Haft Strike
Hammer Fist
Kung-Fu Genius (This feat's ability is changed so that it may affect swordsages and gurus)
Long Strike
Mercurial Strike
Pole Balance
Pole Fighter
Ring the Golden Bell
Riposte
Shorten Grip
Single Blade Style
Spinning Defense
Unorthodox Flurry
Vault

Oriental Adventures
Empty Hand Mastery
Falling Star Strike
Foot and Fist Mastery
Grappling Block
The Gentle Way Mastery
Unbalancing Strike

Player's Handbook II
Combat Cloak Expert
Crushing Strike
Einhander
Fiery Fist
Fiery Ki Defense
Ki Blast
Leap of the Heavens
Lunging Strike
Short Haft
Versatile Unarmed Strike
Water Splitting Stone

Sandstorm
Pharaoh's Fist
Rattlesnake Strike
Serpent Fang

Stormwrack
Curling Wave Strike
Storm of Flying Strikes

Sword and Fist
Circle Kick
Lightning Fists
Mantis Leap
Off-hand Parry


The Warrior's Way (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10640962&postcount=6)

Optional Rules:
Warheart Items (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5580531&postcount=1): Good for using in place of the Items of Legacy material or along side it.
Stone Dragon Redux (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=191693): Exactly what it says on the tin, an alternate take on the Stone Dragon discipline.

===============================================

Index
Classes (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11311275&postcount=4)
Fighting Styles (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11314559&postcount=5)
Disciplines (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11317467&postcount=12)
The Empire and Jueru (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11334920&postcount=21)
Thrice-Forged, Example Beleaguered Town (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11388174&postcount=108)

Curious
2011-06-29, 01:10 AM
I'll be following this with interest. Subscribed. I've always enjoyed wuxia and oriental culture, so I hope this goes far.

Also, in the initial flavor text, you said laid instead of lain. The sentence might also flow better if you said '. . . and his reincarnation has yet to be found amongst the people of the empire.'

Callos_DeTerran
2011-06-29, 01:15 AM
Ah, thank you Curious! I always appreciate help with my grammar and writing. :smallsmile: The role of the classes is taking a little bit longer then expected though, I'll have them up tomorrow after I get some sleep.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-06-29, 10:50 AM
Classes

In a Warriors and Wuxia setting, the majority of the regular classes from the Player's Handbook are regulated to either NPC status (barbarian, fighter, monk, rogue, ranger, paladin) or not allowed at all (druid, cleric, sorcerer, wizard). A W&W game is all about fanciful, high-flying combat that most of the PHB classes simply don't accommodate without extensive use of magical items, making them ill-suited for a W&W campaign. This doesn't mean that a player couldn't take a couple of levels from them, with the DM's permission, to round out their character a bit more but the DM should encourage his/her players to choose from among the classes below to better fit the flow of the game.

On the other hand, classes that grant full spell-casting quite simply don't fit into the game at all. The supernatural is hinted at throughout the length of the empire, and men and women may claim to be mighty sorcerers or witches, but it is nothing concrete. Supernatural martial arts, legacy weapons, and artifacts is the closest most players will come to the magic and horde of items that are normal to regular D&D. Optional PrCs may be introduced later that allow a character to gain some measure of spell-casting ability, but they aren't a priority.

This list is hardly exhaustive, and I will happily add new classes as I find them.

Blade Master (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=120539)
Among the many martial artists of the empire, many choose to become students of elaborate styles that combine different parts of multiple disciplines into a new, cohesive whole. They augment the weaknesses of one with the strengths of another, and vice versa, it merely seems the natural way to practice martial arts. Thus, it seems downright strange that a person would choose to limit themselves to just a single discipline, something that blade masters do with some pride. These fierce warriors devote themselves to learning the essence of a discipline, to understanding the truth at the heart of it, rather then trying to gain a broader understanding of martial arts as a whole. While some may scoff at such an approach, they can't deny that when a blade master is put into a situation where his chosen discipline is at it's strongest that such a warrior is fearsome indeed. Most blade masters are found in the out-lying provinces and kingdoms, far from the organized dojos, temples, and academies of the central mainland which partially explains their approach to combat. With a lack of sifus to teach the complex schools and styles found elsewhere, the only other option is to hone one's ability in a single discipline to the point of perfection.

Recently, with the Celestial Emperor's death and the revival of old blood-feuds, many blade masters have found themselves under assault by formal schools who see these purists as a threat to their way of life. Perhaps because of this, more and more blade masters are seen in the central provinces and kingdoms, though usually it's on some mission to avenge their losses at the hands of paranoid martial artists. When the dojo hunters began to appear, a surprising number of blade masters reluctantly gave up their focus in a single style to better learn how to hunt and punish their enemies.

Crusader
The crusader class occupies much the same role that it does in normal D&D, though with some minor differences to account for this setting. While there are many spirits, great and small, that the people venerate for good luck, victory in battle, large harvests, and so on, they are not considered to be deities in the regular sense. Nor are there any 'true' deities that the people of the empire venerate, unless one venerates the Celestial Emperor. Thus many crusaders instead devote themselves to a cause such as honor or justice, or to a lord that the crusader finds themselves in service too. Such crusaders tend to become powerful bodyguards who can defend their lords from entire groups of assailants or charismatic leaders who can guide their lord's other men into battle. Despite the potent spiritual side to a crusader's abilities, few crusaders are actually found at temples or monasteries, many finding such places too stifling and dull to stay in for too long. They're spirituality is something that many crusaders have nourished from the day they were born and they don't see a need to meditate or ponder philosophy to better themselves when they could be putting their faith and honor to more direct tests.

Many crusaders become armored juggernauts of battle, painstakingly difficult to bring down while dishing out tremendous punishment in return. With their capability to wear heavy armor without taking the feat, most wear the heaviest armor that they can afford for extra durability. Many assassination attempts have been thwarted by crusaders willing to lay their lives on the line to defend their lords or employers.

Dancer (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134667)
Dancers occupy an odd place within the many cultures of the empire. In the south and the west, the arrival of dancers is welcomed and celebrated, since they inevitably bring news from the territories and provinces they have just come from. Their knowledge of the world is respected and the levity then can bring to the common folk is appreciated when hard times have fallen. In the northern provinces, dancers keep traditions and legends alive since they are the ones who travel the most often. In the central provinces and the eastern ones, dancers are not regarded in nearly as high a fashion. While few can deny the heartfelt performances and alluring skills of dancers, many high-born lords and bureaucrats prefer to believe they've elevated their tastes to a grander level then can be satisfied by 'mere dance'. In such places, dancers are seen as the entertainment of peasants or merchants, those who can't afford to have a well known philosopher or poet to visit them. On the other hand, dancers can find a different sort of purpose in these intrigue-laden courts since they have unique skills for discovering information that make them a boon to paranoid lordlings and court eunuchs.

It is because of these unique, if somewhat dishonorable, skills that a group of dancers known as the Scarlet Ribbons have come to clash with the clandestine Eihogosha clan of assassins. The Scarlet Ribbons have recently begun to accept jobs to assassinate people, expanding from their previous business as just spies, which has encroached on the territory of the zealous Eihogosha. A shadow war has begun between the two organizations, though few have seen any pattern or reason behind the sudden appearance of dead men and women, since neither group's members openly advertises their allegiances.

Errata: It only takes a swift action to enter into a Bardic Dance.

Guru (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=205126)
Gurus occupy a unique role in the society of the empire, both highly respected yet causing bewilderment among most citizens. Gurus are highly respected for the bodily and spiritual purity, as well as their capability with martial arts that border on the unreal, and yet most never seek any kind of position in the empire's hierarchy. These learned men, and more recently women, tend to avoid contact with other people to hone their bodies in secluded and spiritual places, almost ignoring every sign of status and wealth that most other citizens of the empire hold dear. Every now and then one will hear about a guru who has taken on the role of a teacher or adviser to a lord, to dispense wisdom on how to handle spiritual matters or religious devotions but these are rare incidents indeed. The tradition of gurus began in the humid jungles of the southern provinces, where the abundance of life lends a natural mystique to the landscape. Here, the first gurus learned their art in old stone ruins that predate the current empire before they spread across the continent in almost every direction. Now a guru could be found anywhere in the empire, searching for unexplored sites of natural beauty in which to immerse their consciousness for meditation.

Until recently, the holy gurus were strictly compromised of men, with the citing of an archaic view that women lacked the purity to attain the focus a guru requires. It wasn't until Bright Steel helped to unify the empire with her lover Long Shadow under the Emperor that many gurus begin to re-evaluate that view. Now one will hear of female students and disciples of ancient guru, seeking the path of spiritual enlightenment themselves now that ancient prejudice has begun to adapt to the current times. The most famous guru is, undoubtedly, Guru Tai Jun who is said to have been but a young man when the empire was first formed and yet still survives to this day, though his location is unknown. Many suspect that he has traveled beyond the great walls separating the western deserts from the empire to see what lay beyond them.

Sohei Adept (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=7465208#post7465208)
The sohei adept are a, relatively, recent sight in the empire, warrior-monks who traditionally protect monasteries and temples from the predations of bandits and irritable nobles seeking retaliation for some slight or another. Much like crusaders, sohei adepts are spiritual individuals who sought to harden and train their bodies for the protection of others and themselves.Theirs is an essentially staunch lot, able to take a lot of punishment in service of their goals. Most sohei adepts tend to stick to the area around the monastery, temple, or person that they protect, so as to better rush to their defense should the need arise. Sohei adepts without a cause to protect, somewhat less common, usually become wanderers in search of something worth their skill. Many a village has been appreciative of a sohei adept in their time of need, even if the individual in question inevitably moved on to new lands. Some sohei adepts, knowingly or not, serve foul or dishonorable lords or monks because such is their duty and there are few things in the world that can keep a sohei adept from his or her duty.

One of the most famous institutions for sohei adepts is the Falling Star academy in the northern provinces, where feudal lords send their daughters to learn lethal martial arts to better defend themselves in that hostile land. The masters of that academy are well known and respected in the martial artist world, known for their dedication to their teaching and unwillingness to give any ground before any spoiled girl expecting noble treatment from them. Azure Dragon is the martial artist who brought attention to this recent style of teaching, for his single-handed defense of Wen Yun castle against an entire army of the desert people. He held a small pass while his comrades retreated to regroup at Wen Yun by himself, slaying the invaders left and right until he finally died on his feet. It's said the desert people refused to pass his body, afraid it was merely a trick, and now circumvent that pass entirely to assault the fortress of Wen Yun, buying the defenders several days of warning with his death.

Sublime Assassin (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124905)
Sublime assassins (or just assassins for short) have a sordid history within the empire and the time of warring nations before that. Whenever a lord or powerful merchant had an enemy whom they could not oust with force, they would turn to the secretive clans of ninja found in the northern mountains, trading a hundred pounds of gold for snuffing of a single life and all witnesses to the deed. As time went on and the list of enemies a lord might have grew, it became implausible to pay the ninja to end lives when they could train their own killers who would kill for them. Children were abducted from their homes or bought from impoverished families and trained for their entire lives in shadowy catacombs and dungeons to become expert killers and assassins for their lords. During the time before the Emperor, many a son or daughter would inherit their parent's holdings to discover a small cell of assassins waiting to fulfill their orders in removing the enemies of the family or clan. When the emperor came to power though, and quickly ended any sign of war with a brutal drought, the use of assassins became one of the few ways to end blood-feuds though the training of assassins became more difficult. Imperial soldiers and guards would notice if children went missing and so the nobility and merchants were forced to return to the hidden ninja clans they had once relied on to settle problems that their armies or personal bodyguards and warriors could not.

One such clan of ninja is actually a fusion of several of the old ninja clans, the Eihogosha, who formed in the first generation after the first incarnation of the Celestial Emperor welded the mainland into a cohesive country. They viewed this titanic act of will and power as a definitive sign of the Emperor's divine mandate, as well as a potential end of the need for their lethal abilities. A year, to the day, after the Emperor's coronation, it is said the entirety of the Eihogosha appeared in the Emperor's chambers and offered their fealty to the preservation and continuance of the empire and the Celestial Emperor, which, it is rumored, the Emperor accepted. Now, if the rumors are true, the Eihogosha silently remove potential threats to the empire with almost religious fervor, a dark remnant of the days when the ninja clans ruled the shadows. The Scarlet Ribbons are said to be confronted with darkly-clad shadow warriors now, whispered to be Eihogosha though it can't be confirmed or ascertained as to why this clandestine group of assassins would take umbrage with the Scarlet Ribbons.

Swashbuckler (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6799732&postcount=6)
Swashbucklers, as a whole, seem to have embraced the chaos that has recently fallen over the empire as a chance for the country to grow and adapt. Or to push themselves ahead. Found primarily in the east and north, where there is easy access to the ocean and much money to be made in ferrying cargo along the Ivory Coast or bringing down glacial ice from the north. A fair number actually make a living as pirates, usually as captains of small ships that swoop down upon barges and ships to carry off their cargo before any are the wiser. Far more importantly, the recent influx of refuges from across the eastern ocean, with their potent black powder guns, has stirred the people who live along the coast to a small frenzy. Now most swashbucklers carry weapon and gun, as much a symbol of change as anything else happening in the empire since many swashbucklers are now the very same refuges who have traveled for several generations across the ocean to finally reach the demesne of the Celestial Emperor. Several of the newly named 'water-lords' employ well known swashbucklers to protect their ships and their precious cargo from the predations of pirates and raiders, usually lead by a well-trained swashbuckler of their own. On the whole, swashbucklers are treated with caution for their skill but seen for the most part as dishonorable rogues who will take any advantage offered to them.

By far one of the most famous swashbucklers is Sea Wolf, a legendary pirate who leads a small fleet of reavers out of Fu Wei Castle, on the island farthest to the east. Her capture of the sea-side castle has quickly become a myth and the sight of her bloodied flag has sent many a ship frantically changing course to try and avoid notice. The Imperial Navy has tried, several times, to out the pirates and reclaim the castle but the treacherous maze of reefs and shoals leading up to the cliff-side castle that protected it for so long now keeps imperial warships at bay while the castle's new cannon emplacements can take their time in sinking the enemy. Sea Wolf's fleet grows daily and many whisper that this Pirate Queen may have larger designs on the islands separated from the mainland.

Swordsage
Swordsages, as much as warblades, are far to diverse to be pigeon-holed into a single aspect of life within Jueru. The breadth of what a swordsage can learn is far more then many martial artists could ever hope to learn and many styles and schools owe their beginnings to a swordsage who dared to experiment with the tried and true formulas that others took for granted. Some swordmages are monks and priests, learning to harness their inner power to produce extraordinary examples of power while learning the secrets of the human spirit. Others form small clans of killers and thieves, in the same manner of the ninja clans of old, or become folk-heroes who use their devastating abilities to help peasants in need and stay one step ahead of those who would stop them. Many content themselves with living their entire lives within cities, starting lives and dojos to carry on the secrets of their style long after they have passed on from the mortal world. What does the legend of a warblade or the duty of a sohei-adept matter when one's teachings could be used to instruct new disciples for generations to come? Others become senseis and sifus, devoting themselves to a single or small group of disciples and students to continue their legacy.

Many swordsages have come and gone, leaving behind honorable legacies of their deeds and teachings. Just as many have been forgotten, lost to time when no others could be found to learn their teachings, including some of the most powerful of swordsages. In Jueru alone, there's over twenty dojos to teach the particular style of a given sifu or sensei which has lead to much...friction between schools that seek to acquire more students in the face of growing discontent with the practice of martial arts, the predations of dojo-hunters, and rival schools stealing away students in a subtle attempt to wipe out their enemies without coming to blows.

Warblade
Warblades are consummate warriors, unrivaled in their skill with weapons while eschewing the armor-clad approach to battle that crusaders and sohei-adepts favor. Many warblades favor only light or medium armor, so as to better be able to move about the battle field since a warblade is at it's strongest on the attack. Many warblades initially learn their skills in formal academies or under revered masters before moving out into the world to prove their mettle against other martial artists. Many seek personal glory and honor, engaging in fevered death-duels to enhance the legends of their abilities or travel with scribes who are to record their deeds to be passed unto future generations. Those who quest purely for the benefit of others are less common but, oddly, far more well known then the glory-hounds who seek only personal honor and wealth. This isn't to say such people aren't successful, some of the most successful nobles on the top-most tier of Jueru acquired their riches through their adventures as warblades. Many, over-estimating their own abilities, end up in shallow graves though or fall victim to head-hunters or dojo-hunters seeking to punish the vain warriors.

Many warblades become famous, or construct their own temples, within the provinces and kingdoms but they rarely become very well known outside of the provinces they were born in. Those who are have generally accomplished exemplary deeds that would ring throughout the ages no matter who performed them. Undoubtedly the most famous is Long Shadow, who first began the quest to force the various leaders and warlords of the land to accept the Emperor's rule over their lands. It was by the strength of his sword-arm and that of his lover, Bright Shadow, that the empire became more then an ideal spouted from Jueru and instead became a reality.

Errata: A warblade's stance progression is delayed by one level to allow them to take a new stance at the same level it becomes available to them.

Warlord (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=83559)
Warlords are perhaps the single greatest threat to the stability of the empire, only just behind the inability to find the Celestial Emperor in magnitude. Charismatic and very capable of turning a group of soldiers (or rabble) into an effective fighting force, there is a growing number of warlords who seek to splinter the empire back into the days of war, chaos, and individual kingdoms that existed before, where a man's strategic genius and capability to forge an army from nothing could write his vision across the face of the land and in the Book of Fate. With the lack of threat of a drought and no over-riding governance, many warlords have begun to wonder if they might be able to impose their own law on the lander, to the betterment or ill of the people populating the continent. Some, those less ambitious, warlords have instead joined the imperial army and navy, to unite the various forces together to better police the land and keep unrest to a minimum, as well as secure the safety of the people. These individuals, unfortunately, are seen in the same unflattering light that those seeking to tear the empire apart are seen in.

There are many excellent examples of warlords throughout the history of the continent, but especially before the empire was founded. One such story is of a famous general, who's name was eradicated by a spiteful lord, who managed to bring all of the northern provinces and kingdoms under his rule, while fighting two separate wars against other would-be kings from the western and central provinces. It's popular opinion that if this great man had survived, he would have been the one to unite the empire and his name would have properly been recorded as it should have been.

Warrior-Poet (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=69870)
Warrior-poets are often much-respected and, at the same time, feared in the empire. They combine lethal martial ability with a thorough education that many martial artists don't possess by virtue of the cost of schooling, leading many corrupt nobles and bueracrats to wonder if there will come a time when a warrior-poet lays aside his (or her) philosophical musings to take up arms against the empire, which has slowly been rotting from within without the Celestial Emperor to lead it. With their skill at prose and wordplay, it'd be child's play for them to incite the peasants into a proper revolt for one reason or another. Perhaps one of the reasons that this hasn't happened yet is that many warrior-poets actually come from the noble class since they are some of the few people who have the time and lack of concerns to both study philosophy and practice martial arts at the same time. Some warrior-poets have, in the past, gone on to found great schools of learning in Jueru or other major cities in an attempt to give back to the world while others have used their natural grace and quick tongues to levy themselves into positions of power and riches.

Within the context of play, warrior-poets are usually men and women from the merchant class or nobility who have leveraged their family's wealth and honor to acquire a learned mentor. Other paths exist, of course, but those capable of pursing the warrior-poet class are usually people of such means that they prefer having the very best tutors and instructors. These learned heroes and villains usually travel with small entourages and carry the very best gear and supplies, which can make peasants and the low-born uneasy if respectful.

Wildheart (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10640918&postcount=2)
Wildhearts are those who exist outside of the regular structure of the Empire, those who are more at peace in the wilderness then in civilization and who's brutal skills can exemplify this. Commonly seen as barbarians and savages among martial artists, many wildhearts don't subscribe to any codified style and instead follow a simple rule of 'whatever works' that suits their often wild training. Perhaps because of this, wildhearts make for unpredictable foes for more 'civilized' fighters, especially considering the brutal methods at a wildheart's disposal. Some wildhearts forgo the use of a weapon, to better connect with the bestial side that many wildhearts channel in battle, others preferring the use of weapons to better emulate the beasts that share their wild environments. Due to their usually uncivilized mannerisms and fighting, many common folk believe that wildhearts are bandits and thieves, or are on the road to becoming one, and hold these martial artists under suspicion and paranoia when they realize that one is in their midst. Wildhearts are more common in the Winter and Fall courts, where civilization is still spread far apart or is a fairly new development, usually trained in intimate master/student relationships then any formal dojo. At one time, during the era of war, there used to be a number of clans in the cold north who would harden their bodies against the hostile conditions in the mountains. Their pride proved to be their downfall, for when the Empire first expanded into the north, they continually challenged the Celestial Emperor's divine mandate to little result except to inspire unrest in other parts of the kingdom. It wasn't until Long Shadow was sent to quell the resistance that the clans were given the ultimatum to bow to the emperor or be destroyed. They choose destruction and the Imperial Army razed the homes of the clans, scattering them throughout the northern provinces with Long Shadow in pursuit.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-06-29, 06:04 PM
http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/8246/northernwarriors.jpg

As some may have noticed, while the Tome of Battle offers plenty of options with the nine disciplines located within its pages, eventually a DM may very well run out of interesting combinations with which to confront their players with. Thus the DM is encouraged to allow use of home-brew disciplines (a list of good ones will be provided below) for their NPCs and players to use. Many of these disciplines only list which of the ToB base classes can use them, which can be a problem since many of the base classes in a W&W campaign are homebrew as well and may not mention them.

In these situations, take a look at the discipline and question. Most of them mention how they replace a certain discipline for a given class (like replacing Iron Heart for a warblade, just for example) to determine which disciplines a character has access to upon character creation. Use this as a baseline for other classes! If you can replace Iron Heart for a different discipline for warblades, then you can replace Iron Heart for that same discipline if another class gives you access to the Iron Heart discipline.

The other way is to seek out a master of the discipline your character wants to learn–a martial adept capable of using at least 5th-level maneuvers from the discipline. You must train for a month under the master, or spend a month in research, and spend 1,000 xp at the end of your training. You gain the ability to learn maneuvers from the chosen discipline. In addition, you may exchange your maneuvers known for maneuvers of the chosen discipline. You may exchange one maneuver of each level, and the new maneuvers you learn must be of the same level as the exchanged maneuvers, unlike normal. The difficulty of finding an appropriate mentor or text is left to the DM to decide but most non-supernatural disciplines are fairly common and an appropriate master can be found by making a Gather Information or Martial Lore check (DC 15+the level of the master is a good guideline). Of course, most masters won't give out their secrets so easily and the DM is free to require the PC in question to perform some task or service for the master before he/she agrees to teach them anything. Most require prospective students to learn their styles, or parts of it, in their entirety, as a way to preserve their philosophy and style of fighting.

School/Style vs. Discipline

What is the difference between a martial arts School and the disciplines that every martial adept gets? Seemingly very little, because a school is mechanically just a collection of three to four disciplines (usually) that its students choose their maneuvers and stances from. However a school embodies more then just what maneuvers and stances a martial adept can take, they have entire philosophies behind them and constitute an organized group of martial artists who all practice a similar style of combat. More importantly, most schools are able to be learned by multiple classes, even if it’s only certain parts of that particular style. Perhaps the most important difference of all though is while there may be a large number of disciplines and a large number of people who practice those disciplines, there is an almost infinitely larger number of styles and schools that are relatively unique unto themselves. Upon character creation, players should be encouraged to come up with their own style or school for their character and to put some thought into the purpose behind that style. Below are some example questions (and example answers) that a player should ask themselves about a style or school that they create, in order to better flesh-out the concept both for themselves and for their DM.


