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Thread: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

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    Admiral Squish's Avatar

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    Dec 2007
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    Default Re: (Under Construction)

    System Changes

    The world of Crossroads is very different from the pseudo-medieval fantasy world of the normal Pathfinder setting. New technology, different approaches to magic, and different rules of engagement require a few unusual or completely new rules to make the world feel right for the time period and the overall feel of the setting.

    Culture Subsystem
    As the vast majority of people in the crossroads world are humans, the culture system is a mechanical way to indicate the kind of upbringing your character experienced, the kind of skills