What disciplines make up the school/style? Why those disciplines? Wo Pei, a swordsage, is a student of the Playful Phoenix Fist, a home-made style of mostly unarmed fighting. His player decides that while the Playful Phoenix Fist carries heavy supernatural elements in order to emulate the legendary beast it is based upon, it is also a very passive and soft style. Wo Pei’s player imagines the style is very reactionary and can be used to non-lethally subdue an opponent. To this end, the Playful Phoenix Fist is made up of the Dancing Leaf, Desert Wind, Golden Saint, and Setting Sun disciplines. Dancing Leaf and Desert Wind both help to emulate the flight of a Phoenix while Desert Wind obviously fits a phoenix’s fiery power. With the addition of Golden Saint and Setting Sun, the Playful Phoenix Fist can be used to subdue enemies that Wo Pei would prefer not to kill, even as it becomes a scourge of the wicked and corrupt.
What is the philosophy behind the school/style? What do they believe? Wo Pei’s player thinks long and hard about the Playful Phoenix Fist and what sort of philosophy might be behind it’s use of two very diametrically opposed disciplines. In the end, he decides that the masters of the Playful Phoenix Fist teach that pacifism is the path that all people should aspire towards, but may not always be possible in the face of corruption and evil. When faced with such, the Playful Phoenix Fist teaches that it’s students should seek to cleanse the corruption in whatever manner they can to ‘renew’ the world. Now the Playful Phoenix Fist has become a style suitable for a wandering martial artist who travels the Empire and does good, a telling part of Wo Pei’s character and personality.
What sort of history does the school/style have? Wo Pei’s player has, in his own mind, already come to the answer to this question in his own mind. If the Playful Phoenix Fist is used as a force for good and honor, then it’s unlikely to be very welcome in the current Empire. He decides that the Playful Phoenix Fist has begun to die out in recent times as corrupt officials and nobles hire other, less scrupulous, martial artists to attack and raze Playful Phoenix Fist temples out of fear that the students and masters wherein might expose their foul deeds and seek to root them out. So now the style has a troubled, but recent, history with authority, but Wo Pei’s player thinks further and believes that the farther from Jueru one would travel, the more likely one would encounter students of the Playful Phoenix Fist, out where there’s less people. This decision could make the Playful Phoenix Fist a bit of a hope for the common people, who might look forward to when a student of this style comes to town (assuming they can recognize them as a student of the style in the first place) since it means the town is safer for the time being, even if said student might inadvertently cause a fire or two in defending it.
Is the style/school spiritual or material? Wo Pei, being a wandering hero, uses the Playful Phoenix Fist as his master taught him to, so his player arrives at the decision that the style is a mixture of spiritual and material. It’s students seek spiritual wellness by improving those skills, but they hone them in actual combat to better the lives of others. Or, in simpler phrasing, the students of the Playful Phoenix Style use material means and training to achieve a spiritual end. In light of this, Wo Pei’s player decides that the Playful Phoenix Fist is taught primarily in temples and monasteries, rather then dojos or martial academies.


Why come up with a style/school?
Some players might wonder why they should come up with a school or style to describe their character’s abilities and ask if they have to. In short, they don’t. There’s nothing keeping a character from using a hodge-podge of various different disciplines to emulate a gut-instinct or ‘practical’ martial adept who has long since done away with formalized training and guidance, nor is there anything wrong with it since it can make for a compelling character concept all on it’s own. However, in a setting like this that has a massive martial arts community, there are benefits and disadvantages to having a style/school and not having one as well.

Formal styles and schools are the norm and have been for quite some time, thus the people of the Empire are more comfortable with them. They can’t know exactly what a person will do just by knowing they practice Playful Phoenix Fist (to use the above example), but they can safely make the assumption that such a person isn’t likely to start murdering people left and right since the Playful Phoenix Fist is generally learned by people who want to help others. For more famous schools and styles, being a student of them can be a mark of prestige and honor, not to mention of wealth for some schools. Belonging to such a school or style adds a certain pedigree to the character’s reputation since they practice a well known style that other heroes (or villains…) have belonged to as well and the common people are familiar with, making the students of such schools akin to minor celebrities. However there’s a downside as well, belonging to a given school or style means sharing its grudges and rivalries as well. Even if a character has personally never given offense to someone, that person may still assault them for being of a rival or enemy school. Just as likely, a character’s master may ask for assistance in dealing with a rival or enemy that the character knows nothing about. Being a part of a style or school means being a part of its plots and intrigues, especially for famous styles, that can make life a fair bit more…exciting for its students whither they like it or not.

Instinctive fighting techniques, just picking maneuvers as the player decides fight the character, has its own benefits and drawbacks. Such martial artists are typically seen as crude, dishonorable, and barbaric by city-born or high-born citizens of the Empire, thugs who couldn’t make it in a formalized style or couldn’t convince a master to teach them a respectable style. It doesn’t help that many such fighters are criminals as well, who taught themselves smatterings of many different styles to better defend themselves from other gangs and martial artists. The high-born tend to look down on such martial artists and avoid dealing with them whenever possible since there is also an element of danger about such people. There’s no over-riding philosophy that helps to govern that character’s actions that the people around them could guess at by watching them fight. The pride and distaste that the well-off citizens give to such fighters is often a thin veneer to hide their fear of them, but nevertheless such fighters may find it difficult to ply their trade or advance in society since there is just as much stigma in being known to associate with such characters as there is in being one.

Conversely, such a character is also free from the responsibilities and age-old feuds of formalized schools and styles and may form their own personal ties to others without fearing a sudden challenge or attack be incensed warriors from a rival school. With the rise of dojo-hunters, martial artists who lack formal teaching face another advantage since they come under the scrutiny of this dangerous group far less often then a formal school does. Plus, their lack of a cohesive fighting style means that an opponent must see them in action to get a grasp of their abilities, giving them a psychological edge over a character with a formalized style, since an opponent already starts with a rough idea of what they can do (even if they can’t do anything about it).

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Players should be encouraged to think of which maneuvers in particular a style uses from it's component disciplines since most styles don't use every single maneuver from every single discipline compromising it. As an extension of this line of thought, players are also encouraged to come up with their own thematic names for combinations of different stances, strikes, counters, and boosts.

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Example Schools and Styles:

Drunken Savant Style (Shades of Gray's style)
Component Disciplines: Army of One, Fool's Grip, Scarlet Bravura
The Drunken Savant Style is one renowned in taverns and inns across the empire, both for the spectacular show that it's practitioners can put on...and for the massive amounts of property damage that is likely to ensue. Drunken Savant was developed by a boisterous young fighter who never quite felt at peace in the highly formalized life that many citizens of the empire aspire towards, finding his true self in raucous brawls with others like himself. So, to the end of facilitating more exciting brawls, this monk spent the next several years traveling across the empire to learn the...unorthodox tactics of bar room brawlers the empire over and condensed what he learned into the Drunken Savant Style. Students of this style are never truly unarmed or alone, their stirring, if slurred, words can rouse the people around them to battle even as the most unlikely of tools become deadly weapons in their hands. While more refined martial artists might deride this style as uncivilized, there is no denying there is a certain efficiency of movement in the drunken stumbling of a Drunken Savant practitioner, and more then one has found themselves staring up at such men and women with astonished looks on their faces and a broken bottle shoved in their face.

Beyond the common story of how the style began, the Drunken Savant Style has no particularly memorable moments in it's history. Most of it's masters, for obvious reasons, tend to avoid the sort of legendary deeds that filter across the empire and thus doesn't have a large following. Learning this style usually takes on a master and tutor approach since the formality of a school or dojo is completely out of place with the Drunken Savant. These small groups become little whirlwinds of destruction when the plum wine begins to flow, a fact that has many tavern and inn owners refusing to serve a Drunken Savant student if they realize what the student truly is. Most practitioners of the Drunken Savant style are warblades, since they most easily gain access to all of the disciplines of the style, though blade masters occasionally learn part of the style as well. Some warblades seek out masters of the Coin's Edge discipline, seeing it as a natural extension to the Drunken Savant Style.

Playful Phoenix Fist
Component Disciplines: Dancing Leaf, Desert Wind, Golden Saint, and Setting Sun
The Playful Phoenix Fist is a style that has a long, and violent, history with the nobility of the land. Usually practiced by warrior-monks or those who fancy themselves wandering heroes, the Playful Phoenix Fist is a style that teaches that pacifism is an ideal that should be sought after and that every life is precious. However, it's philosophy also acknowledges that violence is not always avoidable and that evil people do exist who seek nothing more then to harm others. Like the mythical being the style is inspired by, practitioners of the Playful Phoenix Fist are often a sign of rebirth and change whenever they come to an area. Corrupt leaders and criminals know that these hero-figures often inspire the populace with their heroics and ideals, two things that can bring a sleazy governor's palace crashing down around his ears if allowed to take root, and often they seek to dispose of such nuisances. Most attempt non-violent ways since the fiery spirit lurking in the breast of Playful Phoenix Fist students could incinerate their ambitions, but if those fail then they tend to turn toward more direct means and seek the practitioner's death. The hero status of this style has become so famous that it is actually outlawed in the central provinces, where most people are corrupt in one way or another, and some nobles have actually begun secretive plans of extermination to wipe out the few temples that teach Playful Phoenix Fist.

This style is most commonly used by swordsages, who adapt easily to the style's supernatural elements and who's breadth of knowledge about martial arts allow them to learn many facets of the style. However, some famous masters of the Playful Phoenix Fist are actually gurus who have become famous for the intensity of the flames produced by their strikes as well for their buddha-like inner peace that has them seeking to avoid killing at almost any cost. Most other classes like the innate connection to the spiritual to learn the Desert Wind maneuvers of the style and without those, the Playful Phoenix Fist is a primarily defensive art that promotes excellent maneuverability.

Iron Demon Fist
Component Disciplines: Black Heron, Broken Blade, Sanguine Brand, Tiger Claw
Iron Demon Fist is a style spoken of in tentative half-whispers among the martial artists who have heard of it, unwilling to believe that such a cruel style could have been created. Many disciplines and styles gain a reputation as dishonorable or 'evil' based on the methods they use to defeat their enemies, but they can used for good as much as for ill, it all depends on the practitioner in the end. Iron Demon Fist is different, it's philosophy leaves no room to doubt the morality of using this style against an opponent. Users of Iron Demon Fist don't seek to defeat their opponents, or even to kill them though this is often a result, but to maim them. The goal of this style is to scar and mutilate one's opponents, to make them a walking testament to the user's brutality as a warning to all others. The few masters of Iron Demon Fist can reduce another martial artists a broken shell, incapable of practicing their style ever again, and most practitioners aren't happy with just that. This style seems to attract the worst elements of the empire to try and learn it's secrets and these vile individuals will often stalk and harass their opponent for weeks before moving in for the kill. Family and friends are no longer safe, taught to be acceptable targets to break an enemy's resolve and desire to fight, and many practitioners enjoy destroying their victim's bonds before destroying their bodies and souls.

Swordsages, warblades, and crusaders can learn this style the easiest, though most immediately come under suspicion for inquiring about it. The training to use Iron Demon Fist is harsh and brutal, as is fitting for the style, and masters of it are difficult to find since they prefer isolation. Not because of the peace and serenity or to meditate, but to avoid those who are hunting for their lives and there are usually many. Victims of Iron Demon Fist tend to die slow, if they die at all, and there are more then a few martial artists who are haunted by the screams of pain from their families or friends after coming under the attention of one of these fiends. Rumors hold that there is a hidden monastery located within the provinces devoted to teaching the Iron Demon Fist, though if the rumors are true then there is a high fatality rate among the students since the master of the monastery, Ling Shui does not tolerate weakness among his trained killers. Against all odds, many practitioners use this style unarmed, going through grueling training to turn their hands into deadly claws that can slice flesh.

JKTrickster
2011-06-29, 08:06 PM
Next time please reserve several posts in advance.

Cause its so hard commenting how awesome of an idea this really is.

EDIT: Also note that the Sohei Adept isn't quite finished. Maybe fix up its disciplines since one of them (the Mystic Cobra) isn't finished?

DracoDei
2011-06-29, 10:07 PM
Next time please reserve several posts in advance.

Cause its so hard commenting how awesome of an idea this really is.

EDIT: Also note that the Sohei Adept isn't quite finished. Maybe fix up its disciplines since one of them (the Mystic Cobra) isn't finished?

Actually, Mystic Cobra IS finished... I made the same mistake. Scroll down more and look for a post by someone OTHER than the original poster.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-06-30, 12:16 AM
Actually, Mystic Cobra IS finished... I made the same mistake. Scroll down more and look for a post by someone OTHER than the original poster.

Huh. I actually hadn't noticed that myself, I was just going to replace Mystic Cobra with Silver Crane. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=137386)


Next time please reserve several posts in advance.

Cause its so hard commenting how awesome of an idea this really is.

And I'll take this as a compliment. Anything in particular that stands out as cool though?

elliott20
2011-06-30, 12:26 AM
I applaud this project. I was thinking about taking AoW towards this direction in the beginning, but as the project grew, it became clear that it would have been more suitable as a less cultural specific setting.

Several things I want to comment on...

Thematic choices
I like the concept of single individuals changing the world. this is a theme that is present in a lot of martial art novels, and works very well.

Other themes I think you can incorporate though:

the concept of good vs. evil is actually something that is present in a lot of Wuxia stories. Honor, in most cases, has closer relations to the Japanese samurai culture rather than just Chinese. It's totally there, it's just not as dominating as say, in L5R. What I'm saying is, you don't really need to do away with the alignments all together. Of course, you're more than welcome to do so, but then you need some other way to show the clash of ideologies.

There is also a distinction between "good" martial arts and "bad" martial arts. Think of it like the difference between athletes using steroids to get an edge over athletes just training, but instead of just physically, it also deals with the mind.

i.e. Jing Yong, one of the authors who pretty much defined the Wuxia novel genre, often showed that martial arts with no philosophical and moral backing often will end up with characters who, as the Chinese saying goes, "walks the path of flames and enters the way of the demon". That is, their devotion ends up being their undoing as their martial pursuits become impure and makes them into villains.

The classic example in his books is the character known as "Invincible in the East", a villain who is probably the first transgender character to show up in his novels. His form of martial arts involves training the body to be blindingly fast, and he also utilizes needles and threads to fight his opponents. In order to get to this point though, he had to castrate himself to attain the right body type for this martial arts. (The martial arts he practices was meant for women.) This is considered the ultimate sin in Confucius thought, as they believed that your body is the most precious thing you received from your parents, and to desecrate it (especially for personal gain) is to shame your family massively. This is also why only prisoners would ever get tattoos.

Basically, if your martial arts requires you to sacrifice your balance in order to advance, there is something wrong with it.

Another concept that is ever present, is the concept of Ying/Yang. Not in the goofy mechanic used by the Qin game, but rather that everything has it's inverse counterpart. You can see this in the very basic notion of "chi" in the books. All martial arts has an inclination for one type or another. The more outwardly aggressive, the more likely it is of the Yang component. (So, desert wind is basically a yang discipline) The more receptive and defensive it is, the closer it is to Ying. (i.e. Setting Sun)

Every martial artist's internal chi makes them more suitable for one or the other. But they can change this over time. This was specifically the purpose of the Tai Chi fist in Jing Yong's setting. It allows you balance your chi between Ying and Yang, giving you the ability to train in both, and also allows you to prolong you living through it's balance.

As you can see, you can also apply this to the moral outlook of each martial art school too.

Oh yeah, and the item enchantment rules? genius. I'm not sure how well the defense rules will work with ToB. Probably should still be okay, but you might want to look into how that effects the way the game flows.

I am not as thrilled about the inherent rule that every person can fly past level 5, not because it's bad or anything, but rather it is not necessarily true in all Wuxia. While it is often seen so in movies, it's not quite the case in the novels. i.e. the Iron Sand Hand faction in the Jing Yong novels were not actually capable of air walking. And some of these guys can take down a whole building with a single hit, so they're clearly not just level 5 or so.

So, I would say that you should try to find a way to make this something that still does require SOME investment in resources, but only enough that only the most dedicated and specialized will miss out on it. i.e. make the air walking maneuver a universal one that anyone can take, or make that another use of the dex-based balance/tumble skills, and make the DC fairly easy to get over for those. (or if need be, just make them low enough so that anyone who has invested in enough ranks in them will basically never fail them. i.e. jump off non-substantive surface, DC 10)

Callos_DeTerran
2011-06-30, 12:50 AM
Wow, first, thanks for the great input elliot. :smallsmile: I'll break up my own comments based on what you've said below though.


I applaud this project. I was thinking about taking AoW towards this direction in the beginning, but as the project grew, it became clear that it would have been more suitable as a less cultural specific setting.

Yeah, I noticed a couple of projects to gather ToB related material together into a single source but I noticed very few (none actually) attempts to make a ToB setting which seemed a terrible shame to me.


Thematic choices
I like the concept of single individuals changing the world. this is a theme that is present in a lot of martial art novels, and works very well.

This may be surprising, considering what I'm working on, but I actually don't have an exhaustive experience with martial arts material, most of it comes from movies. However, from the very beginning, this setting is entirely about that theme. First came the first incarnation of the Celestial Emperor, then came Long Shadow and Bright Steel. Before these three were numerous warlords and fighters who somehow changed the world for the better or worse. It's a very important theme, to say the least.


the concept of good vs. evil is actually something that is present in a lot of Wuxia stories. Honor, in most cases, has closer relations to the Japanese samurai culture rather than just Chinese. It's totally there, it's just not as dominating as say, in L5R. What I'm saying is, you don't really need to do away with the alignments all together. Of course, you're more than welcome to do so, but then you need some other way to show the clash of ideologies.

The reason why honor makes an apperance in this setting is that the empire is, at it's core, a hodge-podge of Chinese, Indian, and Japanese cultures which comes from the same general directions these places lay on the map. Honor is very important in the eastern provinces but a romantized version of it spread to the west. Essentially, honor mostly just replaces the 'Law-Neutral-Chaos' side of the alignment grid since good vs. evil is important as well though good and evil become much more difficult to determine when there's no spells to reveal as much. :smallwink: Another intended attribute of the setting.


There is also a distinction between "good" martial arts and "bad" martial arts. Think of it like the difference between athletes using steroids to get an edge over athletes just training, but instead of just physically, it also deals with the mind.

i.e. Jing Yong, one of the authors who pretty much defined the Wuxia novel genre, often showed that martial arts with no philosophical and moral backing often will end up with characters who, as the Chinese saying goes, "walks the path of flames and enters the way of the demon". That is, their devotion ends up being their undoing as their martial pursuits become impure and makes them into villains.

The classic example in his books is the character known as "Invincible in the East", a villain who is probably the first transgender character to show up in his novels. His form of martial arts involves training the body to be blindingly fast, and he also utilizes needles and threads to fight his opponents. In order to get to this point though, he had to castrate himself to attain the right body type for this martial arts. (The martial arts he practices was meant for women.) This is considered the ultimate sin in Confucius thought, as they believed that your body is the most precious thing you received from your parents, and to desecrate it (especially for personal gain) is to shame your family massively. This is also why only prisoners would ever get tattoos.

Basically, if your martial arts requires you to sacrifice your balance in order to advance, there is something wrong with it.

I actually intended to include a theme like this already, but I wasn't sure of how to do it in a way that doesn't blatantly rip off of another source. Mostly it's a result of fluff at the moment. "Bad" martial artists are those who use disciplines and styles that maim and disfigure their enemies, rather then simply defeating or killing them, and some organizations that will be detailed later do exactly that. Other then that, I'm open to suggestion.


Another concept that is ever present, is the concept of Ying/Yang. Not in the goofy mechanic used by the Qin game, but rather that everything has it's inverse counterpart. You can see this in the very basic notion of "chi" in the books. All martial arts has an inclination for one type or another. The more outwardly aggressive, the more likely it is of the Yang component. (So, desert wind is basically a yang discipline) The more receptive and defensive it is, the closer it is to Ying. (i.e. Setting Sun)

Every martial artist's internal chi makes them more suitable for one or the other. But they can change this over time. This was specifically the purpose of the Tai Chi fist in Jing Yong's setting. It allows you balance your chi between Ying and Yang, giving you the ability to train in both, and also allows you to prolong you living through it's balance.

As you can see, you can also apply this to the moral outlook of each martial art school too.

See, I like this as a background detail, but I have no idea of how to integrate it in a more concrete fashion. Not yet anyway, I'll think about it some more.


Oh yeah, and the item enchantment rules? genius. I'm not sure how well the defense rules will work with ToB. Probably should still be okay, but you might want to look into how that effects the way the game flows.

Yeah, I'm not sure either actually. I like how the item enchantment rules work on paper but I haven't had a chance to really put them into practice yet.


I am not as thrilled about the inherent rule that every person can fly past level 5, not because it's bad or anything, but rather it is not necessarily true in all Wuxia. While it is often seen so in movies, it's not quite the case in the novels. i.e. the Iron Sand Hand faction in the Jing Yong novels were not actually capable of air walking. And some of these guys can take down a whole building with a single hit, so they're clearly not just level 5 or so.

So, I would say that you should try to find a way to make this something that still does require SOME investment in resources, but only enough that only the most dedicated and specialized will miss out on it. i.e. make the air walking maneuver a universal one that anyone can take, or make that another use of the dex-based balance/tumble skills, and make the DC fairly easy to get over for those. (or if need be, just make them low enough so that anyone who has invested in enough ranks in them will basically never fail them. i.e. jump off non-substantive surface, DC 10)

Well, as mentioned above, the vast majority of my experience with wuxia comes from movies and it's those movies that I'm emulating the most. I did stumble upon a mistake of omission when talking to someone else about the air-walking rules though, which I need to fix. It's when a character's initiator level equals the important levels 5/10/15 that they gain those abilities.

That said, i made it the way that I have to allow every character the extra mobility and range to make combat exciting, while allowing some minimal resource investment to improve the ability even further. In other words, I made it a stylistic choice and a DM is free to remove that rule if it doesn't fit the feel of the campaign they are running. :smallsmile: If there's further call for it, I'll come up with potential DCs for tumble/balance/jump checks to replace the standard rules I have though.

elliott20
2011-06-30, 01:28 AM
Well, a lot of this stuff are stylistic choices. As long as you can be consistent about it, I'm sure it will all work out fine in the end.

re: good martial arts vs evil martial arts

you can write entire books on this subject if you really get deep into it, so I recommend you keep it simple. For the most simple, and emblematic example, use Karate Kid. Watch the differences between Miyagi's philosophical approach vs. the Cobra Kai's approach. That right there, while a little too simplified, is pretty much the CORE difference. Keep in mind, very few martial art organizations in even the martial art novels are clearly good or clearly evil. Often times, it has more to do with the individual's approach. You will note that most martial art clans were typically amoral. (Or if it is supposedly "good", it will get subverted later.) The characterization of your actions pretty much defines whether or not your martial arts will be characterized as "good" or "bad". So, in a way, you can almost use the honor mechanic to help define this. If a clan is clearly honorable, they generally will be characterized as "good".

But here's the kicker, they aren't necessarily good! They are just more principled! So right there, if you keep the original good/evil axis, while replacing the law/chaos scale with honor, you can create the dichotomy of perceived good vs. actual good.

So I say work with that somehow.

As for the whole Ying/Yang thing, for the most part, it is just fluff, as the current D&D mechanics just don't allow for this sort of thing very well. I mean, I guess you could institute some kind of new stat called "ying/yang", and use that as a limiter for maneuvering learning the same way that mental stats limit your highest level spell, but that would generate so much additional work that I'm not sure if it's worth it. What it all comes down to is aggression vs. reception, which are not stats so to speak, but more like emotional attributes, something that D&D is horrible at emulating. (Burning Wheel, on the other hand...) What you can do, mechanically, however, is to create feats/traits that specifically speak to those concepts. i.e. hot blooded would give you a bonus in skill checks that involve clearly "yang" discipline maneuvers. Of course, this also means you need to figure out what is a "yang" discipline vs. what is a "ying" discipline, which is a bit of work.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-06-30, 01:40 AM
Disciplines and Classes

With the wide number of disciplines, both official and homebrew, it can be a bit troublesome to figure out which discipline is available to which classes beyond the basic three (crusader, swordsage, and warblade). This section of W&W is meant to help address this problem by providing a list of suitable disciplines, a brief description of what it is and how it fits into the setting, and what classes it might be suited to belonging in (as well as which discipline it can replace if learned at character creation).

Keep in mind that many disciplines can be learned, in addition to the ones the character would normally have access to, by paying experience (1,000xhow many extra disciplines the character knows, rounded up) and studying under a master capable of performing 5th level maneuvers of the chosen discipline.

Also keep in mind that this list is not complete by any means as new disciplines can (and likely will) be discovered after I finish it or will be made after I've finished it. Chances are that I'll add them to this list after discovering them.

Unless a discipline's description says otherwise, assume it comes at the cost of one of the class' normal disciplines known.

Black Rain (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5471518): The gunslinger's art that has come from across the ocean with ships full of refuges and their exotic black powder guns. The Swashbuckler, Swordsage, Sublime Assassin, Dancer, Blade Master, and warblade use the Black Rain discipline.

Falcon's Eye (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8103296#post8103296): The discipline of choice for marksmen who use bows rather then guns. This discipline is suitable for the Warrior-Poet, Swordsage, Blade Master, and Sublime Assassin.

Iron Tortoise (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=160377): A defensive discipline that focuses on the use of an unusual (in the empire anyway) tool, the shield. Crusaders, blade masters, sohei-adepts, warlords, and warblades can all use Iron Tortoise.

Jade Throne (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=160101): The art of the nobility and royalty, those who practice and master the Jade Throne (or even incorporate it into their styles or schools) are held in high-esteem by the upper-class. Suitable for use by the crusader, warlod, warblade, blade master, dancer, and swordsage.

Black Lotus (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124905): A tool for assassins and killers, this discipline was developed by the ninja clans of the north and honed in generations of bloody assassinations. Suitable for use by the Sublime Assassin, swordsage, and blade master.

Blood Sage (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=135459): Another controversial discipline that is most often used by killers, Blood Sage is also used by healers as well, though far less frequently. Suitable for use by the assassin, dancer, swashbuckler, swordsage, and blade master.

Silver Crane (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=137386): Used by exorcists and holy men the empire over, the Silver Crane discipline is suitable for the crusader, guru, and blade master. The character must give up the Devoted Spirit discipline, if they have access to it, or one of their known disciplines if they don't.

Coin's Edge (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=75548): A risky, to say the least, discipline to practice, the Coin's Edge doesn't see much use in this day and age of the continent. Suitable for use by the blade master, swordsage, and dancer classes.

Fool's Grip (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67879): The practice of using any material on hand is a tried and true combat tactic for tavern brawlers, but practitioner's of the Fool's Grip take that philosophy to the next step. Suitable for use by the blade master, warblade, and warlord.

Dancing Leaf (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=85614): A very popular discipline to incorporate into styles and schools, the Dancing Leaf discipline is widely practiced in the empire. Every class except for the crusader and sohei-adept can gain access to the Dancing Leaf.

Oncoming Storm (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=54816): Seen as underhanded, cowardly, and dishonorable, many martial artists who learn some of the Oncoming Storm seem to be embarrassed. Dojo-hunters, on the other hand, are quite proud of their use of it. This discipline is suitable for swordsages, warblades, dancers, assassins, and swashbucklers.

Broken Blade (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=122533): A discipline created by the vicious dojo-hunters to give them an edge, it has since spread among many other martial artists for it's use. This discipline is available to any class, though it's requirements for maneuvers from another discipline makes it an un-wise choice for some classes.

Chthonic Serpent (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=131567): An intriguing discipline that makes use of multiple unusual weapons, from chains to whips to braidblades, it's reputation is tainted from it's use by ninja seeking to remain out of reach of more dangerous adversaries. This discipline is suitable for dancers, blade masters, swordsages, warblades, warrior-poets, and assassins.

Sanguine Brand (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140347): A reviled discipline, many martial artists acquire scars over the course of their careers, but for the most part they aren't intentional. Practioners of the Sanguine Brand deliberately seek to maim, mutilate, and deform their opponents. This discipline is suitable for warblades, assassins, blade masters, and swashbucklers.

Black Heron (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=100874): A demonic discipline that feeds off the hate and fear in it's practitioner's body, many scholars theorize that the Black Heron discipline is proof that evil is a physical force in the world. Suitable for gurus, swordsages, blade masters, and crusaders.

Raging Storm (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=177063): A discipline to harness the power and fury of the storm, very few martial adepts have the capability to use such raw elemental power. Suitable for blade masters, gurus, swordsages, and sohei-adepts.

Steel Serpent (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161258): Another discipline that has an unfavorable reputation, but for good reason. The Steel Serpent discipline is best used from surprise, or when the target is unaware of the practitioner's presence. Unsurprisingly, this discipline was also used by the ninja clans. Suitable for the assassin, blade master, dancer, swashbuckler, and swordsage.

Thrashing Dragon: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=176501) A discipline for the rare skill of wielding two weapons at the same time, Thrashing Dragon is prized as an exotic talent that not many possess. Suitable for swashbuckler, dancer, warblade, blade master, warrior-poet, and swordsage.

Golden Lion: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=179884) There aren't many disciplines that focus as much on the practitioner's allies as well as themselves, but Golden Lion is one of them which makes it invaluable to would-be leaders. Suitable for blade masters, crusaders, warblades, and warlords.

Golden Saint: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76150)There are few disciplines that allow a martial artist to avoid claiming the life of their opponent's without taking significant effort to do so. Golden Saint is a favored discipline among pacifists and monks, who try to avoid taking life if they can. Suitable for blade master, guru, swordsage, sohei-adept, and warrior-poet.

Army of One (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5710173): A unique discipline that focuses on singular superiority over multiple enemies, Army of One requires a dedication to use and hardiness of body that few possess. Suitable for blade master, crusader, sohei-adept, warblade, and warrior-poet.

Kaleidoscopic Dream: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86163) An unusual, to say the least, discipline that strikes confusion and fear into opponent's who must face it, many believe it to be actual magic. Suitable for blade master, guru, and swordsage.

Scarlet Bravura: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5569037) Many leaders control their forces from the rear, or let their allies take the brunt of the assault. Practitioners of the Scarlet Bravura discipline are not those leaders. Suitable for the blade master, crusader, warblade, warlord, and warrior-poet.

Twin Spirit: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40991) Few martial artists have mounts or animals aid them in battles, it's the rare companion that can match the unbridled fury that some martial artists can unleash, but there are those who train that their mount may become a truly dangerous force on the battlefield. Suitable for blade master, warblade, warlord, and sohei-adept.

Scarlet Rose: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=7232363#post7232363) Scarlet Rose, much like Jade Throne, is a discipline lauded by the nobility as the height of martial ability. Much like Tiger Claw and Thrashing Dragon, it focuses on wielding two weapons, but in a far more graceful manner. Suitable for blade master, dancer, swashbuckler, and warrior-poet.

Mystic Cobra Form (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=7472221&posted=1#post7472221): A style of fighting that emphasizes the use of pole arms and disabling an opponent as much as beating them down, Mystic Cobra Form is a discipline that is not widely available for many classes to learn without finding an appropriately high level master to gain access to the style from, barring the blade master and sohei-adept who gains access to it naturally upon first level. In the Spring Court and the islands off it's coast, many lords instruct their daughters to study under masters of this discipline, seeing it as a refined and delicate art that can nonetheless keep their girl-children safe. Suitable for blade masters and sohei-adepts.

As well, the Nine Lesser Disciplines (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48255) may be used by spending a feat to gain access to them, in addition to the normal disciplines a martial artists may know.

Table
{table=head]Class|Blade Master|Crusader|Dancer|Guru|Sohei-Adept|Sublime Assassin|Swashbuckler|Swordsage|Warblade|Warlord|W arrior-Poet|Wildheart
Black Rain|X|-|X|-|-|X|X|X|X|-|-|-
Falcon’s Eye|X|-|-|-|-|X|-|X|-|-|X|X
Iron Tortoise|X|X|-|-|X|-|-|-|X|X|-|X
Jade Throne|X|X|X|-|-|-|-|X|X|-|-|-
Black Lotus|X|-|-|-|-|X|-|X|-|-|-|-
Blood Sage|X|-|X|-|-|X|X|X|-|-|-|-
Silver Crane|X|X|-|X|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-
Coin’s Edge|X|-|X|-|-|-|-|X|-|-|-|-
Fool’s Grip|X|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|X|X|-|X
Dancing Leaf|X|-|X|X|-|X|X|X|X|X|X|X
Oncoming Storm|X|-|X|-|-|X|X|X|X|-|-|X
Broken Blade|X|X|X|X|X|X|X|X|X|X|X|X
Chthonic Serpent|X|-|X|-|-|X|-|X|X|-|X|X
Sanguine Brand|X|-|-|-|-|X|X|-|X|-|-|X
Black Heron|X|X|-|-|X|-|-|X|-|-|-|-
Raging Storm|X|-|-|X|X|-|-|X|-|-|-|X
Steel Serpent|X|-|X|-|-|X|X|X|-|-|-|-
Thrashing Dragon|X|-|X|-|-|-|X|X|X|-|X|-
Golden Lion|X|X|-|-|-|-|-|-|X|X|-|-
Golden Saint|X|-|-|X|X|-|-|X|-|-|X|-
Army of One|X|X|-|-|X|-|-|-|X|-|X|X
Kaleidoscopic Dream|X|-|-|X|-|-|-|X|-|-|-|-
Scarlet Bravura|X|X|-|-|-|-|-|-|X|X|X|X
Twin Spirit|X|-|-|-|X|-|-|-|X|X|-|X
Scarlet Rose|X|-|X|-|-|-|X|-|-|-|X|-
Mystic Cobra Form|X|-|-|-|X|-|-|-|-|-|-|X[/table]

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-01, 12:37 PM
Alright, I finished up most of the crunchy stuff for the setting, aside from some homebrew feats and PrCs (as well as some PrCs made by other people, but I haven't found enough to devote a post to that subject yet), so I figure it's time to get some fluff up!

I'm terrible at deciding what to do first though, and knowing what people WANT to see gives me some great motivation to finish. So to the like...five people who pay attention to this thread, what do you want to learn about the W&W setting first?

gkathellar
2011-07-02, 08:50 AM
Very interested in this.


As for the whole Ying/Yang thing, for the most part, it is just fluff, as the current D&D mechanics just don't allow for this sort of thing very well. I mean, I guess you could institute some kind of new stat called "ying/yang", and use that as a limiter for maneuvering learning the same way that mental stats limit your highest level spell, but that would generate so much additional work that I'm not sure if it's worth it. What it all comes down to is aggression vs. reception, which are not stats so to speak, but more like emotional attributes, something that D&D is horrible at emulating. (Burning Wheel, on the other hand...) What you can do, mechanically, however, is to create feats/traits that specifically speak to those concepts. i.e. hot blooded would give you a bonus in skill checks that involve clearly "yang" discipline maneuvers. Of course, this also means you need to figure out what is a "yang" discipline vs. what is a "ying" discipline, which is a bit of work.

I know this is just the sound of me being picky and annoying, but it's usually transliterated as Yin, not "ying." There's no g-sound.

What you're getting at with "Yin" or "Yang" styles may exist in the minds of Wuxia authors, but all of the martial arts masters I know would say their style is both.

If one wanted to define disciplines by "type," they'd probably want to go with "internal" and "external," which are big terms in Chinese martial arts. Internal and external styles are usually thought to be incompatible, so one could easily divide disciplines in half along those lines. Or one could simply say that "discipline a and discipline b" cannot be used together — that's a staple of both real-world martial arts and some martial arts fiction.

Jade Dragon
2011-07-02, 10:38 AM
This looks interesting. It's gonna take a while to read through all this though.

Did you intentionally make crusaders and sohei adepts the samurai of this world? And warblades the ronin?

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-02, 01:37 PM
This looks interesting. It's gonna take a while to read through all this though.

Did you intentionally make crusaders and sohei adepts the samurai of this world? And warblades the ronin?

Actually no, I don't see that myself. :smallconfused:

Jade Dragon
2011-07-02, 01:39 PM
Actually no, I don't see that myself. :smallconfused:

Warriors in service of a lord for crusaders and sohei adepts, wandering warriors for warblades.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-02, 02:34 PM
Warriors in service of a lord for crusaders and sohei adepts, wandering warriors for warblades.

That's common in other cultures too though, and I was thinking moreso of warrior-monks for sohei-adepts, those monks that took up arms to defend their fellows. Crusaders have a touch of samurai I suppose. Warblades are wandering warriors, but that's hardly a concept limited to Japan. A lot of good-hearted martial artists in this setting wander the land because they can't stay in one place for too long unless they intend to settle down.

DracoDei
2011-07-02, 04:10 PM
Huh. I actually hadn't noticed that myself, I was just going to replace Mystic Cobra with Silver Crane. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=137386)
I would have used Peircing Point myself, but that fits the fluff too. Unnecessary now (unless you just really prefer Piercing Point). When I found out the hard way that Mystic Cobra HAD been completed it was during character creation for THIS (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=11333132#post11333132) game.
Norton gives a probably irrelevant warning about the site (The Tangled Web), but HERE (http://www.thetangledweb.net/forums/profiler/view_char.php?cid=48571) is the character sheet I am using.
It might be useful to you for getting play-test data.

I am not as thrilled about the inherent rule that every person can fly past level 5, not because it's bad or anything, but rather it is not necessarily true in all Wuxia. While it is often seen so in movies, it's not quite the case in the novels. i.e. the Iron Sand Hand faction in the Jing Yong novels were not actually capable of air walking. And some of these guys can take down a whole building with a single hit, so they're clearly not just level 5 or so.

So, I would say that you should try to find a way to make this something that still does require SOME investment in resources, but only enough that only the most dedicated and specialized will miss out on it. i.e. make the air walking maneuver a universal one that anyone can take, or make that another use of the dex-based balance/tumble skills, and make the DC fairly easy to get over for those. (or if need be, just make them low enough so that anyone who has invested in enough ranks in them will basically never fail them. i.e. jump off non-substantive surface, DC 10)
If someone uses this variant, they should make sure to keep the level minimums.

Disciplines and Classes

With the wide number of disciplines, both official and homebrew, it can be a bit troublesome to figure out which discipline is available to which classes beyond the basic three (crusader, swordsage, and warblade). This section of W&W is meant to help address this problem by providing a list of suitable disciplines, a brief description of what it is and how it fits into the setting, and what classes it might be suited to belonging in (as well as which discipline it can replace if learned at character creation).

Keep in mind that many disciplines can be learned, in addition to the ones the character would normally have access to, by paying experience (1,000xhow many extra disciplines the character knows, rounded up) and studying under a master capable of performing 5th level maneuvers of the chosen discipline.

Also keep in mind that this list is not complete by any means as new disciplines can (and likely will) be discovered after I finish it or will be made after I've finished it. Chances are that I'll add them to this list after discovering them.

Unless a discipline's description says otherwise, assume it comes at the cost of one of the class' normal disciplines known.

Black Rain (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5471518): The gunslinger's art that has come from across the ocean with ships full of refuges and their exotic black powder guns. The Swashbuckler, Swordsage, Sublime Assassin, Dancer, Blade Master, and warblade use the Black Rain discipline.

Falcon's Eye (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8103296#post8103296): The discipline of choice for marksmen who use bows rather then guns. This discipline is suitable for the Warrior-Poet, Swordsage, Blade Master, and Sublime Assassin.

Iron Tortoise (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=160377): A defensive discipline that focuses on the use of an unusual (in the empire anyway) tool, the shield. Crusaders, blade masters, sohei-adepts, warlords, and warblades can all use Iron Tortoise.

Jade Throne (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=160101): The art of the nobility and royalty, those who practice and master the Jade Throne (or even incorporate it into their styles or schools) are held in high-esteem by the upper-class. Suitable for use by the crusader, warlod, warblade, blade master, dancer, and swordsage.

Black Lotus (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124905): A tool for assassins and killers, this discipline was developed by the ninja clans of the north and honed in generations of bloody assassinations. Suitable for use by the Sublime Assassin, swordsage, and blade master.

Blood Sage (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=135459): Another controversial discipline that is most often used by killers, Blood Sage is also used by healers as well, though far less frequently. Suitable for use by the assassin, dancer, swashbuckler, swordsage, and blade master.

Silver Crane (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=137386): Used by exorcists and holy men the empire over, the Silver Crane discipline is suitable for the crusader, guru, and blade master. The character must give up the Devoted Spirit discipline, if they have access to it, or one of their known disciplines if they don't.

Coin's Edge (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=75548): A risky, to say the least, discipline to practice, the Coin's Edge doesn't see much use in this day and age of the continent. Suitable for use by the blade master, swordsage, and dancer classes.

Fool's Grip (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67879): The practice of using any material on hand is a tried and true combat tactic for tavern brawlers, but practitioner's of the Fool's Grip take that philosophy to the next step. Suitable for use by the blade master, warblade, and warlord.

Dancing Leaf (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=85614): A very popular discipline to incorporate into styles and schools, the Dancing Leaf discipline is widely practiced in the empire. Every class except for the crusader and sohei-adept can gain access to the Dancing Leaf.

Oncoming Storm (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=54816): Seen as underhanded, cowardly, and dishonorable, many martial artists who learn some of the Oncoming Storm seem to be embarrassed. Dojo-hunters, on the other hand, are quite proud of their use of it. This discipline is suitable for swordsages, warblades, dancers, assassins, and swashbucklers.

Broken Blade (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=122533): A discipline created by the vicious dojo-hunters to give them an edge, it has since spread among many other martial artists for it's use. This discipline is available to any class, though it's requirements for maneuvers from another discipline makes it an un-wise choice for some classes.

Chthonic Serpent (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=131567): An intriguing discipline that makes use of multiple unusual weapons, from chains to whips to braidblades, it's reputation is tainted from it's use by ninja seeking to remain out of reach of more dangerous adversaries. This discipline is suitable for dancers, blade masters, swordsages, warblades, warrior-poets, and assassins.

Sanguine Brand (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140347): A reviled discipline, many martial artists acquire scars over the course of their careers, but for the most part they aren't intentional. Practioners of the Sanguine Brand deliberately seek to maim, mutilate, and deform their opponents. This discipline is suitable for warblades, assassins, blade masters, and swashbucklers.

Black Heron (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=100874): A demonic discipline that feeds off the hate and fear in it's practitioner's body, many scholars theorize that the Black Heron discipline is proof that evil is a physical force in the world. Suitable for gurus, swordsages, blade masters, and crusaders.

Raging Storm (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=177063): A discipline to harness the power and fury of the storm, very few martial adepts have the capability to use such raw elemental power. Suitable for blade masters, gurus, swordsages, and sohei-adepts.

Steel Serpent (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161258): Another discipline that has an unfavorable reputation, but for good reason. The Steel Serpent discipline is best used from surprise, or when the target is unaware of the practitioner's presence. Unsurprisingly, this discipline was also used by the ninja clans. Suitable for the assassin, blade master, dancer, swashbuckler, and swordsage.

Thrashing Dragon: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=176501) A discipline for the rare skill of wielding two weapons at the same time, Thrashing Dragon is prized as an exotic talent that not many possess. Suitable for swashbuckler, dancer, warblade, blade master, warrior-poet, and swordsage.

Golden Lion: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=179884) There aren't many disciplines that focus as much on the practitioner's allies as well as themselves, but Golden Lion is one of them which makes it invaluable to would-be leaders. Suitable for blade masters, crusaders, warblades, and warlords.

Golden Saint: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76150)There are few disciplines that allow a martial artist to avoid claiming the life of their opponent's without taking significant effort to do so. Golden Saint is a favored discipline among pacifists and monks, who try to avoid taking life if they can. Suitable for blade master, guru, swordsage, sohei-adept, and warrior-poet.

Army of One (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5710173): A unique discipline that focuses on singular superiority over multiple enemies, Army of One requires a dedication to use and hardiness of body that few possess. Suitable for blade master, crusader, sohei-adept, warblade, and warrior-poet.

Kaleidoscopic Dream: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86163) An unusual, to say the least, discipline that strikes confusion and fear into opponent's who must face it, many believe it to be actual magic. Suitable for blade master, guru, and swordsage.

Scarlet Bravura: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5569037) Many leaders control their forces from the rear, or let their allies take the brunt of the assault. Practitioners of the Scarlet Bravura discipline are not those leaders. Suitable for the blade master, crusader, warblade, warlord, and warrior-poet.

Twin Spirit: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40991) Few martial artists have mounts or animals aid them in battles, it's the rare companion that can match the unbridled fury that some martial artists can unleash, but there are those who train that their mount may become a truly dangerous force on the battlefield. Suitable for blade master, warblade, warlord, and sohei-adept.

Scarlet Rose: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=7232363#post7232363) Scarlet Rose, much like Jade Throne, is a discipline lauded by the nobility as the height of martial ability. Much like Tiger Claw and Thrashing Dragon, it focuses on wielding two weapons, but in a far more graceful manner. Suitable for blade master, dancer, swashbuckler, and warrior-poet.

As well, the Nine Lesser Disciplines (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48255) may be used by spending a feat to gain access to them, in addition to the normal disciplines a martial artists may know.
This was a task that the Age of Warriors project basically gave up on. I hope that your rulings (which we might or might not agree with, I haven't looked) might give us new hope in that area.

Salbazier
2011-07-02, 04:40 PM
Interesting setting.

Perhaps I can recommend this? (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5580531&postcount=1) For more variety in items

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-02, 04:55 PM
The Empire


"The time before the empire was hellish, brothers would be forced to turn on brothers because their lords demanded blood for some insult. Villages would be razed, never knowing why. Martial artists were brought up in a way of blood, soiling their souls to bring victory for ambitious rulers. The empire changed all of that, now if two lords want to fight they have to do it in secret, they aren't putting thousands of people at risk. The Emperor's given this land many gifts, but peace was the greatest."

-Excerpts from the writings of Jun Tsei, scholar

A single entity that spans the entire continent, the empire is the single most powerful country in the known world. It stretches from the oceans in the north and east to the Endless Desert in the west to the trackless jungles of the south, bringing all under the sway of the Celestial Emperor, an end to an era of war between bickering kingdoms, provinces, and clans who had recklessly thrown themselves against one another in bloody battle. However, at its core the empire only directly controls what is known as the central provinces, those closest to the seat of imperial power. Beyond this, the empire is still broken up into the various kingdoms and provinces that were originally conquered to bring peace, though now the governors, lords, and kings have all sworn fealty to the Jade Throne. Most of the time the empire merely acts as a mediator to it’s component pieces, preventing open warfare from breaking out and ensuring that the people are not being abused by those who are supposed to protect them, but otherwise allows its pieces to be run as they always have. The first incarnation of the Celestial Emperor knew that to bring too much change at once would only fracture the country that he had begun to build, and thus sought to bind the various warlords and governors to his rule rather then subsuming them into the greater whole. This allowed many prideful leaders to save face when they bent knee to the Emperor and swore fealty, since little would change within their homelands except for a tithe collected in the Emperor’s name, as well as letting the peasants rest easy knowing their traditions and ways would not be destroyed. With the threat of the Emperor’s wrath hanging over those who would otherwise start a war, vengeful or ambitious rulers have instead had to turn towards intermediaries and cat-paws to continue the deadly intrigue that had existed before the empire. Where before armies would clash in gigantic battles, now spies, assassins, and mercenary soldiers would hold clandestine battles for their secret masters.

A system of roads and highways connect neighboring lands, allowing for a greater exchange of people and ideas between otherwise isolated towns and villages. Old tribal identities were abandoned in the face of this new reality where one’s family could be spread across several provinces, but the old ways were not completely abandoned. Outside of the central provinces, the people latched unto a new cultural identity to give them a sense of security, giving rise to the Seasonal Courts, a collection of the kingdoms and provinces in the north, south, east, and west respectively. Each Seasonal Court is ostensibly independent of one another and only relies on the central provinces, but each openly trades with it’s neighbors for more wealth and power. Such unity is encouraged by the emperor, even as the Imperial Court watches these new fledging powers with growing alarm, wondering if one of them might someday gather the power to occupy Jueru and gain control of the canals and rivers that make Jueru the center of the empire. Trade is common between courts, the major trade routes are akin to arteries, always flowing with merchants in one direction or the other to meet the seasonal demands of the courts and to exchange common place items in one part of the country but are rare delicacies in another. Education and medicine is widely available in the central provinces and common enough in the Courts that only the most remote of villages will be without a academy, school, or temple within walking distance where children can at least learn to read.

Recently, the supremacy of the Empire has become somewhat shaken, with the recent advent of sea-exploration that was prompted by the sudden arrival of several ships from across the ocean. The strange people aboard the ships claimed to have come from a land across the sea, though some tragedy had befallen it and they had been forced to flee. When asked what this tragedy was, out of fear of some plague, these foreigners couldn’t answer since the sea journey had taken two generations to complete and the stories told of the time before the Wandering are fractured and conflicting. These foreigners also brought with them a revolutionary invention with them, guns, which the empire has begun to reluctantly embrace as the way of the future. It was not just the slow trickle of a new people from the east that has upset the balance in power though, the sea exploration prompted by the arrival of these people also revealed the presence of mighty glaciers across the northern sea that some enthusiastic lords have begun to ‘harvest’ and ship back to the mainland at a tremendous profit. All of this combined with the fact the Celestial Emperor died of old age not ten years before and his replacement has not yet been found have the mainland bubbling with tension, tension being exploited by some and tension that some wise men fear will bring back the time of wars and battle that once stained the land red with blood…

Price of Life

Life is fragile in the empire, fresh water is only known to flow from a single source, the Imperial Palace in Jueru, where it flows into a series of massive man-made canals, natural canyons, and valleys to spread across the continent until finally flowing back into the un-tamed ocean. It is widely known that the Celestial Emperor is the reason that the waters flow and that if his reign should ever become unjust then the water would all dry up, plunging the land into a terrible drought. Far more importantly, it’s the control of fresh water that allowed the Empire to become what it is today. Through means unknown, the Celestial Emperor has shown the capability to completely cease the flow of water to kingdoms and provinces that have resisted his governance or Divine Mandate. With no water, such unrest is quickly quelled, one way or the other, when imperial troops are dispatched to end the disquiet. It is this power over life and death that also keeps the peace. The empire, compared to the many provinces and kingdoms that compromise it, is a relatively new entity and many old rulers have still not forgiven old grievances and grudges against their neighbors. Whenever the embers of hatred flare into open warfare though, the Emperor is quick to send both offenders a drought until they disband their forces and return to their duties. Thus the Emperor’s control of water has ended many conflicts before they could even truly start, making it the ultimate weapon for peace in his arsenal. Despite the monolithic control the Emperor has over drinkable water, there are alternatives that exist, usually to supplement how much water a given region has.

In the southern provinces, the Summer Court, with it’s multitude of mist-filled valleys and cave systems, the water from Jueru has turned into an expansive canal and river network that has helped the region to flower into massive jungles that sweep across the land. Despite this abundance of water, the southern people have still come up with a system of ‘harvesting’ water that is then shipped to other provinces for a profit. The most prominent way is by collecting water from vast bamboo farms, making up for the small amount of water that can be collected from the plant by growing large groves of it that are also used as to build homes, fashion paper, and other uses. Jian-jun, the largest city of the south, is famous for the vast bamboo forest that surrounds the city, creating a mystique around the old stone city. Heavy rainstorms occasionally sweep out of the south to the western provinces, one of their few sources of water, or back north towards Jueru.

In the east, the Spring Court, where tall mountain ranges have made building canals an impossibility, the few natural routes for water to take are jealously guarded, though bamboo is also used though for a different purpose. The Eastern people have taken to using bamboo charcoal to purify water, and have also begun to experiment with using it to extract the salt from ocean water to make it safe for drinking. They also attempt to collect water from the harsh storms that can sweep in off of the oceans, though they have far less success with that method.

People from the western provinces, the Fall Court, have the worst lot when it comes to getting a steady supply of fresh water. The fortress of Wen-Yun stands at the edge of the grasslands that have sprouted up around Jueru, as if to mark the slow decline of life past it’s walls as fertile prairies turn to hot and dry savannah before finally reaching the first of the Wall’s many pieces that keep the desert from encroaching any further. It is also here that the Empire’s canals cease, unable to be extended further due to the raids from hardy desert people that resent the intrusion. Here, water caravans are more precious then gold and the crime for interfering with them has always been death. These barrels of precious water are deposited in large reservoirs and man-made oasis with the hope that storms from the south, water caravans from Jueru, and a very slowly increasing amount of rain will slowly turn the west into a far more habitable environment.

Northern provinces, the Winter Court, had about as much trouble getting fresh water as the east did, mountains made expansions of canals unfeasible and the climate was unsuited to growing bamboo to collect water that way. It was only once travelers from across the ocean to the east arrived, and the desire to sail farther away from the mainland grew, that sailors in the north discovered great seas full of frozen water. Impoverished nobles in the north frantically scurried to secure this new resource. These new ‘water-lords’ have taken to hiring crews of men and women to chisel off pieces of ice to be melted down into water and transported across the mainland proper. While such a process is slow, for the moment, it has given the Winter Court an economic boost as peasants from all across the Empire travel north to join crews of glacier-chiselers.

Many have wondered just how the Celestial Emperor controls the waters from Jueru, or where the waters come from in the first place, but very few know the true answer. Most people, even learned scholars, believe that the Emperor lured a mighty dragon made of water to the spot where the City of Jade would later arise and slew it in a single climatic battle, later building his palace atop it’s body so that it’s life-giving blood would flow out of the city to where people from all walks of life could benefit from it’s life’s blood. Others believe that Jueru is built atop a massive well-spring and machinery beneath the palace is used to funnel the water up from below to the Cardinal Canals that send water coursing across the continent. Even fewer whisper other stories that lay doubt to the Divine Mandate of the Emperor, but these few fear to voice such thoughts aloud. Outspoken people of such thoughts have frequently disappeared soon after, presumably slain by the zealous Eihogosha who take murderous offense to slander of the Emperor’s Mandate.

The Celestial Emperor

"The Divine Ruler of the Empire, August Lord of the Four Seasons, Bringer of Water and Peace, this humble servant seeks an audience, to benefit from His unending wisdom!"

-Typical plea for an audience in the Imperial Court

The man who unified a continent and brought peace after centuries of war, the Celestial Emperor is the lynchpin that keeps the empire from tearing itself apart. Each Celestial Emperor, since the first, has ruled from Jueru and governed the land with the aid of the Imperial Court. Few dare to disagree with the Emperor, since his control over water is well known and more temperamental reincarnations have blighted entire provinces for the offenses of one person. When the first Celestial Emperor lay on his deathbed, he told the nascent court that his spirit would live on in a new body and devised a test so that the court would be able to determine who the new Emperor was to be. The reincarnation, as it’s told, would have no problem in passing the test while a fraud would perish, revealing their falsehood to the entire world. Upon taking the throne, each Emperor has forsaken his name as a way to sever ties to his past and show his dedication to the people, and this system has worked for forty-seven reincarnations.

It was with the passing of the forty-seventh reincarnation that trouble struck. As usual, the Imperial Court first tested the Emperor’s sons since the reincarnation was usually found amongst them, but he was not found. Several wives even refused to allow their children to be subjected to the test, fearing for their lives, an act that has splintered the Imperial Court into warring factions. Some bureaucrats, eunuchs, lords, and governors support one of the still living heirs, determined that the next Celestial Emperor must be among them and willing to kill the others to prove it just as they try to find the nature of the trial to better prepare their chosen heir, others scour the country-side looking for the heir amongst the high-born families and peasants alike, a not unknown event but very rare. As time passed though and the reincarnation is still not discovered, the remaining eunuchs, warlords, and kings have begun to arrive at a different conclusion. What if the Emperor had not reincarnated? It would mean, for the first time in over two thousand years that the throne would be open for a new ruler to take the reigns! These ambitious individuals plot, in secret, to take the thrones for themselves before someone else arrives at the same conclusion. The throne has laid empty for almost ten years now, the longest vacancy in the empire’s history, and as more and more of the Imperial and Seasonal Courts maneuver for advantage over the others, the country has begun the slide to ruin around them.

The common folk fear that this in-fighting will have worse consequences then merely prompting a new era for war, they fear that the lack of an Emperor may mean that the flow of water from Jueru will finally cease, plunging the continent into a cataclysmic drought that it couldn’t survive in the current state of affairs.

Jueru
”Jueru is like some great beast my son. I’ve seen the living trains of life, food, and water being lead into the gaping ‘mouths’ of the City of Jade, gobbling up never-ending tribute. People teem and surge through the city’s veins, part of a greater whole that surrounds them in green. Atop all of that is an ivory skull, larger then any castle, where the heart of a nation used to beat, spilling out water to all the land. Course, now it’s empty now and the wolves gather to tear off pieces of the beast for themselves, but that’s foolish. You never know when a beast is really dead, most of the time it’s just sleeping. You remember these words my son when the tax collectors come to carry off some of your prized live-stock, it all goes to feed Jueru and only a fool stands before that sleeping dragon and shouts defiance.”

-Conversation between a merchant and his son

The capital city of the empire, Jueru is the source of the vast majority of drinkable water in the country and is thus the most important location as well. Concentric rings of rice paddies and farms surround the city, broken up into pieces by the four monstrous canals that run down from the tiered city before moving unto the rest of the empire. A smattering of small villages are scattered among these farms, peasants who labor in the sun with the massive shape of the City of Jade in the distance with the gleaming white Imperial Palace atop it all. All of the food grown in these farms is taken to the city by way of the Cardinal Highways, merging with the merchant trains and traders coming from all across the empire to sell their wares in the over-gorged markets of the city. There is a constant influx of people into the city, and a constant departure as well from the four immense gates that lead to the bottom-most tier of the city, each iron gate shaped like the snarling head of a dragon and plated in gold, making it appear as if all visitors to the city are swallowed up by them. The Dawn Guard, Jueru’s guardsmen and soldiers, patrol the walls on each tier but, especially, protect the gate houses leading into the city where a daily accounting of criminals is kept. Those felons of the city rarely leave, for making it past the gold-armored guards is not easy and getting back in would be even more difficult.

Jueru is a massive metropolis that is built into what used to be a mountain, before the first Celestial Emperor transformed it into the grand wonder that it is today. Now the mountain has been transformed into a series of six tiers that all lead up to the seventh, and highest, tier that is occupied solely by the Imperial Palace. In a display of lavish opulence, the entire city is jade colored, with the lower tiers being merely painted (for the most part) with the middle tiers and upper using actual jade tiles to sheath their buildings. On the upper tiers, it is actually not uncommon to find the tiles inlaid with gold or silver, either in artistic designs or with good luck charms to ward off varying kinds of misfortune. Even the roofs of the bottom tiers are covered with the semi-precious stone, presumably by the order of some influential noble or eunuch who wanted the entire city to appear uniform. The middle tiers have more variety, with the merchants, tradesmen, scholars, and martial artists who live there tending to only use jade for roof tiles since the stone is costly and because many prefer more vibrant colors. The Riddle of Steel inn is well-known for it’s crimson walls and jade roof, an easily recognizable sight and point of reference for bewildered new comers to the city. The tiers reserved for favored servants of the courts and nobility are, of course, more lavish then the tiers below them. Many use jade to cover the walls of their palatial homes, inlaid with precious metals or stones that make the upper-tiers extravagant sites of beauty, others using carved tiles to form some impressive mosaic or image. Some thieves have made a, dangerous, living traveling up to the upper-most tiers to pry jade tiles from the outside walls of nobles to sell in the markets on the lower tiers.

Each tier is walled and patrolled by a different regiment of the Dawn Guard, making trips up to the higher tiers difficult as one must stop at a way-station on each tier to see if passage is allowed to the next one. Merchants with large trade supplies must make use of an ingenious system of ‘elevators’ built next to the canals that use cranes powered by the rushing water to lift their cargo up to the next tier, or, on the way back down employ the use of barges that are lowered down the canals and raised back up them by immense chains manipulated by large buildings built at the top of each canal. As one might expect, one can accurately measure their standing in the City of Jade by which tier they occupy.

The bottom-most tier is practically a slum, the jade falling from the walls and roofs to give the tier an almost pox-riddled look. The streets, and the people who live there, are filthy and what homes are available are cramped. There’s no room for privacy since many families are forced to live in the same buildings on the bottom-most tier, crime is common and unchecked since the majority of the Dawn Guard regiment for that tier are assigned to the outer wall and the gate houses, rather then patrolling the streets looking for undesirables.

The second tier up is not much better, holding the peasants and laborers of the city who nevertheless consider themselves lucky not to have fallen on hard enough times to be forced to move down to the slums. Despite this, the homes and houses are more spacious on this tier and some wealthier peasants are able to own private homes, even if they are small, for just their own families. Many here work as porters for the merchants coming into the city, or as laborers for factories and workhouses on higher tiers.

On the third tier, many visiting merchants rent small apartments for the duration of their stay, since the majority of this tier is devoted to massive open-air markets that are where almost all the trading in Jueru is done. Legal trading anyway. Any treasure from any of the Seasonal Courts can be found on the third tier, if one is persistent in finding it and has the coin to spend doing so. Exotic animals and water from the south, ore and gems from the west, fish from the east, and lumber and water from the north can all be found here. There’s even several markets where weapons and armor are sold, under careful watch from the Dawn Guard, where martial artists may make use of small dueling platforms or perform demonstrations of their skills in an attempt to sway a prospective employer into choosing them instead of one of myriad others. It is one this tier that crime becomes less of an open problem, criminals can’t afford to brazenly walk the streets as they would on the lower tiers since the Dawn Guard patrol the streets often and there are many martial artists of all kinds, making theft an unwise idea.

The fourth tier is lauded as the culutural center-piece of Jueru, since what few markets there are have become devoted to selling the high-society items that nobles visiting from the fifth tier may want to purchase for their own homes. Most guilds and rich merchants take up residence here, far from the squalor down below and close enough to the next tier that many ambitious merchants always have their goal in sight just from looking out of their windows. It’s not merely calligraphy scrolls, poems, literature, and art that is available on the fifth tier, its martial arts as well. More then a few dojos and academies occupy this tier, both because of its relative privacy from the rest of the city and the abundance of space that can be used. Recently there’s been a string of disturbances on the fourth tier though, as rivalries have broken out once more and the streets have turned deadly with intrigue between the various schools and styles once dark has fallen. Here, the Dawn Guard has its hands full with petty thefts, fights breaking out between schools, and crimes perpetuated from one noble to another. Its also on the fourth tier that the almost legendary Riddle of Steel tea house is located.

On the fifth tier of the city, wealth becomes the most important facet of one’s life, seconded only by power. Money can buy you support from neighboring lords and governors, can hire protection in the form of drifting martial artists, and can be used to elevate one’s position even higher. The minor lords from the central provinces of any note all keep a small home on the fifth tier, a place to relax in the embrace of ‘civilization’ with fellow ‘cultured’ individuals, though many far more honest people would argue against such a statement. Crime is common on the fifth tier, but it often goes ‘un-noticed’ by the Dawn Guard since the brothels and opium dens are frequently visited by lords who support the practice and handsomely pay the Dawn Guard to do the same. Some organized crime families also live on the fifth tier, having elevated themselves to ‘nobility’ in wealth alone, utterly disregarded by the nobles that live there as un-cultured pretenders, despite the very deadly nature of these people. The intrigues of the fifth tier are a pale shadow of what occurs on the sixth and seventh tier, more jockeying for position and chest-pounding then any discernable effect.

Peasants and merchants alike are barred from the sixth tier and higher, barring special papers from the Imperial Palace itself, while branded criminals will find a quick path to the headsman’s block for daring to show their faces at the gates. The sixth tier is solely occupied by the high lords of the Seasonal Courts and the favored wives of the Celestial Emperor, each accorded large homes with beautiful gardens and private temples to worship at. The distinguished lords and ladies usually travel by horse or palanquin through the marbled streets, never deigning to touch the ground with their feet outside of their homes. Here, the intrigue and political dances can turn deadly at a moments notice, since the high lords all represent large portions of their Seasonal Court, which makes them notable adversaries of the other high lords and means their rivals at home would pounce upon any sign of weakness shown. Perhaps because of this, each household is almost entirely self-contained. The servants, entertainers, advisors, and family of the lords who live on the sixth tier usually move there with them, and rarely leave given the dangers it could bring on the household, which prompted another alarming tread. Each high lord, even the wives of the emperor, usually have their own small entourage of powerful martial artists to defend themselves and their families. Some martial artists aspire to nothing more then becoming the chosen champion of a high lord, since they are accorded almost every luxury and honor to ensure their loyalty. There are actually more bodyguards and soldiers belonging to the high lords then there are members of the Dawn Guard on the sixth tier.

The highest, and final, tier is occupied solely by a single massive building that’s connected to smaller adjoining buildings by enclosed walkways. The Imperial Palace is a monstrous and beautiful fortress sheathed in ivory and is the sole demesne of the Celestial Emperor and the Imperial Court. The palace covers the entire top of the mountain that Jueru was built from and runs right up to the walls that separate the palace from the sixth tier, ominous and well-defend by the most highly trained soldiers in the empire. Entrance to the Imperial Palace is forbidden by all but the eunuchs of the Imperial Court, the wives of the Emperor who have not earned a house-hold on the sixth tier, and the protectors of the Emperor, no others are allowed to stay in the labyrinth palace for longer then a day unless they are to live out the remainder of their lives there. Essentially a gilded prison, the Imperial Palace is almost a self-contained town with it’s own factions of eunuchs, bodyguards, wives, and heirs that are constantly at one another’s throats. Death is a common occurrence in the Palace but only the obvious sign of foul play will bring any, quickly concluded investigation from the Dawn Guard. This tier is the home of the most powerful, and oftentimes corrupt, men and women of the empire and they do not take kindly to any interference in the lethal ‘Games’ they play with one another. All of the palace is built around a central point, the throne room, where the entire court sits in attendance of the Celestial Emperor upon the Jade Throne…when there is a Celestial Emperor anyway. These days the throne room is often empty and the pale-skinned occupants of the Imperial Palace prefer the twisting and turning hallways and back rooms to conduct their often illicit dealings, often with the only glimpses of sunlight that they get since the gardens of the Emperor have been closed until a new one has been chosen.

Immonen
2011-07-02, 05:02 PM
I know this is just the sound of me being picky and annoying, but it's usually transliterated as Yin, not "ying." There's no g-sound.



To be fair, depending on where you're from the two sounds are identical. :smalltongue:

This setting is very interesting so far. I'd like to see someone use this for a "House of a Thousand Daggers" remake.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-02, 05:07 PM
Interesting setting.

Perhaps I can recommend this? (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5580531&postcount=1) For more variety in items

Hmm..Neat. I like the simplicity of it, but I actually prefer the Legacy item system more. I don't know why, but Legacy items just appeal to me more, I'll throw that up in the first post as an optional rule though.


I would have used Peircing Point myself, but that fits the fluff too. Unnecessary now (unless you just really prefer Piercing Point). When I found out the hard way that Mystic Cobra HAD been completed it was during character creation for THIS (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=11333132#post11333132) game.
Norton gives a probably irrelevant warning about the site (The Tangled Web), but HERE (http://www.thetangledweb.net/forums/profiler/view_char.php?cid=48571) is the character sheet I am using.
It might be useful to you for getting play-test data.

I haven't seen Piercing Point myself, but I'll try to find it.




This was a task that the Age of Warriors project basically gave up on. I hope that your rulings (which we might or might not agree with, I haven't looked) might give us new hope in that area.

It is an over-whelming task, but I have an advantage in that I'm not using this setting as a home for every ToB base class or home-brewed discipline. Unless I come across exceptional base-classes that fit wonderfully, I don't intend on adding more to the setting and, on the whole, I've finished looking for new disciplines. Tis why I said 'if you find one that isn't here and think it might fit, throw me a link and I'll look it over'. :smallwink:

Prime32
2011-07-02, 05:43 PM
Some houserules that might interest you:
http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=11597

EDIT: And a ToB NPC class (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=11302). Side-bonus: if a PC really wants to use a non-ToB class you could gestalt him with it.

Have you considered using action points? Maybe connected to the Stunt system.

As for item crafting, I'd say just use ranks in your appropriate Craft skill in place of caster level, and make enhancement bonuses nonmagical. There are rules for collaborating on an item, so if you can find an NPC wizard helper you can make a +3 flaming sword. In this case, the flaming part would be magical and the +3 wouldn't.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-02, 06:12 PM
Some houserules that might interest you:
http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=11597

EDIT: And a ToB NPC class (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=11302). Side-bonus: if a PC really wants to use a non-ToB class you could gestalt him with it.

Have you considered using action points? Maybe connected to the Stunt system.

As for item crafting, I'd say just use ranks in your appropriate Craft skill in place of caster level, and make enhancement bonuses nonmagical. There are rules for collaborating on an item, so if you can find an NPC wizard helper you can make a +3 flaming sword. In this case, the flaming part would be magical and the +3 wouldn't.

Ohhh, I like that NPC class, that's really helpful!

And I did, but then I figured that stunts and action points are essentially the same thing. That, and I'm going to change stunts so that you roll +1d6 to +3d6 (depending on how well the DM decided you did) and either choose the highest number or add the two highest numbers together. Something like that anyway, I just realized that for something that was meant to help bridge the gap between higher and lower level characters (to make for surprise upsets and whatnot) a bonus of +1 to +3 really didn't cover it.

That's just it though, if this setting is used, there is no NPC wizard helpers, which makes the vast majority of weapon/armor enhancements a bit out of place. As mentioned above, when I get around to the magical PrC, it's only going to be optional material, not automatically used in the setting. That, and I think the Item Enhancement rules I found are rather nifty!

On taking non-ToB classes, the problem with that though is that if someone automatically gestalts for using a non-ToB class, then there becomes no reason not to pick one up because you aren't losing any thing and have everything to gain. There has to be some lose in abilities for going with a non-ToB and, for the most part, it's not an actual lose. Rage, to use an example, is a rather handy ability to have even at the cost of some maneuvers. The extra feats from Fighter will always be helpful, but they're weighed against decreased initiator ability. Tis why I said that they are mostly being regulated to NPC class material, so NPC characters/enemies can be martial threats but a DM doesn't need to spend a half hour figuring out their maneuvers and stances for one NPC.

Jade Dragon
2011-07-02, 06:20 PM
For magic weapons and armor, just waive the spell requirements, take out the CL prereq for the feat and just replace it with a level 3 prereq, and just make them pay the XP cost. Also, if you want them nonmagical, take out obviously magical enchantments. After all, many eastern legends had the legendary weapons have a piece of the smith's soul in it.

Prime32
2011-07-02, 06:39 PM
That's just it though, if this setting is used, there is no NPC wizard helpers, which makes the vast majority of weapon/armor enhancements a bit out of place. As mentioned above, when I get around to the magical PrC, it's only going to be optional material, not automatically used in the setting. That, and I think the Item Enhancement rules I found are rather nifty!Well, those rules are inferior to the existing item crafting while also requiring more feats to use...

How were you handling other magic items? Here's some rules the DM of a game I'm in is using.

SPIRIT POINTS
Characters gain a number of spirit points as defined on the table below.
Characters may attune equipment up to their capacity of spirit points, attuning a worn or held item being a free action(that can be taken even out of turn), but releasing attunement being a full day. You can attune something that someone else is attuned to, but it takes a full day to break the other person's attunement.
Any attuned equipment can be used, regardless of who attuned the item.
Expendable items costs spirit points equal to the value of the charges used.
Lost spirit points(i.e. via expended items or destroyed equipment) recover at the rate of 1% of the character's WBL per day, up to a maximum of his WBL.
Magic weapons and other magic items with a mundane component only count their enchantment and not their base item cost, masterworking or special materials.
A character can turn any equipment he has used regularly for at least a week into any standard magic item of the same type by expending it's new value in spirit points. He can convert a lesser magic item into an enhanced version of itself this way. Magic items created in this manner lose their power if left unattuned, at the rate of 1 caster level lost per week.
Major Artifacts cannot be altered in this manner unless specifically stated otherwise. Lesser Artifacts can be so modified if the character is capable of creating artifacts and is at least as powerful as the original creator.
Equipment can be attuned for less than their maximum value, if they have a lesser version. If a character invests the value of a +2 Belt of Strength into a +6 Belt of Strength, he gains only the benefit of a +2 Belt of Strength.
Spellbook using spellcasters may choose to buy their additional spells with Spirit Points, in this case they must pay the full cost of the copying process(Spell level squared x 15), but needs no access to a library for spells already on their class list.

{TABLE=head]Level |Spirit Points| Benefit
2 |1,000 |
3 |2,000 | +1 enhancement Armor
4 |4,000 | +1 Resistance saves
5 |6,500 | +1 enhancement to Weapons
6 |10,000 | +1 Deflection AC
7 |14,500 | +1 enhancement all stats
8 |21,000 | +2 enhancement Armor
9 |31,000 | +2 Resistance saves
10 |41,000 | +2 to Weapons
[/TABLE]

And I did, but then I figured that stunts and action points are essentially the same thing. That, and I'm going to change stunts so that you roll +1d6 to +3d6 (depending on how well the DM decided you did) and either choose the highest number or add the two highest numbers together. Something like that anyway, I just realized that for something that was meant to help bridge the gap between higher and lower level characters (to make for surprise upsets and whatnot) a bonus of +1 to +3 really didn't cover it.
Well action points can do a number of things other than add to a roll. The UA version can even grant you temporary feats.


On taking non-ToB classes, the problem with that though is that if someone automatically gestalts for using a non-ToB class, then there becomes no reason not to pick one up because you aren't losing any thing and have everything to gain. There has to be some lose in abilities for going with a non-ToB and, for the most part, it's not an actual lose. Rage, to use an example, is a rather handy ability to have even at the cost of some maneuvers. The extra feats from Fighter will always be helpful, but they're weighed against decreased initiator ability. Tis why I said that they are mostly being regulated to NPC class material, so NPC characters/enemies can be martial threats but a DM doesn't need to spend a half hour figuring out their maneuvers and stances for one NPC.This was just a side-thought. An optional rule for DMs with picky players.

DracoDei
2011-07-02, 06:44 PM
I haven't seen Piercing Point myself, but I'll try to find it.
Well it is HERE (http://dspeyer.dyndns.org/aow/school.html?school=Piercing%20Point) on the Age of Warriors (http://dspeyer.dyndns.org/aow/)* site and you can click the "original version" button to see the version of it on GitP (recommended at this time since there are some field length errors for some of the maneuvers... IE if the description is too long it just cuts off.
*Provided since this is unlikely to be the last time you will want to look at something from that project.




EDIT: And a ToB NPC class (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=11302). Side-bonus: if a PC really wants to use a non-ToB class you could gestalt him with it.


Ohhh, I like that NPC class, that's really helpful!
On taking non-ToB classes, the problem with that though is that if someone automatically gestalts for using a non-ToB class, then there becomes no reason not to pick one up because you aren't losing any thing and have everything to gain. There has to be some lose in abilities for going with a non-ToB and, for the most part, it's not an actual lose. Rage, to use an example, is a rather handy ability to have even at the cost of some maneuvers. The extra feats from Fighter will always be helpful, but they're weighed against decreased initiator ability. Tis why I said that they are mostly being regulated to NPC class material, so NPC characters/enemies can be martial threats but a DM doesn't need to spend a half hour figuring out their maneuvers and stances for one NPC.
NPC class < PC class
PHB PC fighting class < ToB PC fighting class
Therefore it is somewhat plausible that:
NPC ToB class + PHB fighting class ~= ToB PC class

Cieyrin
2011-07-02, 10:25 PM
This is looking very promising and I approve wholeheartedly of creating a low magic ToB setting, kinda like a more Wuxia Iron Heroes. Haven't read everything yet (there's so much @_@) but making my way through slowly.

I would like to see more schools/styles defined, as well as maybe a good starting point for a campaign, like a starter town or some such. When you get to it, of course, as I'm sure you're working fairly hard on the fluff as you're able.

As for my personal recommendations, I'd say Sleeping Goddess (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5408276) could be an interesting inclusion, though it's on the extreme end of supernatural as things go. I'd also say to have a look at Oriental Adventures and the 3.5 update in Dragon 318, if you have access, which does have a couple of interesting feats that didn't get updated in Complete Warrior, as well as Martial Art Masteries, which I think could have a strong presence in such a setting, though some reworking could be warranted. I was working on updating and formalizing them, as well as pulling Weapon Styles under their umbrella and I could get back to work if their inclusion would be of interest, especially for creating new Masteries appropriate to the setting.

Them's my 2 coppers. Take as you will. :smallbiggrin:

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-02, 10:37 PM
This is looking very promising and I approve wholeheartedly of creating a low magic ToB setting, kinda like a more Wuxia Iron Heroes. Haven't read everything yet (there's so much @_@) but making my way through slowly.

First, thank you! I appreciate the comments.


I would like to see more schools/styles defined, as well as maybe a good starting point for a campaign, like a starter town or some such. When you get to it, of course, as I'm sure you're working fairly hard on the fluff as you're able.

I'm actually working on some example styles at the moment. Two are already up, Drunken Savant and Playful Phoenix Fist and I'm working on a third but struggling with a name for it. As for a good starting point for a campaign, the only W&W campaign I've run (and it wasn't known as such at the time) used Jueru as a starting point because...well it's meant to be a City of Adventure. There's tons of plot potential in the city and, in theory, an entire campaign could take place in Jueru and the surrounding area.

I'll see about a starter town or some such though, I have a couple of ideas.


As for my personal recommendations, I'd say Sleeping Goddess (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5408276) could be an interesting inclusion, though it's on the extreme end of supernatural as things go. I'd also say to have a look at Oriental Adventures and the 3.5 update in Dragon 318, if you have access, which does have a couple of interesting feats that didn't get updated in Complete Warrior, as well as Martial Art Masteries, which I think could have a strong presence in such a setting, though some reworking could be warranted. I was working on updating and formalizing them, as well as pulling Weapon Styles under their umbrella and I could get back to work if their inclusion would be of interest, especially for creating new Masteries appropriate to the setting.

I looked at Sleeping Goddess (I have it book marked actually!) and considered it for a long time but in the end it felt too supernatural. A DM going for a more supernatural campaign in W&W would likely be able to make use of it, but for the standard setting it's too supernatural to fit in. As is, Kalediscopic Dream and the other guru disciplines are about as supernatural as I think fit right with how I imagine the setting.

Also, I'll check out Dragon 318, the useful kung-fu feats list is sorely under-filled in.

On Martial Arts Masteries, I know of them and I've been tempted to use them in the past for my characters...but my worry is that it creates too much book-keeping. Assuming they stay as is, in that their benefit is determined by what feats you have, then that means there's another option that you need to keep track of, on-top of maneuvers, stances, class abilities, and feats as normal...wait, what sort of MArtial Arts Masteries are you referring to actually? Cause now that I think about it, I'm remembering two different things with very similar names and purposes. Could you clarify please? :smallsmile:


Them's my 2 coppers. Take as you will. :smallbiggrin:

Your coppers are much appreciated, I hope you keep giving them. :smallsmile:

@Prime: Ack! Sorry, I missed your post somehow...


Well, those rules are inferior to the existing item crafting while also requiring more feats to use...

If I learned anything from ToB, it's that if you're a martial adept then you run out of 'must-have-to-be-effective' feats very quickly cause you have manuevers to make up for it. You can afford to spend feats on item enhancement, if for some reason you want your character to fashion items, and not suffer much for that decision.


How were you handling other magic items?

Honestly? I'm not. In a W&W game, items should not define a characters ability or play a significant role in their use. One of the presiding factors in my decisions to do this project was to step away from the 'Christmas Tree' effect of normal D&D. It worked, in the one play-test/game since if there's no magical monsters (will be explained later), mages, and a lot of the other trappings of normal D&D......then there's no need for all the magical items. If the characters DO find a Legacy item (or found their own Legacy item), then it should be a note-worthy effect. Each 'magic' item won't just be '+2 sword number 2,566', it'll be 'Iron Rose, the sword used to slay the leader of Tensei and end a war', assuming they find any in the first place.

In other words, the goal is for the character's abilities to define them, not what items they have. And before you say it, yes there is the small problem of what to do with all that excess gold, which is the reason I found item enhancement rules at all. :smallwink:


Well action points can do a number of things other than add to a roll. The UA version can even grant you temporary feats.

Really? Huh. What version were you referring to then? The UA ones or another kind? I wanna take a good look at them then.


This was just a side-thought. An optional rule for DMs with picky players.

Noted, though personally I'd find it rather peculiar if I told my group 'okay, we're going to be playing in a strictly ToB setting where everyone is a martial adept' and heard one of my players say 'alright, I'll roll up a barbarian then'. xD

elliott20
2011-07-03, 02:32 AM
Let me just say, I LOVE the idea of the emperor being so close divine that he can actually stop up the flow of fresh water. It's got a very Fisher King kind of vibe to it and really substantiates the importance of the Emperor in very very concrete terms.

I think an interest plotline to work in there would be what happens when a
NEW source of fresh water is found. Is this tantamount to treason?

Cieyrin
2011-07-03, 08:06 AM
I'm actually working on some example styles at the moment. Two are already up, Drunken Savant and Playful Phoenix Fist and I'm working on a third but struggling with a name for it. As for a good starting point for a campaign, the only W&W campaign I've run (and it wasn't known as such at the time) used Jueru as a starting point because...well it's meant to be a City of Adventure. There's tons of plot potential in the city and, in theory, an entire campaign could take place in Jueru and the surrounding area.

I'll see about a starter town or some such though, I have a couple of ideas.

As I said, so much to read! @_@ I guess I didn't get quite that far, as I was starting to get glassy eyed when I got to the base classes, the majority I wasn't familiar with besides the Blade Master. Anyways, I'll have a look at Jueru when I get that far.


I looked at Sleeping Goddess (I have it book marked actually!) and considered it for a long time but in the end it felt too supernatural. A DM going for a more supernatural campaign in W&W would likely be able to make use of it, but for the standard setting it's too supernatural to fit in. As is, Kalediscopic Dream and the other guru disciplines are about as supernatural as I think fit right with how I imagine the setting.

Also, I'll check out Dragon 318, the useful kung-fu feats list is sorely under-filled in.

On Martial Arts Masteries, I know of them and I've been tempted to use them in the past for my characters...but my worry is that it creates too much book-keeping. Assuming they stay as is, in that their benefit is determined by what feats you have, then that means there's another option that you need to keep track of, on-top of maneuvers, stances, class abilities, and feats as normal...wait, what sort of MArtial Arts Masteries are you referring to actually? Cause now that I think about it, I'm remembering two different things with very similar names and purposes. Could you clarify please? :smallsmile:

Martial Arts Masteries are the benefit you receive for taking a number of feats and skill ranks that exemplify a specific style of combat. They're usually the equivalent of the capstone of a long feat chain but, having met the prereqs, you get the benefit automatically. I don't think it should take anymore bookkeeping than if you're trying to meet a feat or PrC's prereqs, as basically when you qualify it becomes a virtual feat for you and you can just write it down on your sheet with the benefits. Some Masteries are pretty lame, I'll admit, which is why I initially started the project to update and formalize so that new Masteries can be made fairly easily and match up in power to the most recent Mastery, which showed up in Tome of Magic of all places. If I restart the project and find all my notes and the Dragon that had additional masteries in 'em, I'll let you know, 'kay? :smallwink:

Also, definitely check out Complete Warrior for more martial arts feats, as many of feats in OA were updated there, though not all (Falling Star Strike, I'm looking at you...). Things like Karmic Strike, Defensive Throw, Weakening Touch, Freezing the Lifeblood, etc. all work pretty well for different Hard and Soft Martial Arts. Oh, also check out Sword and Fist, too, for some more obscure martial arts type feats, like Mantis Leap. Again, several got updated in CW but not all.

EDIT: Oh, one final thing: when I was reading through Dancer, I noticed a discrepancy in the action type for activating Bardic Dance. I talked to the creator and he confirmed it should be a swift action to activate, so if you'd like to add that errata for others, that'd be cool, since, well, he can't do that in these forums anymore...>_>;;

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-03, 10:17 AM
As I said, so much to read! @_@ I guess I didn't get quite that far, as I was starting to get glassy eyed when I got to the base classes, the majority I wasn't familiar with besides the Blade Master. Anyways, I'll have a look at Jueru when I get that far.

Well I haven't had TOO much depth put into Jueru depth, I left it very general, so a smaller village that can be fleshed out better might be better anyway.


Martial Arts Masteries are the benefit you receive for taking a number of feats and skill ranks that exemplify a specific style of combat. They're usually the equivalent of the capstone of a long feat chain but, having met the prereqs, you get the benefit automatically. I don't think it should take anymore bookkeeping than if you're trying to meet a feat or PrC's prereqs, as basically when you qualify it becomes a virtual feat for you and you can just write it down on your sheet with the benefits. Some Masteries are pretty lame, I'll admit, which is why I initially started the project to update and formalize so that new Masteries can be made fairly easily and match up in power to the most recent Mastery, which showed up in Tome of Magic of all places. If I restart the project and find all my notes and the Dragon that had additional masteries in 'em, I'll let you know, 'kay? :smallwink:

Okay, we were thinking of the same thing then, good to know! I tell you what, if you restart the project and find all the notes and such then I'll happily take a look at them. I suppose one benefit to that system is that you don't just have to count feats and skill ranks, but you could also have the Martial Arts Masteries check which stances or maneuvers are known as well.


Also, definitely check out Complete Warrior for more martial arts feats, as many of feats in OA were updated there, though not all (Falling Star Strike, I'm looking at you...). Things like Karmic Strike, Defensive Throw, Weakening Touch, Freezing the Lifeblood, etc. all work pretty well for different Hard and Soft Martial Arts. Oh, also check out Sword and Fist, too, for some more obscure martial arts type feats, like Mantis Leap. Again, several got updated in CW but not all.

Regrettably, I haven't had much time to look for new feats to add to that list. I'll try to find some free time to do as much though.


EDIT: Oh, one final thing: when I was reading through Dancer, I noticed a discrepancy in the action type for activating Bardic Dance. I talked to the creator and he confirmed it should be a swift action to activate, so if you'd like to add that errata for others, that'd be cool, since, well, he can't do that in these forums anymore...>_>;;

Ermm..yeah, I should probably errata that.

Jade Dragon
2011-07-03, 07:18 PM
I think you should take out the penalties for legacy items. Honestly, nobody likes legacy items.

Cieyrin
2011-07-03, 07:32 PM
I think you should take out the penalties for legacy items. Honestly, nobody likes legacy items.

Not true, it's not the items that people disapprove of, it's the costs that get exacted. Serpentine's solution is to replace the costs with roleplaying requirements, which I think works fairly well, even if it's kinda White Wolf. It works for Vestiges, so why not?

I rather like the Sling of the Dire Wind, Shishi-O and the Simple Bow, so let's not be making the broad statements of how nobody likes Weapons of Legacy, eh? Let's leave that for Complete Psionic. :smalltongue:

Oh, also, on a different note, Callos, is Mystic Cobra going to be an included discipline or were you gonna stick with Silver Crane? While a nifty discipline, it gives a good bent to Soheis, who aren't all necessarily good as written. I think there are other polearm disciplines out there to select, though the one I'm thinking of I can't for the life of me recall its name...

DracoDei
2011-07-03, 07:37 PM
I think there are other polearm disciplines out there to select, though the one I'm thinking of I can't for the life of me recall its name...
Piercing Point. See link in one of my earlier posts.

Jade Dragon
2011-07-03, 07:38 PM
Not true, it's not the items that people disapprove of, it's the costs that get exacted. Serpentine's solution is to replace the costs with roleplaying requirements, which I think works fairly well, even if it's kinda White Wolf. It works for Vestiges, so why not?

I rather like the Sling of the Dire Wind, Shishi-O and the Simple Bow, so let's not be making the broad statements of how nobody likes Weapons of Legacy, eh? Let's leave that for Complete Psionic. :smalltongue:

Okay then, nobody likes that you both have to spend gold and get penalties that aren't XP costs.

Cieyrin
2011-07-03, 07:49 PM
Piercing Point. See link in one of my earlier posts.

Nah, it was something else, I'm fairly sure, but Age of Warriors isn't listing it or at least a name isn't popping out at me. I'm checking the Libram of Battle now to see if it's possibly there. Otherwise, I have no idea...

Terazul
2011-07-03, 08:58 PM
Okay then, nobody likes that you both have to spend gold and get penalties that aren't XP costs.

Well honestly, the penalties aren't that bad if you're smart about which table you pick. But for those who felt it was too much, in our group we commonly translated the penalties into a flat 10% XP cost. ...Which many would overwrite with a Item Familiar 10% bonus.

Gold-wise though, you have either got to be kidding at me or never have looked at the things.

Consider by 20th level you could get say, an effective +8 Weapon that also gives +5 to two skills and initiative, Immune to Disarm, can be called from 30 ft if you somehow don't have it, You can never be flat-footed as long as it is on your person, gives you Frightful Presence and also Pounce, for only 58,435 GP. And that's not even a well-built one.

A +8 weapon alone would normally cost you 128,000 GP, and that's not including all the extra features or the fact that they're crammed into one slot. Even with penalties, the things are literally a steal.

Jade Dragon
2011-07-03, 09:27 PM
Well honestly, the penalties aren't that bad if you're smart about which table you pick. But for those who felt it was too much, in our group we commonly translated the penalties into a flat 10% XP cost. ...Which many would overwrite with a Item Familiar 10% bonus.

Gold-wise though, you have either got to be kidding at me or never have looked at the things.

Consider by 20th level you could get say, an effective +8 Weapon that also gives +5 to two skills and initiative, Immune to Disarm, can be called from 30 ft if you somehow don't have it, You can never be flat-footed as long as it is on your person, gives you Frightful Presence and also Pounce, for only 58,435 GP. And that's not even a well-built one.

A +8 weapon alone would normally cost you 128,000 GP, and that's not including all the extra features or the fact that they're crammed into one slot. Even with penalties, the things are literally a steal.

I looked through the nine swords, and they are far weaker than that.

Eventide's Edge only gets you a +5 weapon with a +4 on special combat maneuvers, +2d6 damage against large creatures, the baffling defense maneuver or a small bonus to it, the ability to automatically succeed on it 3/day, and the ability to use greater invisibility for 10 rounds twice per day. The price is 52,150 GP, -2 to attacks, -4 to fortitude saves, and -12 HP.

Tiger claw gives you a +1 weapon with 15-20/x4 crit, a pseudo-charge 1/day, can't be disarmed of it, +5 on jump, 1d8 swift action healing 3/day, haste with one round duration 5/day, and +4 to confirm crits. Sure it's great for dealing devastating damage, but it's a +1 weapon with -2 on attack rolls, so you aren't going to hit as often as the guy who had the +5 weapon (almost 1/3 less, actually), and there are crit immune guys like golems and guys with fortification armor.

Prime32
2011-07-03, 09:39 PM
Something else I meant to link: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=168817

ErrantX
2011-07-03, 09:45 PM
Nah, it was something else, I'm fairly sure, but Age of Warriors isn't listing it or at least a name isn't popping out at me. I'm checking the Libram of Battle now to see if it's possibly there. Otherwise, I have no idea...

We've got a quasi-alpha of a mounted combat/spear wielding discipline called Piercing Lance there; but I don't feel its complete.

-X

Terazul
2011-07-03, 09:51 PM
I looked through the nine swords, and they are far weaker than that.

Eventide's Edge only gets you a +5 weapon with a +4 on special combat maneuvers, +2d6 damage against large creatures, the baffling defense maneuver or a small bonus to it, the ability to automatically succeed on it 3/day, and the ability to use greater invisibility for 10 rounds twice per day. The price is 52,150 GP, -2 to attacks, -4 to fortitude saves, and -12 HP.

Tiger claw gives you a +1 weapon with 15-20/x4 crit, a pseudo-charge 1/day, can't be disarmed of it, +5 on jump, 1d8 swift action healing 3/day, haste with one round duration 5/day, and +4 to confirm crits. Sure it's great for dealing devastating damage, but it's a +1 weapon with -2 on attack rolls, so you aren't going to hit as often as the guy who had the +5 weapon (almost 1/3 less, actually), and there are crit immune guys like golems and guys with fortification armor.

Ahh. Fair enough, I'm getting my threads a little mixed up since I'm also discussing WoL somewhere else on the forum :smallredface:. Most as-printed Weapons of Legacy are pretty lackluster, yes. They could use a thorough rebuilding from the ground up.

Cieyrin
2011-07-03, 09:55 PM
I looked through the nine swords, and they are far weaker than that.

Eventide's Edge only gets you a +5 weapon with a +4 on special combat maneuvers, +2d6 damage against large creatures, the baffling defense maneuver or a small bonus to it, the ability to automatically succeed on it 3/day, and the ability to use greater invisibility for 10 rounds twice per day. The price is 52,150 GP, -2 to attacks, -4 to fortitude saves, and -12 HP.

Tiger claw gives you a +1 weapon with 15-20/x4 crit, a pseudo-charge 1/day, can't be disarmed of it, +5 on jump, 1d8 swift action healing 3/day, haste with one round duration 5/day, and +4 to confirm crits. Sure it's great for dealing devastating damage, but it's a +1 weapon with -2 on attack rolls, so you aren't going to hit as often as the guy who had the +5 weapon (almost 1/3 less, actually), and there are crit immune guys like golems and guys with fortification armor.

Like it being +1 matters that much, Greater Magic Weapon solves that just fine. There are exactly 2 reasons you'd want a higher enhancement bonus: 1) If you're after Greater Augment Crystals and putting 'em on your weapon or 2) you actually really need those bonuses to hit, which shouldn't be necessary for Full BABers but may be for Average BABers like swordsages and rogues. Pathfinder throws in a third for a well hidden rule about high enhancement bonus weapons piercing more DR the higher the bonus but that's something else entirely.


We've got a quasi-alpha of a mounted combat/spear wielding discipline called Piercing Lance there; but I don't feel its complete.

-X

Yeah, I don't think that was what I was thinking of, either. I think I may have confused Cthonic (sp?) Serpent as a polearm instead of a whips and chains discipline. Oh well...

EDIT: One final thing before I call it a night. It may be worth looking at Endarire's Stone Dragon Redux, though it maybe best to have it as an optional rule: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=191693

gkathellar
2011-07-04, 04:29 AM
You should check out the sublime classes and other material here. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=192596) Some of it is pretty critical, in my opinion.


Something else I meant to link: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=168817

I'll second these, they're great, but they're also unfinished, and since it looks like Xefas works pretty much exclusively on Exalted now, I doubt they'll end up finished.


EDIT: One final thing before I call it a night. It may be worth looking at Endarire's Stone Dragon Redux, though it maybe best to have it as an optional rule: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=191693

I'll also second this. This Stone Dragon is much more interesting, and has none of the problems of the original.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-04, 08:57 AM
Let me just say, I LOVE the idea of the emperor being so close divine that he can actually stop up the flow of fresh water. It's got a very Fisher King kind of vibe to it and really substantiates the importance of the Emperor in very very concrete terms.

I think an interest plotline to work in there would be what happens when a
NEW source of fresh water is found. Is this tantamount to treason?

Actually, and this will be emphasized in later fluff material, there's going to be some debate on if the Emperor really is divine (and that's how he controls the water) or if it's just machinery or something else equally mundane. One of the over-riding themes is 'does the supernatural exist'? Which supernatural martial arts hint at, but don't give a definitive answer. There's legends and stories about monsters and demons that pre-date the empire, but such creatures haven't been found in the current date and age, so did they ever exist? So on and so forth. :smallsmile: I am also going to leave it up to the individual DM about the truth of the Emperor's divine mandate.


I think you should take out the penalties for legacy items. Honestly, nobody likes legacy items.

See below. :smallwink: I actually quite like Legacy items, as they are even, and used one briefly in a play-by-post game.


Not true, it's not the items that people disapprove of, it's the costs that get exacted. Serpentine's solution is to replace the costs with roleplaying requirements, which I think works fairly well, even if it's kinda White Wolf. It works for Vestiges, so why not?

As hinted above, and as weird as it sounds, I'm actually a big fan of Weapons of Legacy as they are written. That's not to say Serpentine's fix isn't a good idea, it is! Legacy Weapons need some kind of drawback, role-playing or mechanical. I'd leave it up to the DM, if only because I got enough on my plate right now that I can't come up with role-play requirements for every already-made Weapon of Legacy or a table suggesting one. If someone wants to take a crack at it, I'll helpfully give my advice but that's all I can manage at the moment.



Oh, also, on a different note, Callos, is Mystic Cobra going to be an included discipline or were you gonna stick with Silver Crane? While a nifty discipline, it gives a good bent to Soheis, who aren't all necessarily good as written. I think there are other polearm disciplines out there to select, though the one I'm thinking of I can't for the life of me recall its name...

It is, I just haven't gotten around to including it on the discipline list yet cause I haven't had a good chance to sit down and really take a good hard look at it yet. It's worth pointing out though, that no discipline restricts it's user to using that discipline's preferred weapons. There's certainly bonuses (in some cases) for doing so, but it's never required.


Well honestly, the penalties aren't that bad if you're smart about which table you pick. But for those who felt it was too much, in our group we commonly translated the penalties into a flat 10% XP cost. ...Which many would overwrite with a Item Familiar 10% bonus.

Gold-wise though, you have either got to be kidding at me or never have looked at the things.

Consider by 20th level you could get say, an effective +8 Weapon that also gives +5 to two skills and initiative, Immune to Disarm, can be called from 30 ft if you somehow don't have it, You can never be flat-footed as long as it is on your person, gives you Frightful Presence and also Pounce, for only 58,435 GP. And that's not even a well-built one.

A +8 weapon alone would normally cost you 128,000 GP, and that's not including all the extra features or the fact that they're crammed into one slot. Even with penalties, the things are literally a steal.

This, essentially. The ones in Weapons of Legacy and ToB may be a little lack-luster mechanically, but one that is built right can give you awesome bonuses and be a great tool for role-playing, which is why W&W is meant to include Legacy weapons and encourages PCs to found their own Legacies.


Something else I meant to link: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=168817

Ohhh, those are quite intriguing actually. I'm not sure how well they can transport over to W&W based on two things though.

Xefas seems to be using 'balanced against casters' as his measuring stick for how powerful to make the feats which, again, there are no casters. It makes some of his design choices a little dubious.

Second, they aren't finished. This isn't a huge critique mind, but those feats doesn't even cover all of the WotC ToB disciplines, let alone all of the homebrew ones here. If someone wants to continue that project though, I'll gladly look at adding them into W&W cause they look like fun!


You should check out the sublime classes and other material here. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=192596) Some of it is pretty critical, in my opinion.

I'm...not entirely certain what you want me to look at. All of it? Only some of it? How he designed it? I'll admit the Wildheart looks very cool and I'm already thinking about how best to add it into the setting to fill a crucial niche.


I'll also second this. This Stone Dragon is much more interesting, and has none of the problems of the original.

Half of Stone Dragon's 'problems' are resolved by W&W simply not being your standard D&D setting. Being on solid ground (which is why my DMs, and myself, have always ruled it as, not just natural ground) is hardly an impediment when very few people are capable of true flight. I will admit that DM's should seriously consider removing the 'may only move 5-feet per round' clause from some Stone Dragon maneuvers because it just doesn't make sense for them but does for others. Aside from that though...I've never seen a problem with Stone Dragon, it has a great utility appeal to it, especially in a setting where armor equals DR and allows martial adepts to replicate some 'tried and true' wuxia tropes like punching through stone and the like. There's also a reason it's the only discipline available to EVERY class, it lacks a specific kind of flare that other's have. I'll include the link under optional though.

Jade Dragon
2011-07-04, 09:51 AM
Half of Stone Dragon's 'problems' are resolved by W&W simply not being your standard D&D setting. Being on solid ground (which is why my DMs, and myself, have always ruled it as, not just natural ground) is hardly an impediment when very few people are capable of true flight. I will admit that DM's should seriously consider removing the 'may only move 5-feet per round' clause from some Stone Dragon maneuvers because it just doesn't make sense for them but does for others. Aside from that though...I've never seen a problem with Stone Dragon, it has a great utility appeal to it, especially in a setting where armor equals DR and allows martial adepts to replicate some 'tried and true' wuxia tropes like punching through stone and the like. There's also a reason it's the only discipline available to EVERY class, it lacks a specific kind of flare that other's have. I'll include the link under optional though.

Have you seen the X bones maneuvers? Or the ones that allow a fortitude save?

Cieyrin
2011-07-04, 10:32 AM
Have you seen the X bones maneuvers? Or the ones that allow a fortitude save?

Stone Bones works fine at the level you get it at. The later Bones perhaps not so much. I also don't see a problem with the saves, as they're Strength-based, something that's fairly easy to pump even in W&W's low magic setting (Put a high score in it, found a legacy that gives Strength bonus, Blade Meditation, Guru, etc.). It uses the same formula that spells do and it seems like W&W will be mostly humans, so unless there's a large amount of multiclassing or people picking up Great Fortitude, I'm not seeing the major issue for our purposes.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-04, 04:24 PM
What Cieyrin said, essentially. It's been said but it bears repeating that this is not a typical D&D setting. You can't just go and buy cloaks of resistance or rings of protection (or cast their spell equivalents) to boost your saves or AC, you'd have to get class features/feats/maneuvers/stances/counters that do those things. And if you're using up 3+ maneuvers on Diamond Mind's 'replace saves with Concentration checks) maneuvers or ones that boost AC and whatnot, then you're using resources for that cause that could be used for attacking, and vice versa. Someone who spends all their maneuvers on offense and attack won't have any to defend themselves which is just as important when things like magical healing and resurrection aren't around.

It's a key fact to keep in mind.

Also, in the course of creating more diverse equipment, I figured that using special materials is a good route. Does anyone know any good 'mythic' metals of eastern origin beyond 'star-metal'?

Edge
2011-07-04, 04:34 PM
Also, in the course of creating more diverse equipment, I figured that using special materials is a good route. Does anyone know any good 'mythic' metals of eastern origin beyond 'star-metal'?

Damascus steel isn't far enough East for what you're thinking of, but maybe having something similar be imported from a mysterious nation far to the West of the Empire?

Interesting setting you've got here, Callos. Consider my interest piqued, if not captured.:smallsmile:

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-04, 05:19 PM
Damascus steel isn't far enough East for what you're thinking of, but maybe having something similar be imported from a mysterious nation far to the West of the Empire?

Interesting setting you've got here, Callos. Consider my interest piqued, if not captured.:smallsmile:

Thanks for the idea, it'd certainly make for at least one possible material. And I hope you like what you see, or even contribute Edge!


Calling all readers: I'm starting a collection of example NPCs in the setting, whom I'm also going to weave into W&W's history and fluff. So if you have an NPC idea you want to pitch, then just let it fly!

Burnheart
2011-07-04, 06:57 PM
This looks awesome and something i'd definitely want to play in well done :smallsmile: I'd like to see a gun toting swashbuckler who is a pirate captain but thats just me :smallbiggrin:

gkathellar
2011-07-04, 07:19 PM
Also, in the course of creating more diverse equipment, I figured that using special materials is a good route. Does anyone know any good 'mythic' metals of eastern origin beyond 'star-metal'?

If I'm recalling my Journey to the West correctly, golden armaments aren't out of the question — I think it and jade are supposed to lack an elemental nature. Jade, of course, is awesome, so I would go with that.

Otherwise ... pearl. Lustrous suits of pearl armor and gleaming pearl swords would be pretty great, and they have the right image to boot. And silver, possibly? The Chinese placed an extraordinarily high value on silver, to the point that silk road traders could make a profit by exploiting the exchange rates for gold and silver at either end of the trade route.

Still, I'd not stress out over cool materials too much. East-Asian cultures generally assumed a great sword was the result of its sometimes-divine-smith, not its metal content (especially in Japan, where the metal wasn't very good). There's also a tremendous focus on the value of antiquity in these cultures — anything worth doing is something the ancients did, so the greatest smiths are long-dead and their forging techniques have been lost.

Cieyrin
2011-07-04, 07:20 PM
Also, in the course of creating more diverse equipment, I figured that using special materials is a good route. Does anyone know any good 'mythic' metals of eastern origin beyond 'star-metal'?

Do you just mean metals or would you be conducive to other materials, like minerals and woods? There are a good many martial arts weapons that use wood, which is why I ask. I could see Dark and Bronze Wood being of interest. Mineral-wise, I've always been partial to Obsidian. A lot of materials are planar fantastical but I could see refluffing them for the setting, like Ysgardian Heartwire, Baatorian Green Steel and Gehennan Morghuth Iron. Green Steel could become Jade Steel and Gehennan Iron could become Bleeding Iron.

Jade Dragon
2011-07-04, 07:32 PM
Also, in the course of creating more diverse equipment, I figured that using special materials is a good route. Does anyone know any good 'mythic' metals of eastern origin beyond 'star-metal'?

Adamantine comes from fallen stars, according to PF (maybe 3.5 too, it's a shame the SRD doesn't include fluff) and if you're willing to take from books, Redwall too (in Mossflower, lord Boar forged Martin's sword from super hard metal that came from a meteor).

DracoDei
2011-07-04, 10:55 PM
Just occurred to me...
Have you looked at my Sublime Form Master (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/printthread.php?t=137256) and/or True Master of Nine (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=121583)? They are pretty fluff-free, so should adapt to any setting well.

Prime32
2011-07-05, 09:29 AM
For special materials, I would suggest iron from spiritually active regions which counts as ghost touch. Maybe a quarterstaff made from a tree that grew at the scene of a massacre would count as evil.


What Cieyrin said, essentially. It's been said but it bears repeating that this is not a typical D&D setting. You can't just go and buy cloaks of resistance or rings of protection (or cast their spell equivalents) to boost your saves or AC, you'd have to get class features/feats/maneuvers/stances/counters that do those things.Well those maneuvers stack with the effects of the items, and boosting yourself from poor to mediocre isn't as worth it as mediocre to good. When you fight monsters (fluffed as burly humans?) who don't rely so much on items you'll end up below par.

I'd suggest the following:
+1 bonus to all ability scores per 4 levels (push the normal ability increases back so they start at lv2 rather than lv4)
+1 bonus to skill checks per 3 levels
+1 bonus to saves per 4 levels (AC is covered by defence bonus)
Any weapons you use become +1 per 4 levels, including natural weapons (otherwise DR/magic becomes the most powerful DR despite being the cheapest)

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-05, 10:07 AM
Well those maneuvers stack with the effects of the items, and boosting yourself from poor to mediocre isn't as worth it as mediocre to good. When you fight monsters (fluffed as burly humans?) who don't rely so much on items you'll end up below par.

I'd suggest the following:
+1 bonus to all ability scores per 4 levels (push the normal ability increases back so they start at lv2 rather than lv4)
+1 bonus to skill checks per 3 levels
+1 bonus to saves per 4 levels (AC is covered by defence bonus)
Any weapons you use become +1 per 4 levels, including natural weapons (otherwise DR/magic becomes the most powerful DR despite being the cheapest)

What monsters? :smallconfused: I mean, a DM could very well decide to add monsters or refluff monsters as exceptional humans but that's the exception not the rule, the standard assumption for W&W is that your primary opponents are other human beings or dangerous animals. Legendary animals might appear now and then, but without magic items and no literal monsters, you don't need to be buffed to the extreme and back just to keep up. You need to keep up with other martial artists of a similar level (which relies on their maneuvers and whatnot more then equipment, and even then most NPCs are built with NPC wealth by level, not PC wealth by level which will put them behind PCs), hordes of mooks, or the occasional violent wild animal/legendary animal, not aberrations, dragons, outsiders, elementals, constructs, undead, etc. which don't exist for the large part.

I'll have to check again, but I don't believe many (if any) maneuvers give DR/magic (Stone Dragon gives DR/adamantine I know) and the most common DR well actually be from armor which can't be bypassed (except by Stone Dragon) anyway.

gkathellar
2011-07-05, 10:07 AM
Huh ... this just occurred to me: what if learning maneuvers is what gives you most of the bonuses you would normally get from items?

Each discipline could have a set of associated bonuses, where if you knew X number of maneuvers from the discipline you would receive X scaling, passive bonuses. A character really specialized in one discipline will have some really standout stats and some mediocre ones, while flirting with a whole group of disciplines will give you a better-rounded bonus set.

Of course, pretty much everything would pump attack and AC, and then one or two saves. I'm not sure that this should provide anything other than numbers, though, since that may step too much on the territory of stances. But as far as numbers go, I think this would be a cool way to get them in there.

This also fits with the idea of self-cultivation and gongfu so key to Chinese martial arts: what you learn doesn't just change what you can do, but also fundamentally changes who you are.

Cieyrin
2011-07-05, 10:24 AM
Huh ... this just occurred to me: what if learning maneuvers is what gives you most of the bonuses you would normally get from items?

Each discipline could have a set of associated bonuses, where if you knew X number of maneuvers from the discipline you would receive X scaling, passive bonuses. A character really specialized in one discipline will have some really standout stats and some mediocre ones, while flirting with a whole group of disciplines will give you a better-rounded bonus set.

Of course, pretty much everything would pump attack and AC, and then one or two saves. I'm not sure that this should provide anything other than numbers, though, since that may step too much on the territory of stances. But as far as numbers go, I think this would be a cool way to get them in there.

This also fits with the idea of self-cultivation and gongfu so key to Chinese martial arts: what you learn doesn't just change what you can do, but also fundamentally changes who you are.

What you're describing is kind of what the Blademaster class does, though you only get the one discipline when you enter Blademaster that you focus on.

Prime32
2011-07-05, 12:00 PM
What monsters? :smallconfused: I mean, a DM could very well decide to add monsters or refluff monsters as exceptional humans but that's the exception not the rule, the standard assumption for W&W is that your primary opponents are other human beings or dangerous animals. Legendary animals might appear now and then, but without magic items and no literal monsters, you don't need to be buffed to the extreme and back just to keep up. You need to keep up with other martial artists of a similar level (which relies on their maneuvers and whatnot more then equipment, and even then most NPCs are built with NPC wealth by level, not PC wealth by level which will put them behind PCs), hordes of mooks, or the occasional violent wild animal/legendary animal, not aberrations, dragons, outsiders, elementals, constructs, undead, etc. which don't exist for the large part.Well, NPCs with class levels take a lot longer to stat up; it's easier on the DM. And by monsters, I meant even things like bugbears (which would still probably have class levels). The default assumption for human-only campaigns as given in the DMG is that you just fluff everything as human (elf = graceful human, halfling = child).

elliott20
2011-07-05, 04:05 PM
It's that or having to writing up new stat blocks for all the NPCs.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-05, 07:47 PM
Well, NPCs with class levels take a lot longer to stat up; it's easier on the DM. And by monsters, I meant even things like bugbears (which would still probably have class levels). The default assumption for human-only campaigns as given in the DMG is that you just fluff everything as human (elf = graceful human, halfling = child).

I didn't even know the DMG had an example of a human only campaign. In any case, when I said human-only I literally mean, human only. With possible regional variants if I can work out how to make it work.

And statting up NPCs is a couple button presses away. (http://www.myth-weavers.com/generate_npc.php?) Barring ToB-style NPCs, which is why I mentioned that fighter, barbarian, etc. are NPC classes rather then normally a PC one. Aside from that, you can only refluff monsters so far and still have it fit the setting especially since monstrous humanoids don't go that far in CR and you'll need to give them class levels anyway.

EDIT: I see where you're coming from, and it would be easier to refluff various monsters and creatures as unusual humans, but that goes against the aesthetic I'm trying to build. A person's success isn't born of being of a different 'breed' of human or inherited wealth/status in W&W (though the second could help), but of what they accomplish for themselves.

elliott20
2011-07-05, 08:12 PM
Basically, the "race" field will always be human in this game. That's fine, actually, (I personally have always leaned towards human only games myself) but in that case, I think what you should do then is stat out some stock characters for DMs to use. i.e. a stat block for your average farmer, child, etc.

Most of the time, the only stats you'll need will be highest total skill modifier, CHA stat, and maybe an alignment.

But you can also just stat out your average soldier as a monster style block, and maybe even some standard mob style initiators. i.e. say you want to create a clan called the White Bone Clan, and you barring the top 3-5 characters in that organization, you have basically 3 stock character types, novice, warrior, instructor. (The masters always get a full sheet) If you can include info like that in the fold, it'll make using the book a lot easier.

Prime32
2011-07-05, 08:34 PM
I didn't even know the DMG had an example of a human only campaign.It was a Robin Hood campaign.


In any case, when I said human-only I literally mean, human only. With possible regional variants if I can work out how to make it work.Would you be averse to a 1st-level-only feat which grants +2 Dex/-2 Con, various perception bonuses, and removes your extra skill point? Because that's the same thing. Besides, you're then removing classes like Eternal Blade and Deepstone Sentinel from the game.


EDIT: I see where you're coming from, and it would be easier to refluff various monsters and creatures as unusual humans, but that goes against the aesthetic I'm trying to build. A person's success isn't born of being of a different 'breed' of human or inherited wealth/status in W&W (though the second could help), but of what they accomplish for themselves.Why would using monsters require that? :smallconfused: You see plenty of one-shot enemies who have a "gimmick" like incredible strength (which can come from training) or being so fat it acts like armor. This also seems like a good way to introduce someone with an ambiguously magical ability without having to go for a caster with dozens of them. Heck, you could explain undead/constructs as guys using a weird drug which messes up their physiology (though Devoted Spirit doesn't use positive energy, so the negative energy thing probably wouldn't come up). Outsiders are contemplative monks, since contemplatives and monks are eventually outsiders.

Othniel Edden
2011-07-05, 09:28 PM
So lets say my concept for this setting is that I want to build Cao Cao, what might that look like?

Jade Dragon
2011-07-05, 09:33 PM
Would you be averse to a 1st-level-only feat which grants +2 Dex/-2 Con, various perception bonuses, and removes your extra skill point? Because that's the same thing. Besides, you're then removing classes like Eternal Blade and Deepstone Sentinel from the game.

Step 1. Take stupid racial requirements for PrCs that only serve for fluff out.
Step 2. ????
Step 3. Profit!

Cieyrin
2011-07-05, 10:23 PM
Would you be averse to a 1st-level-only feat which grants +2 Dex/-2 Con, various perception bonuses, and removes your extra skill point? Because that's the same thing. Besides, you're then removing classes like Eternal Blade and Deepstone Sentinel from the game.

What you're suggesting is exactly what Iron Heroes did, actually. Every character gets 2 traits to differentiate them from everybody else. Things like Stat changes, Powerful Build, Small size, etc. They removed the extra skill point but left the bonus feat in place and there are background traits that can get you the extra skill point back. IH's traits are OGL, too, though I can't find them listed online, so you'd have to have the books yourself.

Prime32
2011-07-06, 08:56 AM
Oh, and another link if it's helpful
http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=11718

Salbazier
2011-07-06, 09:02 AM
I had a question: How you handle healing? I honestly don't know how much using natural healing only will affect the campaign. I've only heard concern that it is too slow for an adventuring party need. I'd suggest looking for alternate rules that allows for creation of items to aid healing (but not at the level of potions), like alchemy or herbalism. Midnight Campaign setting has them. Its OGL so I can reproduce it for you if you want to know. Alternately, consider class like this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134139&highlight=doctor)or this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=187927)that can heal without being reliant on magic. While an abundace of these class may break the theme, medical expert archetype (acupunture, various unique poison) is not uncommon in Wuxia genre, so they are not completely out of place.

Cieyrin
2011-07-06, 11:17 AM
I had a question: How you handle healing? I honestly don't know how much using natural healing only will affect the campaign. I've only heard concern that it is too slow for an adventuring party need. I'd suggest looking for alternate rules that allows for creation of items to aid healing (but not at the level of potions), like alchemy or herbalism. Midnight Campaign setting has them. Its OGL so I can reproduce it for you if you want to know. Alternately, consider class like this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134139&highlight=doctor)or this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=187927)that can heal without being reliant on magic. While an abundace of these class may break the theme, medical expert archetype (acupunture, various unique poison) is not uncommon in Wuxia genre, so they are not completely out of place.

A fairly easy solution that I've used in the past is to have Reserve Points (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/reservePoints.htm) in effect, which has the dual effect of allowing healing without magic and extending the amount of combat that can be done before having to bandage up and rest so that your wounds can recover. It also gives the setting a grittiness which I think helps set it apart, as you'll force the PCs to think about whether they should fight instead of killing everything that moves, always a good thing in my book.

Without making further alterations, at the very least Devoted Spirit can provide a bit of healing via Martial Spirit and other maneuvers. It may even make Vital Recovery (http://realmshelps.net/cgi-bin/featbox.pl?feat=Vital_Recovery) actually viable.

Prime32
2011-07-06, 04:14 PM
It also gives the setting a grittiness which I think helps set it apart, as you'll force the PCs to think about whether they should fight instead of killing everything that moves, always a good thing in my book.Is wuxia supposed to be gritty? :smallconfused:

You could try dividing hp evenly into two pools. The first is a buffer which heals rapidly while out of combat, while the latter can only be restored by bed rest. The second pool is damaged only by critical hits or when the first pool runs out.

This lets you move away from the 4 encounters per day structure (which ToB already helps with) and let the PCs fight a series of 10 bosses as easily as one boss. If someone does get badly wounded though, it's significant.

gkathellar
2011-07-06, 04:34 PM
Just for the author's reference, since I don't think it's been mentioned yet, the actual name of the skillset behind all this flying and impossible jumping and whatnot you see in wuxia is qinggong, or "light-body skill." (A lot of real qinggong is basically the same as parkour.)


Is wuxia supposed to be gritty? :smallconfused:

That really depends on the era of wuxia you're talking about, and how broadly you define the genre. I mean, One-Armed Swordsman is wuxia in my book, but nobody flies around and it's extraordinarily violent. There is some of this kind of violent wuxia with more magical gongfu and heavy qinggong, but its rarer. Still, even in such high-fantasy gems as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, bear in mind that when someone actually does take a hit with a weapon they get injured really badly.

Cieyrin
2011-07-06, 07:49 PM
As gkalthellar said, there are different varieties of wuxia and it depends on what we're going for and how realistic and lethal do we want combat to be. What you just described, Prime32, is a fusion of the Vitality and Wounds Points (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/vitalityAndWoundPoints.htm) system and the Reserve Points system. You have Vitality, which is recovered by Reserve Points between combats as you catch your breath and readjust your armor, and Wounds are where that lucky strike gets through your guard and stabs you in the kidney or when you're exhausted and barely able to defend yourself.

Also, what's wrong with having PCs think with more than their sword? Yeah, there's lots of over-the-top fighting but that hardly means that should be the only thing. Wuxia, at least to me, means having extraordinary skills as well and a knowledge of the capacity of your strength. For example, you're after a criminal that has kidnapped a goodly magistrate and has disguised himself as the magistrate and is on his estate. You don't necessarily want to maim all his guards, who think they're serving their lord honorably and defending him with their lives. You'd want to circumvent them or distract them from their duties.

Yeah, in a wuxia game you want to show yourself as bad ass but that doesn't mean you should beat the snot out of everyone that catches your ire (unless that's your schtick and then, by all means, go ahead, I just hope you can back it up, as your career be rather short if it is not).

elliott20
2011-07-06, 09:09 PM
So lets say my concept for this setting is that I want to build Cao Cao, what might that look like?

Cao Cao probably has maybe 2 levels of Warlord (he started his career as a military officer), and maybe 3-6 levels of aristocrat. Really, Cao Cao was less warrior and more magistrate.

But he also doesn't really fit into this setting. Romance of the Three Kingdoms has some elements of the fantastic, but it's main stay is not martial arts kungfu action, rather politics and warfare. Now, if you're talking Cao Cao as in the goofy dynasty warriors incarnation, that's different.

As for the whole grittiness, remember that in MOST Wuxia, usually fights are ended with a single decisive blow. ToB, to a great extent, already allows for this because of the massively increased damage output potential off a single standard action (without relying on an ubercharger build, that is). Adding this system will make it even deadlier, which can vastly increase the importance of defensive maneuvers. (and any armor that has the fortification enchantment would be worth a fortune) Since you're adding the defense bonus into the mix, it actually will help make it too fatalistic.

Othniel Edden
2011-07-07, 02:18 AM
Yeah, but I like the political side of the Chinese, I find it to be as fascinating as the martial side. More to the point I wanted to create a character with Cao Cao's disposition, talents, tactics and desire, but not necessarily his position.

elliott20
2011-07-07, 07:08 AM
Yeah, but I like the political side of the Chinese, I find it to be as fascinating as the martial side. More to the point I wanted to create a character with Cao Cao's disposition, talents, tactics and desire, but not necessarily his position.

If the politics is your thing, D&D is the LAST system you want to try it in. Burning Wheel would be better for that.

Still, re: Cao Cao as a D&D character...

That is highly dependent upon what reading you go with. But really his main talents are high mental stats (with CHA and INT possibly being the highest), probably a rogue, in fact, and a little bit of a martial class for the military training. His alignment? Again, depends. He ranges anywhere from LN anti-hero to CE villain.

Cieyrin
2011-07-07, 07:29 AM
Oh, something just came to mind that should probably be cleared up: Master of Nine. With so many disciplines and MoN supposedly having access to all, how, exactly, is it supposed to work in this setting? Do we decide which 9-10 disciplines you get as a MoN or do we truly get access to all ~20 disciplines that are in the setting? It just sounds a bit like power creep to me, especially with the last ability of the MoN.

Burnheart
2011-07-07, 07:34 AM
You could replace the Master of Nine with another PrC that fits the world better though that would be quite a lot of work.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-07, 08:00 AM
So lets say my concept for this setting is that I want to build Cao Cao, what might that look like?

That depends, are we talking Romance of the Three Kingdoms Cao Cao, Dynasty Warriors Cao Cao, or Dynasty Orochi Cao Cao? ...There's a difference, I swear!


Oh, and another link if it's helpful
http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=11718

It certainly is interesting, but I'm not sure how I can use it until I find a good ToB monk to use..


I had a question: How you handle healing? I honestly don't know how much using natural healing only will affect the campaign. I've only heard concern that it is too slow for an adventuring party need. I'd suggest looking for alternate rules that allows for creation of items to aid healing (but not at the level of potions), like alchemy or herbalism. Midnight Campaign setting has them. Its OGL so I can reproduce it for you if you want to know. Alternately, consider class like this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134139&highlight=doctor)or this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=187927)that can heal without being reliant on magic. While an abundace of these class may break the theme, medical expert archetype (acupunture, various unique poison) is not uncommon in Wuxia genre, so they are not completely out of place.

This is a rather important question and one I've been thinking about a lot. I certainly intend to figure out some home-brew/third-party alchemy/herbalism rules which I already have some good leads on that can augment the natural healing process if used properly (or kill some one if used improperly, a surprisingly large amount of medicine can kill someone in large doses). And, like you'd said, various aspects of the 'medical expert' archetype is not uncommon in wuxia. It's worth pointing out though that you can go miles in such an archtype using the Blood Sage and Viper Fang disciplines, though more could be done to help that concept along.

Also, and I'll have to double check, but Devoted Spirit (obviously) and a few Blood Sage techniques can help keep someone alive either by direct healing or by enhancing Heal checks.

Stuff on Healing:

A fairly easy solution that I've used in the past is to have Reserve Points (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/reservePoints.htm) in effect, which has the dual effect of allowing healing without magic and extending the amount of combat that can be done before having to bandage up and rest so that your wounds can recover. It also gives the setting a grittiness which I think helps set it apart, as you'll force the PCs to think about whether they should fight instead of killing everything that moves, always a good thing in my book.

Without making further alterations, at the very least Devoted Spirit can provide a bit of healing via Martial Spirit and other maneuvers. It may even make Vital Recovery (http://realmshelps.net/cgi-bin/featbox.pl?feat=Vital_Recovery) actually viable.


As gkalthellar said, there are different varieties of wuxia and it depends on what we're going for and how realistic and lethal do we want combat to be. What you just described, Prime32, is a fusion of the Vitality and Wounds Points (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/vitalityAndWoundPoints.htm) system and the Reserve Points system. You have Vitality, which is recovered by Reserve Points between combats as you catch your breath and readjust your armor, and Wounds are where that lucky strike gets through your guard and stabs you in the kidney or when you're exhausted and barely able to defend yourself.

Also, what's wrong with having PCs think with more than their sword? Yeah, there's lots of over-the-top fighting but that hardly means that should be the only thing. Wuxia, at least to me, means having extraordinary skills as well and a knowledge of the capacity of your strength. For example, you're after a criminal that has kidnapped a goodly magistrate and has disguised himself as the magistrate and is on his estate. You don't necessarily want to maim all his guards, who think they're serving their lord honorably and defending him with their lives. You'd want to circumvent them or distract them from their duties.

Yeah, in a wuxia game you want to show yourself as bad ass but that doesn't mean you should beat the snot out of everyone that catches your ire (unless that's your schtick and then, by all means, go ahead, I just hope you can back it up, as your career be rather short if it is not).


As for the whole grittiness, remember that in MOST Wuxia, usually fights are ended with a single decisive blow. ToB, to a great extent, already allows for this because of the massively increased damage output potential off a single standard action (without relying on an ubercharger build, that is). Adding this system will make it even deadlier, which can vastly increase the importance of defensive maneuvers. (and any armor that has the fortification enchantment would be worth a fortune) Since you're adding the defense bonus into the mix, it actually will help make it too fatalistic.[/QUOTE]

I've looked over some of the options suggested and while I certainly like Reserve points and Wound/Injury points, I don't think the later would work very well in a W&W game. Critical hits might be reduced in intensity since they go right to wounds, but most people aren't going to have an exceptionally high Wound total in the first place and a good Strike (note: actual strike and a martial adept strike both) could kill a player/NPC outright. I want to allow some turnaround for upsets between different leveled foes (it's why I'm using Stunting), but not THAT much of an upset chance. Higher levels become somewhat less meaningful if you're still afraid of someone 5-10 levels lowers getting a critical hit and laying you out despite all your advanced experience and training.

Reserve Points has serious potential, but I'm wondering if it might be a double-edged sword in this case. Without an abundance of magical healing, you may be back up to fighting form in a half-hour or so, but afterwards you're going to need just as long to recover as normal, or twice that to replenish your reserve points as well. You essentially turn a rest to restore say...63 hit points to a long enough rest to restore 126 hit points for a SERIOUS fight.

Ultimately, I'm not looking to make the setting particularly gritty in mechanics (that should be a function of the setting and fluff) because, at the end of the day, the PCs should be legendary figures and need to be capable of acting and feeling like one. On the other hand, I want to encourage DM and PCs alike to foster situations where they pick and choose their battles carefully. Needing 4+ days to fully recover from a difficult fight can be just as much a deterrent as actual death to many players, especially if they're on the clock to stop some dastardly plot since a fight that goes wrong could force the PCs to enter into tougher fights at less then maximium hit points (which is it's own wuxia trope but still...), but that doesn't make just relying on the normal Heal skill with the occasional boost from someone playing a character with access to Devoted Spirit/Blood Sage an ideal solution either.

As it stands right now, without adding any more variant rules, PCs are only going to charge into a fight if they're certain the enemy is weaker then themselves a.k.a mooks (as they should!) or if they're fairly certain they can bypass any bodyguards or protections their enemy might have to get at them directly which is kinda what I'm aiming for, you have to pick which fights to fight and which to go around carefully, but it leaves very little wiggle room for failure which is a bad thing. I'll think on it some more, but right now I'm thinking that adding Reserve points and some herbal/alchemical ways to boost healing are the way to go.


Cao Cao probably has maybe 2 levels of Warlord (he started his career as a military officer), and maybe 3-6 levels of aristocrat. Really, Cao Cao was less warrior and more magistrate.

But he also doesn't really fit into this setting. Romance of the Three Kingdoms has some elements of the fantastic, but it's main stay is not martial arts kungfu action, rather politics and warfare. Now, if you're talking Cao Cao as in the goofy dynasty warriors incarnation, that's different.


If the politics is your thing, D&D is the LAST system you want to try it in. Burning Wheel would be better for that.

Still, re: Cao Cao as a D&D character...

That is highly dependent upon what reading you go with. But really his main talents are high mental stats (with CHA and INT possibly being the highest), probably a rogue, in fact, and a little bit of a martial class for the military training. His alignment? Again, depends. He ranges anywhere from LN anti-hero to CE villain.

Goofy? Goofy? That man is a terror in half of those games, I would know. :smalltongue: But, like I mentioned, and elliot20 mentioned, it depends on which version of Cao Cao you want. The politics are already there in the setting, all it takes is for the DM to make the plots of petty warlords, the Seasonal and Imperial Courts, and the various governors and lords the focus of the campaign which can happen easy, even in a wuxia game.

On the MoN: The simplest solution is to make it true to it's name. It's the master of nine discplines, the only reason ToB mentions they are the masters of all disciplines is because Wizards only made 9. Still, having access to 9 disciplines at once is still a very powerful reason to become a master of the nine considering a strong case could be made for the DM allowing the player to pick which disciplines they get to have.

Cieyrin
2011-07-07, 09:39 AM
On the Reserve Point system double-edged sword bit:
Characters naturally regain lost reserve points at the same rate that they naturally heal lost hit points.

Basically, when you stop to rest, HP and RP are both restored, it's not just a single rate, so there wouldn't be extra downtime as you restore both pools. The clause on magical healing is just saying you don't get double healing, as that'd be silly.

Something else that could be useful is to steal Treat Deadly Wounds task for the Heal skill from Pathfinder (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/skills/heal). It'd give immediate curing when needed, which can be useful.

Final bit to consider is Faster Healing (http://www.realmshelps.net/cgi-bin/featbox.pl?feat=Faster_Healing), which may be helpful for those who want to make rapid recoveries without using Martial Spirit to beat on trees or other such nonsense. One note, though, is apparently Realms Helps doesn't have the errata applied, so I made a quick table (https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?hl=en_US&hl=en_US&key=tCmlnERQsQwA0BjbKXLbg6Q#gid=0) up on GoogleDocs with the errata applied, my own personal piece of errata that's in the rules due to me, I may add. :smallcool:[\egostroking]

Partysan
2011-07-08, 12:49 AM
Regarding the project: I very much approve!

Regarding the Defense Bonus: I don't really get why Blademasters and Warblades would be worse at defending themselves than a Warlord who is more of a commander than a fighter type. What's your reasoning behind the distribution of those?

Regarding Weapons of Legacy: There's costs that make sense and cost that doesn't. While it's true that self-built WoL can be very powerful that's often because they allow warrior types access to magic which is a point that becomes moot in a low-magic setting like yours. Additionally while I can get behind sacrificing HP or skill points to a weapon (it's fueled by your life force or you need to study it etc.) I can't accept attack penalties. Why would you use a weapon that actively makes you worse at fighting, and why would a weapon ever do that in the first place? Granted, most weapons offer an enhancement bonus to balance it out, but that's still a significant disadvantage AND doesn't make any sense to me at all.7

More to follow...

elliott20
2011-07-08, 04:44 AM
Regarding Weapons of Legacy: There's costs that make sense and cost that doesn't. While it's true that self-built WoL can be very powerful that's often because they allow warrior types access to magic which is a point that becomes moot in a low-magic setting like yours. Additionally while I can get behind sacrificing HP or skill points to a weapon (it's fueled by your life force or you need to study it etc.) I can't accept attack penalties. Why would you use a weapon that actively makes you worse at fighting, and why would a weapon ever do that in the first place? Granted, most weapons offer an enhancement bonus to balance it out, but that's still a significant disadvantage AND doesn't make any sense to me at all.7

More to follow...
The reasons listed here are the reasons that one person in the Age of Warrior project suggested that we re-write the original 9 WoLs so that they are not useless. I was certain that somebody has already done that, but cannot for the life of me figure out where to find them.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-08, 08:16 AM
Regarding the project: I very much approve!

Regarding the Defense Bonus: I don't really get why Blademasters and Warblades would be worse at defending themselves than a Warlord who is more of a commander than a fighter type. What's your reasoning behind the distribution of those?

Simplest explanation? Warlords get heavy armor, blade masters and warblades don't, which determines who goes where on that chart.

Longer explanation? A warlord is likely to become a very important figure in a party, they guide the groups tactics, enable their allies to fight better (which can possibly turn a group who's abilities don't mesh well normally into one that is fairly decent, OOC, allowing for greater range of possible characters), and so on. They are important and train with the heaviest armor so that they are harder to hit/kill. A warlord dying could send his allies into disarray as they try to compensate for the sudden lose, so they do their best not to.

Blade masters could, in theory, get a higher defense bonus and still be justified since they could have defensive disciplines/style, but I think those styles and disciplines could account nicely for that.

Warblades are much more offense focused then a warlord, at least in regards to one-on-one combat. They sacrifice some defensive capability for greater offensive ability. That's the long explanation. XD

Partysan
2011-07-08, 09:05 AM
The reasons listed here are the reasons that one person in the Age of Warrior project suggested that we re-write the original 9 WoLs so that they are not useless. I was certain that somebody has already done that, but cannot for the life of me figure out where to find them.
The main reason for me commenting on those is Callos saying she/he/xe likes them as written and I offered my counterpoint to that.


Simplest explanation? Warlords get heavy armor, blade masters and warblades don't, which determines who goes where on that chart.

Longer explanation? A warlord is likely to become a very important figure in a party, they guide the groups tactics, enable their allies to fight better (which can possibly turn a group who's abilities don't mesh well normally into one that is fairly decent, OOC, allowing for greater range of possible characters), and so on. They are important and train with the heaviest armor so that they are harder to hit/kill. A warlord dying could send his allies into disarray as they try to compensate for the sudden lose, so they do their best not to.

Blade masters could, in theory, get a higher defense bonus and still be justified since they could have defensive disciplines/style, but I think those styles and disciplines could account nicely for that.

Warblades are much more offense focused then a warlord, at least in regards to one-on-one combat. They sacrifice some defensive capability for greater offensive ability. That's the long explanation. XD
So I guess this is a bit of gamism vs simulationism. From a balancing viewpoint you're right. However coming at a everisimilitude angle I'd say that especially those who wear lighter armor are more adept at defending themselves from being hit (AC) because they can't soak as much damage (DR, in that case through armor). That way the Warlord would have highDR/midAC and the Blademaster or Warblade highAC/midDR.
But I understand where you're coming from.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-08, 09:46 AM
The main reason for me commenting on those is Callos saying she/he/xe likes them as written and I offered my counterpoint to that.

Tis a good counter-point but I see some faint reason behind things like 'weapon that makes it harder to hit'. Not particularly 'good' reasoning but reasoning. That being if you have a powerful artifact-lite item like a Weapon of Legacy that has costs associated to it to balance out the cost and what not of it, then that balancing cost goes out the window if the penalty doesn't apply. It's similar to the problem of people choosing flaws that never impact their characters (like a spellcaster taking a penalty to melee attacks for an extra feat), the power-up becomes more of a straight gain if the penalty can just be ignored. It might as well not have a penalty in the first place.

For in-game rationale why a weapon might give an attack penalty? Well, it makes sense for 'magic-staff' type Legacy items meant for spellcasters I suppose. For swords in the like...hrmm...The best rationale I can give is that a warrior loses touch with their roots for a greater connection to the meta-physical (magic/psionics/chi/whatever)? Yeah, I got nothing. :smalltongue: Makes for somewhat decent balance though.


So I guess this is a bit of gamism vs simulationism. From a balancing viewpoint you're right. However coming at a verisimilitude angle I'd say that especially those who wear lighter armor are more adept at defending themselves from being hit (AC) because they can't soak as much damage (DR, in that case through armor). That way the Warlord would have highDR/midAC and the Blademaster or Warblade highAC/midDR.
But I understand where you're coming from.

Well, in a normal game where it was just the class bonus to defense (and not Armor as DR, which I wouldn't advise cause the two rules seem meant to be used together), it'd make a little more sense. You're not just dodging an attack, you're directing it towards your armor to be deflected off harmlessly. That still kinda makes sense when using both rules at once, when you look at it that the classes that wear lighter armor have access to more disciplines that help with evading attacks, parrying, and avoiding blows entirely.

Another way to look at it would be that the Warlord gets highDR/highAC because a miss for a warlord (or any other class on that part of the table) is their armor absorbing the hit entirely (which it might do anyway on a hit, though not as often).

It's mostly gamism vs simulationism though.

Partysan
2011-07-08, 01:43 PM
I like the concept of schools you introduce. Will you make more of them? Or shall we?
And seeing as there are quite a few homebrew disciplines in play I think it would be immensely helpful to write up a table to show which class when how and what for can get access to which discipline.


Tis a good counter-point but I see some faint reason behind things like 'weapon that makes it harder to hit'. Not particularly 'good' reasoning but reasoning. That being if you have a powerful artifact-lite item like a Weapon of Legacy that has costs associated to it to balance out the cost and what not of it, then that balancing cost goes out the window if the penalty doesn't apply. It's similar to the problem of people choosing flaws that never impact their characters (like a spellcaster taking a penalty to melee attacks for an extra feat), the power-up becomes more of a straight gain if the penalty can just be ignored. It might as well not have a penalty in the first place.

For in-game rationale why a weapon might give an attack penalty? Well, it makes sense for 'magic-staff' type Legacy items meant for spellcasters I suppose. For swords in the like...hrmm...The best rationale I can give is that a warrior loses touch with their roots for a greater connection to the meta-physical (magic/psionics/chi/whatever)? Yeah, I got nothing. :smalltongue: Makes for somewhat decent balance though.

Well, it's true that penalties that don't afflict the character are somewhat pointless. But I contest the "somewhat decent balance" it makes for. In my perception there seems to be a general consensus that Weapons of Legacy are too weak.
While making your own Legacy is seen as somewhat lessening the problem, a lot of the power in selfmade legacies comes from metamagic reducers they can have, which makes them rather useful for casters and, as I already said, by granting mundanes access to magic powers. Furthermore WoL are very inflexible, considering that you cannot further enchant them and if you use another weapon you still have to deal with the penalties...
I won't bring out the math, but under the rules as are I'd probably avoid using a Legacy item for a Warrior character of mine and if I need such a thing for the fluff I will just take the Ancestral Relic feat. There is a limit to what you can make me pay :smallwink:
So even if you are of the opinion that WoL are nice as written I'd say in a low-magic setting like yours a lot of there power is diminished because some of their most powerful abilities aren't suitable for the setting. I personally would stick to things like HP, skill points, XP cost or similar, those are all still real disadvantages, but they don't lead themselves ad absurdum.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-08, 05:01 PM
I like the concept of schools you introduce. Will you make more of them? Or shall we?
And seeing as there are quite a few homebrew disciplines in play I think it would be immensely helpful to write up a table to show which class when how and what for can get access to which discipline.

By all means feel free to invent your own schools! I've been meaning to finish the write-up for the 'royal' style and for Way of the Jiangshi (yes, I've thought up a style for people emulating hopping vampires :smallamused:).

Hmm..could be a worthwhile table to make. I'll see about making it. Table made! And kinda ugly looking to be honest...

DracoDei
2011-07-08, 06:53 PM
You could replace the Master of Nine with another PrC that fits the world better though that would be quite a lot of work.
Are you sure my semi-rewrite doesn't work?

Burnheart
2011-07-09, 06:13 AM
Looks like it would yes i didn't see it the first time i looked in the age of warrior stuff, sorry.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-10, 01:29 AM
Alright, I know I mentioned looking for ideas for special materials, well now I have a list of things I'm going to try and work on...

Star-metal (basically adamintine)
Pearl (Easy to break, but very nice looking and lighter)
Gold (heavy and like Pearl in that it's nice looking, not sure what benefit to give it really, so it's proving difficult)
Re-fluffed/named versions of Baatorian Green Steel and another kind who's name escapes me at the moment.
Mercury (Mostly only useful for weapons and a spiritual stand-in for real silver)
??? Steel, essentially a masterwork version of regular steel who's name I haven't come up with.

As for Wooden special materials...

Jade
Deadwood
Darkwood (once I find some fluff on it anyway)

and...uh...

...Okay, I don't have many wooden weapon special materials, sue me! :smalltongue: Where's Bronzewood at though?

After those, or while I'm working on them, I'll detail the industrious town of Thrice-Forged, it's major inhabitants, the boisterous bandit king who plagues the surrounding wilderness, and the order of 'jiangshi' who secretly control the town's fate from behind the scenes. As a potenial starting village.

After which, is some example NPCs of varying levels, hopefully. After that, I SHOULD cover PrCs, but that's something I want to avoid for the moment, so I'll probably cover basic society in the empire/provinces and basic but important details like the role gender can play in someone's fate, the different classes of society, etc. etc or I'll detail one of the Seasonal Courts, since I really should start on those.

Mostly this is just an update so people know what I'm up to, but if anyone has any advice (or something they want to add) then I'll gladly hear them out.

DracoDei
2011-07-10, 02:47 AM
Bronzewood is in the Ebberron book (3.5... I don't know about 4th).

Jade Dragon
2011-07-10, 02:48 AM
So you're using adamantine and calling it starmetal?

Or is starmetal in another book but similar to adamantine?

elliott20
2011-07-10, 06:03 AM
One of the staples for Chinese fantasy is the peach wood sword, supposed because it has exorcising qualities, but it's not so tough that it makes it automatically lethal to normal people except in the hands of an expert.

I would treat it as a sword that acts as if it can bypass certain DRs but has much less HP than your standard iron sword.

Cieyrin
2011-07-10, 07:42 AM
Bronzewood is in the Ebberron book (3.5... I don't know about 4th).

Eberron Campaign Setting, along with some other interesting and useful materials.


So you're using adamantine and calling it starmetal?

Or is starmetal in another book but similar to adamantine?

Starmetal is a thing, it's in Complete Arcane. It's basically adamantine that is anathema to outsiders, to which it deals like +1d6 damage.

In an unrelated note, Callos, you might be interested in Secrets of Sarlona, which has a number of useful weapons and feats that could fit in well in W&W. Things like Tiger Hooked Swords, Monk's Spades and Cutting Wheels, as well as Style feats that work well with them.

Partysan
2011-07-10, 01:01 PM
I'm thinking about the Defense Bonus and Armor as DR variants right now. Using them together effectively heightens the defense of most characters, since they will gain DR in addition to a good AC. Furthermore while Defense Bonus should represent a character's ability to defend themselves it is retained when flatfooted or otherwise incapacitated.
This has metagame consequences. Due to everyone having DR now, characters relying on multiple weaker attacks are further weakened in comparison to characters specializing on strong attacks. Another point of interest is armor enhancement. Does it heighten/multiply the DR or will it give AC bonuses?
We should also think about how this interacts with maneuvers. DR breakers like Stone Dragon maneuvers will gain a powerup, boosts for more attacks a slight down. There might possibly variant maneuvers specifically designed for this particular set of variant rules.

One idea I'd like to present is DB being a dodge bonus, not an armor bonus, and thus being subject to breaks like Flatfooting and Feints. This will benefit rogueish characters the most, balancing out the DR that will impact them the hardest.
It also emphasises the idea of skill-based battle. Bypassing the enemy's defense becomes a much more important goal, highlighting the more realistic form of battle in that characters will defend themselves against hits and hits matter. Flanking and surprising will give a huge advantage and maneuvers that render the enemy flatfooted or losing his dex bonus are of higher tactical importance, emphasizing skill in attacking and defending.

Kommisar Engel
2011-07-10, 01:11 PM
This... This is super awesome on a magnitude I cannot describe. *cries manly tears of joy*

So... where can I send a Wang Yuanji-esque's character's stats, profile, and whatnot? I really need a PS3 though to see what she can do, but she's my favorite despite not playing DW7.

And Lu Bu. We need a Lu Bu character.

On more important note which I should contribute here, have you taken a look at the Injury (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/injury.htm#conditionDescriptions) variant rule.

I agree with Partysan on the nature of AC DR and Defense bonus, and on his points. We could also have them exclusive; wear armor, you don't get defense bonus and vice versa. The idea is that armor allows you to take hits and shrug them off, while no armor allows you to defend yourself evasively, and I feel like an idiot repeating the point.

I have access to a lot of books, and other stuff so I may send some ideas for weapon and armor materials. Need to read them again though...

Burnheart
2011-07-10, 01:34 PM
I'm thinking about the Defense Bonus and Armor as DR variants right now. Using them together effectively heightens the defense of most characters, since they will gain DR in addition to a good AC. Furthermore while Defense Bonus should represent a character's ability to defend themselves it is retained when flatfooted or otherwise incapacitated.
This has metagame consequences. Due to everyone having DR now, characters relying on multiple weaker attacks are further weakened in comparison to characters specializing on strong attacks. Another point of interest is armor enhancement. Does it heighten/multiply the DR or will it give AC bonuses?
We should also think about how this interacts with maneuvers. DR breakers like Stone Dragon maneuvers will gain a powerup, boosts for more attacks a slight down. There might possibly variant maneuvers specifically designed for this particular set of variant rules.

One idea I'd like to present is DB being a dodge bonus, not an armor bonus, and thus being subject to breaks like Flatfooting and Feints. This will benefit rogueish characters the most, balancing out the DR that will impact them the hardest.
It also emphasises the idea of skill-based battle. Bypassing the enemy's defense becomes a much more important goal, highlighting the more realistic form of battle in that characters will defend themselves against hits and hits matter. Flanking and surprising will give a huge advantage and maneuvers that render the enemy flatfooted or losing his dex bonus are of higher tactical importance, emphasizing skill in attacking and defending.

Its already part of the Armour as DR rules that an armours enhancement bonus only adds to AC not DR see here:

Magic Armor

An armor’s enhancement bonus (if any) increases its armor bonus to AC, but has no effect on the armor’s damage reduction. A +3 chain shirt, for example, adds +5 to AC and grants damage reduction 2/-.

and instead of changing it to a dodge bonus why not just change it to a normal armour bonus by removing the clause where it adds to both flatfooted and touch ac?

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-10, 02:02 PM
So you're using adamantine and calling it starmetal?

Or is starmetal in another book but similar to adamantine?

Hrm. Well I forgot starmetal was it's own material in another book, but I was going to just use adamantine and rename it. Now maybe I'll use actual starmetal for starmetal and adamantine for something else...


One of the staples for Chinese fantasy is the peach wood sword, supposed because it has exorcising qualities, but it's not so tough that it makes it automatically lethal to normal people except in the hands of an expert.

I would treat it as a sword that acts as if it can bypass certain DRs but has much less HP than your standard iron sword.

Hmm...I can definitely make something from that. A weapon that automatically gives it's wielder the chance of doing non-lethal damage (with no attack penalty) and counts as good aligned for bypassing DR (though I'm not certain how often that last part would come up). Need to figure out how to word a material description for peachwood though.


Eberron Campaign Setting, along with some other interesting and useful materials.

In an unrelated note, Callos, you might be interested in Secrets of Sarlona, which has a number of useful weapons and feats that could fit in well in W&W. Things like Tiger Hooked Swords, Monk's Spades and Cutting Wheels, as well as Style feats that work well with them.

I'll check out the Eberron campaign setting and try to get a hold of Secrets of Sarlona then. I haven't gotten to equipment yet because...well that's a whole different beast that might just be larger then the disciplines one.


I'm thinking about the Defense Bonus and Armor as DR variants right now. Using them together effectively heightens the defense of most characters, since they will gain DR in addition to a good AC. Furthermore while Defense Bonus should represent a character's ability to defend themselves it is retained when flatfooted or otherwise incapacitated.
This has metagame consequences. Due to everyone having DR now, characters relying on multiple weaker attacks are further weakened in comparison to characters specializing on strong attacks. Another point of interest is armor enhancement. Does it heighten/multiply the DR or will it give AC bonuses?
We should also think about how this interacts with maneuvers. DR breakers like Stone Dragon maneuvers will gain a powerup, boosts for more attacks a slight down. There might possibly variant maneuvers specifically designed for this particular set of variant rules.

One idea I'd like to present is DB being a dodge bonus, not an armor bonus, and thus being subject to breaks like Flatfooting and Feints. This will benefit rogueish characters the most, balancing out the DR that will impact them the hardest.
It also emphasises the idea of skill-based battle. Bypassing the enemy's defense becomes a much more important goal, highlighting the more realistic form of battle in that characters will defend themselves against hits and hits matter. Flanking and surprising will give a huge advantage and maneuvers that render the enemy flatfooted or losing his dex bonus are of higher tactical importance, emphasizing skill in attacking and defending.

The armor enhancement question is one easily answered, if you take a look at the Armor Enhancement table from the page I linked to, it doesn't give the standard bonus to defense but increases the armor's DR from 1 to 5, depending on the level of it that you get.

On the rest, an important thing to keep in mind about character's using weaker (but more) is that their maneuvers and stances are likely going to include those that give them a boost to damage on each of their attacks. Think the Desert Blade manuevers that add fire damage to each attack in that round, or the Tiger Claw ones that allow Rending or just flat boost the damage of each attack. This isn't going into stances, but I think you get the idea. Also, keep in mind is that, depending on how things go, at a certain point armor stops being as useful as it used to be. At low-levels it can be a life-saver since no one's throwing out tremendous amounts of damage yet, but at higher levels it only really takes some of the 'sting' out of the hit. Legendary O-yoroi armor may give you 13/- DR but when a master martial artist hits you with 20d6 bonus damage (in addition to normal bonuses, as an example, that 13 starts to matter less. Around that point, it becomes just as prudent to wear lighter armor (or no armor) to get your full Dex bonus to defense and to best utuilize one's defense bonus to keep from getting hit in the first place which is kinda what I was aiming for. At low-levels, it's wise to wear at least a little armor, at mid-levels it's useful but less important, at high levels it's nice to have but better to dodge the enemy entirely then try to 'soak' up the damage with armor, barring people who specialize in such things (like Crusaders using Devoted Spirit and wearing pimped out armor) with whom armor still remains a viable tactic.

All that said...I like your idea on changing Defense Bonus to becoming a dodge bonus that's lost if one is feinted, flat-footed, and whatnot. It adds another bit of skill into combat at no major complication to the rules. I'll edit the first post with that little bit of errata.


This... This is super awesome on a magnitude I cannot describe. *cries manly tears of joy*

So... where can I send a Wang Yuanji-esque's character's stats, profile, and whatnot? I really need a PS3 though to see what she can do, but she's my favorite despite not playing DW7.

And Lu Bu. We need a Lu Bu character.

On more important note which I should contribute here, have you taken a look at the Injury (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/injury.htm#conditionDescriptions) variant rule.

I agree with Partysan on the nature of AC DR and Defense bonus, and on his points. We could also have them exclusive; wear armor, you don't get defense bonus and vice versa. The idea is that armor allows you to take hits and shrug them off, while no armor allows you to defend yourself evasively, and I feel like an idiot repeating the point.

I have access to a lot of books, and other stuff so I may send some ideas for weapon and armor materials. Need to read them again though...

I don't know who Wang Yuanji but there is already a Lu Buish character (in spirit) in the game, just one whom I haven't revealed any stats on, that being Long Shadow.

Also...another interesting suggestion. All definitely think about that one some more, it has potential.

Kommisar Engel
2011-07-10, 02:19 PM
On the nature of healing...

There is a function of the Craft Skill in the Eberron Campaign setting. Basically, you use Craft to repair/restore HP to the Warforged, a player character race which are living constructs magically created by some unknown process which let DMs do whatever. You could translate that to the Heal Skill.

And Wang Yuanji (http://koei.wikia.com/wiki/Wang_Yuanji), one of the reasons I want to play DW7 despite my stance on the series as a whole. I could imagine her as a court lady, and an adept in Steel Serpent discipline.

And I'm planning on using this setting for a game here on the forums.

Partysan
2011-07-10, 02:26 PM
Hmmm, that Injury variant is somewhat interesting. What I like in it is that it makes hits actually matter.
Again, introducing a variant like that can impact other parts of the mechanics. I can, for example, easily imagine maneuvers geared to disabling opponents per injury, maybe by imposing a penalty to the saving throw. Stone Dragon or Shadow Hand would obviously qualify.

Cieyrin
2011-07-10, 02:52 PM
There is a function of the Craft Skill in the Eberron Campaign setting. Basically, you use Craft to repair/restore HP to the Warforged, a player character race which are living constructs magically created by some unknown process which let DMs do whatever. You could translate that to the Heal Skill.

That's why I suggested the Treat Deadly Wounds task from PF (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/skills/heal), which pretty much does that already.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-10, 02:56 PM
Hmmm, that Injury variant is somewhat interesting. What I like in it is that it makes hits actually matter.
Again, introducing a variant like that can impact other parts of the mechanics. I can, for example, easily imagine maneuvers geared to disabling opponents per injury, maybe by imposing a penalty to the saving throw. Stone Dragon or Shadow Hand would obviously qualify.

The Injury variant is interesting, but I don't think it works for this setting. It's essentially 'fail the save twice, done for'. Or, to put it more clearly, I think it makes the setting TOO lethal. I'm trying to avoid 'rocket-tag'.

EDIT: I'm still looking into herbalism and alchemy for ways to improve healing and other things (I left the book at my friend's house though >.<), but I think it's a good idea to implement Treat Deadly Wounds though.

Partysan
2011-07-10, 02:59 PM
The Injury variant is interesting, but I don't think it works for this setting. It's essentially 'fail the save twice, done for'. Or, to put it more clearly, I think it makes the setting TOO lethal. I'm trying to avoid 'rocket-tag'.

Probably true. I think there's another variant somewhere that makes you fatigued and exhausted when down to certain percentages of your HP.

But it might be unneccessary.

Kommisar Engel
2011-07-10, 03:03 PM
@Cieyrin: I rarely look at PF unless someone points it out to me. And that looks interesting. I should use that for my games. Sorry for not noticing earlier though, I'm sleep deprived. And thanks for pointing it out.

elliott20
2011-07-10, 03:05 PM
HP Ratio fatigue rules would make it too much of a slippery slope issue, where once someone takes enough damage, they just get worse and worse at doing things.

It makes the game even grittier than what the wound point rules do.

EdroGrimshell
2011-07-10, 03:27 PM
I have something that you may like, i'm actually working on an entire system based on modifying mundane items (weapons, armor, shields, tools, etc.) and how to refine metals, make alloys and compound woods, and adding additional mundane qualities to items. It also includes gems that can impart semimagical abilities to a weapon/armor, while that may be a bit to magical for this setting it does offer some interesting ideas.

If your interested i could PM you some of the specifics and we could make it a joint project.

You may also want to look at Narmy's Masterwork System (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134874).

Also, there's cyrite (arcane steel) in Player's Guide to Eberron one the bottom page 117 that counts as magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-10, 03:40 PM
Thrice-Forged
Town type: Small Town
Population: 1508
GP Limit: 543
Wealth: 81,993
Authority Class: Expert
Authority Level: 5
Authority Title: Magistrate
Full Time Guards: 15
Conscript-able: 75

The town of Thrice-Forged lays in the cradle between two large mountains in the Winter Court, beside one of the few tributaries of water that extend into the northern provinces. A mining-town by nature, Thrice-Forged is somewhat famous for it's quality blacksmiths and iron ore that is shipped out to neighboring provinces in return for things such as cloth, food, and other materials that are difficult to be acquired naturally in the area. The mountains surrounding the town are rich with ore, which accounts for the steady growth of Thrice-Forged as workers arrive from across the north for a chance at reliable and honest work. From a military standpoint, Thrice-Forged is valuable for the ore it provides but the village itself is secluded from the major sources of habitation in the north while the bordering mountains provide it with some measure of natural defense. As a result, the empire has passed the chance of establishing a garrison in the region and allows the town to maintain a force of self-trained militia from it's own citizens to govern itself with little imperial over-sight. This has also lead to several problems that haunt the town though...

Thrice-Forged is governed by Magistrate Lao Shun (expert 5) who has proven adept at handling the buercratic problems of the town and handling matters of law, when any such are actually reported instead of handled by the people involved anyway, though his leadership capabilities have left something to be desired. He simply doesn't inspire confidence or loyalty among the towns people, despite the work he admirably does, who can't shake the feeling that the central-born magistrate doesn't understand the life-long miners. Perhaps because of this, many townspeople instead look to the headsman of the mines Young Seok (last name, first name) for guidance and resolution to their problems. For his part, Seok takes his unofficial duties very seriously and does his best to avoid steering the townspeople wrong or offending Lao who might see the headsman's influence as an insult to his ability to lead. Both men have butted heads about important issues before, but these conflicts are resolved peacefully since both know they need the other for Thrice-Forged to be run smoothly.

Thick pine forests surround the town and it's mines, a resource usually tapped for construction materials but in recent times have proven to become a bit of a hindrance. A wily bandit has recently claimed the forests around Thrice-Forged as the home of him and his gang, preying upon the merchant caravans heading in and out of the town from a hidden fortress close to where the mountains open up to the south where the main road passes. This man, who calls himself the Glorious Bandit King Rampant Lion (http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/5649/warrhino.jpg) (Wildheart 9 using Tiger Claw/Twin Spirit/Stone Dragon), has proven himself to be a menace to travelers along the road and an infamous thief throughout the north. He's well known for using multiple long-blades in combat and for his frightening mount, One-Horned Dragon, the likes of which hasn't been seen in the north before (the creature is actually a rhinoceros from the Summer Court that Rampant Lion trained as a mount), as well as for accepting the surrender of his enemies and allowing them to live in a surprising display of honor. It's this tendency that has kept some of the heat off of his back, as well as his tendency to move frequently. His motives are somewhat suspect, since he doesn't seem as interested in money as much as he is in ore and supplies, but attempts to find Rampant Lion's fortress have proven fruitless so far.

Despite predation from Rampant Lion, Thrice-Forged holds a far more sinister, and secretive, threat in it's lands. High up the slope of eastern mountain, is a cave system that is forbidden to the people of the town and the reason why none leave their homes at night. It's said that deep within those caves dark things from before the Empire lurk in the darkness, a coven of dreaded jiangshi that descend down from the mountain to prey upon the helpless townspeople. Mostly the hopping corpses carry off criminals or the exceptionally poor, those most likely to be out after dark, but every three years a young man is chosen to be given to the jiangshi as 'thanks' for Thrice-Forged's continued existence. The truth behind this horrifying legend is more mundane, the 'jiangshi' is in fact a secretive cult of martial artists who have modeled their style off of the legends of these fell creatures. These martial artists send a few of their number down to Thrice-Forged every night to ensure that the town remains peaceful by slaying criminals who are then displayed as if they've been slain by a hopping corpse. Sometimes, in rare cases, these monks will abduct a criminal instead and induct them into their ranks as an initiate by brainwashing the new 'recruit'. This is the same fate of their sacrifices each year, the young man is fed a specially concocted poison that puts him into a death-like state for the townspeople to find and bury in the morning. The next night, the monks dig up the new member, making it appear as if the victim has risen from the dead, and spirits them away to the catacombs where they live to be trained in the Way of the Jiangshi (Devoted Spirit, Tiger Claw, Dancing Leaf, Black Heron) to become part of a new generation of monks via the same brainwashing their other 'students' endure.

The monks do their very best to keep the mystique of the jiangshi, to better hold people in fear of them, and as such act as if the various weaknesses of the stiff corpses are in fact true when presented with them during their nightly raids. Why the monks do this is mostly unknown, a small part is that they are over-seeing the spiritual wellness of the town and are guiding it, slowly, towards the ideal perfection that their philosophy teaches. To this end, they've approached every headsman since the town was first built and revealed their presence to them, laying out their demands and terms before disappearing with the threat of assassination should the unfortunate speak of the encounter. Should the headsman comply with the jiangshi, then every three years they receive an antique gold bar stamped with an unknown seal on the eve of the sacrifice, to remind the headsman that obedience is not without it's rewards.

Cieyrin
2011-07-10, 04:20 PM
@Cieyrin: I rarely look at PF unless someone points it out to me. And that looks interesting. I should use that for my games. Sorry for not noticing earlier though, I'm sleep deprived. And thanks for pointing it out.

No worries. :smallwink:

elliott20
2011-07-10, 04:29 PM
Thrice-Forged
Town type: Small Town
Population: 1508
GP Limit: 543
Wealth: 81,993
Authority Class: Expert
Authority Level: 5
Authority Title: Magistrate
Full Time Guards: 15
Conscript-able: 75


I not quite familiar with some of the stats on the stat block. Is the GP limit how much a PC can spend in a single transaction and wealth the actual amount of gold available in town?

I'm assuming that authority class means what is the class of the leader(s) of the community, level denotes their highest level, right?

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-10, 06:51 PM
I not quite familiar with some of the stats on the stat block. Is the GP limit how much a PC can spend in a single transaction and wealth the actual amount of gold available in town?

I'm assuming that authority class means what is the class of the leader(s) of the community, level denotes their highest level, right?

In order...

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes. :smallsmile:

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-10, 07:29 PM
There, example town that a group of PCs might come upon during their travels with three potential plot hooks built into it (the conflict between Lao and Seok, Rampant Lion, and the jiangshi)......I honestly don't know why three was such an important number when writing that town up, it just seemed to happen.

Partysan
2011-07-12, 04:54 PM
Since it came up in the Game: How about using Weapon Group Feats?

EDIT: By the way, those feats from the warrior's way seem rather nice. Do you plan to add more in a similar vein?

EDIT2: I suggest adding an errata for the Warblade's stance progression in your classes section.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-13, 12:01 AM
Since it came up in the Game: How about using Weapon Group Feats?

EDIT: By the way, those feats from the warrior's way seem rather nice. Do you plan to add more in a similar vein?

EDIT2: I suggest adding an errata for the Warblade's stance progression in your classes section.

It's definitely a possibility to use Weapon Group Feats, just need to figure out how many proficiencies each class would get now. Shouldn't be too hard I suppose.

I'm...not sure what your asking with the second question.

What errata are you talking about?

The-Mage-King
2011-07-13, 12:09 AM
What errata are you talking about?

I believe the fact that they get their second stance 1 level before they qualify for 3rd levels stances, and thus had damn well better multiclass into something if they want a 3rd level stance with their level 4 stance slot.


Maybe the progression found here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124112)?

Terazul
2011-07-13, 12:11 AM
What errata are you talking about?

The common suggestion of delaying the Warblade's stance progression by one level, so they'll be capable of getting the highest level stance available to them.

AFB at the moment, but as I recall you normally get a new stance at 4th level, forcing you to take another 1st level stance (as there are no 2nd level; stances are only on odd maneuver levels), whereas if delayed by a class level to 5th, they'd be able to get a 3rd level stance instead.

Edit: Swordsage'd

Cieyrin
2011-07-13, 08:41 AM
I believe the fact that they get their second stance 1 level before they qualify for 3rd levels stances, and thus had damn well better multiclass into something if they want a 3rd level stance with their level 4 stance slot.


Maybe the progression found here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124112)?

I wouldn't call that errata, since ToB doesn't have any, but a house rule and a generally reasonable one at that. You'd also want to adjust the Crusader progression so they actually get 8th level stances without multiclassing/feats.

Not sure I like Gral's progression, due to the retraining bit. It's an interesting starting place, though.

Partysan
2011-07-13, 08:50 AM
It's definitely a possibility to use Weapon Group Feats, just need to figure out how many proficiencies each class would get now. Shouldn't be too hard I suppose.

I'm...not sure what your asking with the second question.

What errata are you talking about?

The errata has been answered thoroughly I think. It's just about the Warblade getting a new stance one level before the new stances are actually available for them, so giving the the second stance on 5th instead of 4th level makes more sense.

Weapon Groups: I suggest the following distribution:

Warblade, Blademaster: Basic +4 (like Fighter)
Warlord, Crusader, Wildheart, Swordsage, Swashbuckler: Basic +3 (like Paladin, Barbarian, Ranger)
Warrior Poet, Sublime Assassin, Dancer, Sohei Adept: Basic +2 (like Bard, Rogue, Cleric)
Guru: Basic +1 (like Monk)

And concerning the feats: I just noticed that the Warrior's Way includes a number of obviously homebrewn feats that seem to be included in the Warriors and Wuxia project. I wanted to know if this is a closed number or if more Martial feats are going to be included in the project's materials.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-13, 10:06 AM
The errata has been answered thoroughly I think. It's just about the Warblade getting a new stance one level before the new stances are actually available for them, so giving the the second stance on 5th instead of 4th level makes more sense.

Weapon Groups: I suggest the following distribution:

Warblade, Blademaster: Basic +4 (like Fighter)
Warlord, Crusader, Wildheart, Swordsage, Swashbuckler: Basic +3 (like Paladin, Barbarian, Ranger)
Warrior Poet, Sublime Assassin, Dancer, Sohie Adept: Basic +2 (like Bard, Rogue, Cleric)
Guru: Basic +1 (like Monk)

And concerning the feats: I just noticed that the Warrior's Way includes a number of obviously homebrewn feats that seem to be included in the Warriors and Wuxia project. I wanted to know if this is a closed number or if more Martial feats are going to be included in the project's materials.

Those weapon group feats seem fairly reasonable. I'll see about adding it to the first post.

On the Feats: Well I don't know if the creator of the Warrior's way plans on adding to the homebrew feats he's made or not, so I can't really answer, but I may add some feats of my own design later. Right now I want to get some more fluff up about the Empire before doing more mechanics though.

vasharanpaladin
2011-07-14, 06:42 PM
On gold weapons: Heroes of Horror had the right of it. Gold can't keep a sharp edge, so it's useless for slashing or piercing weapons, but its weight makes it fantastic for bludgeoning tools. In addition, gold can be associated with purity or divinity, making it especially useful against aberrations and/or evil outsiders. :smallcool:

Prime32
2011-07-14, 06:47 PM
On gold weapons: Heroes of Horror had the right of it. Gold can't keep a sharp edge, so it's useless for slashing or piercing weapons, but its weight makes it fantastic for bludgeoning tools. In addition, gold can be associated with purity or divinity, making it especially useful against aberrations and/or evil outsiders. :smallcool:Gold is associated with purity less than silver though, partly because silver is actually poisonous to bacteria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_uses_of_silver).

vasharanpaladin
2011-07-14, 07:54 PM
Gold is associated with purity less than silver though, partly because silver is actually poisonous to bacteria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_uses_of_silver).

I never said that. I was paraphrasing the book. :smallwink:

Callos_DeTerran
2011-07-14, 10:01 PM
Right now I'm looking at gold as a damage increaser for bludgeoning weapons and as providing a diplomacy/intimidate bonus if armor is plated with it, cause having golden armor is very notable after all. Also working on a reliable way to have weapons to be built with a small reservoir of mercury in it so that whenever the weapon is swung, the mercury flows and increases it's weight.

Cieyrin
2011-07-14, 10:15 PM
Right now I'm looking at gold as a damage increaser for bludgeoning weapons and as providing a diplomacy/intimidate bonus if armor is plated with it, cause having golden armor is very notable after all. Also working on a reliable way to have weapons to be built with a small reservoir of mercury in it so that whenever the weapon is swung, the mercury flows and increases it's weight.

On the mercury bit, they did that back in the 3.0 days, though only for longswords and greatswords, as opposed to making it a general weapon quality that you can add to whatever you feel like. (Mercurial Hammers!) They're in Arms and Equipment Guide, if you wanna see what they did with 'em. What it comes down to is it decreased the threat range by 1 and increased the multiplier by 2, though I think 1 should be sufficient. Also made the weapon Exotic, like how Heavy weapons work. Their cost is between 385-550 gp, so ~450 gp average. Should probably cost more for double weapons, too.

Basically:
Mercurial Weapon: must be Masterwork, +150 gp, +300 gp for double weapons, -1 Threat Range, +1 Modifier, Requires Exotic Weapon Proficiency in that weapon (i.e. Exotic Weapon Proficiency(Mercurial Greataxe) or EWP(Mercurial Sickle)).

Though on the proficiency bit, I'd take a page from Arcane Unearthed and just make proficiency with this type of weaponry one feat and then have them just be proficient in the weapon of choice. You could combine that with Heavy weapon proficiency, which I think would be well worth the feat. Let's say BAB +3, Str 15 or 17 to not be thrown around by the unusual amount of weight.

Heavy Weapon Proficiency
You've trained with weapons with unusual or shifting weight and can use them as easily as normally weighted weaponry.
Prerequisites: BAB +3, Str 15
Benefit: You can use Heavy or Mercurial weapons without additional penalty. You still need to be proficient in the weapon to not take nonproficiency penalties.
Normal: You take a -2 penalty on attack rolls when using a Heavy or Mercurial weapon, even if you are proficient with the weapon.

Jade Dragon
2011-07-14, 10:19 PM
Basically:
Mercurial Weapon: must be Masterwork, +150 gp, +300 gp for double weapons, -1 Threat Range, +1 Modifier, Requires Exotic Weapon Proficiency in that weapon (i.e. Exotic Weapon Proficiency(Mercurial Greataxe) or EWP(Mercurial Sickle)).

That's not good enough. I'd rather get a battleaxe and call it a longsword, or a greataxe and call it a greatsword, so I don't have to spend more money and a feat.

Cieyrin
2011-07-14, 10:29 PM
That's not good enough. I'd rather get a battleaxe and call it a longsword, or a greataxe and call it a greatsword, so I don't have to spend more money and a feat.

Oh right, duh. That's why it's +2 Crit Mod, otherwise you have that reason exactly. It also brings up that I overlooked what happens with weapons that don't have an extended crit range. Hmm, what if it just increases the mod by 1, no decrease to crit range?

Zap Dynamic
2012-01-05, 01:16 PM
Is there a map for this place yet? I'm a big map geek, and having something to look at would tickle me pink.

If there isn't, I'd be willing to make one. I'd prefer to have a rouch sketch to work with (i.e. something concise that would point out the location of biomes, the general shape of the continent, major cities, etc.)

Here's a link to my work (http://kungfuamadeus.deviantart.com/gallery/). Most of my work has been realistic, but I'm interested in flexing my skills with some more stylized, antique/hand-drawn stuff, too.

Kymme
2012-01-05, 09:57 PM
I like the concept of gurus a lot, but is there any chance of any unarmed type of guru?

Jade Dragon
2012-01-06, 01:43 PM
I like the concept of gurus a lot, but is there any chance of any unarmed type of guru?

It's called Superior Unarmed Strike.



And it's been... longer than six weeks since 7/14/11. Well, at least Zap managed to make it to halfling before having to read the forum rules.

Kymme
2012-01-06, 08:13 PM
It's called Superior Unarmed Strike. And it's been... longer than six weeks since 7/14/11. Well, at least Zap managed to make it to halfling before having to read the forum rules.
pardon me for saying, but the thread isn't down yet. And doesn't superior unarmed strike make you count as being a monk of several levels lower that you actually are?

Jade Dragon
2012-01-06, 08:46 PM
pardon me for saying, but the thread isn't down yet. And doesn't superior unarmed strike make you count as being a monk of several levels lower that you actually are?

It deals less damage, sure, but you're not a monk of lower level.

Kymme
2012-01-06, 09:57 PM
It deals less damage, sure, but you're not a monk of lower level.

My point exactly!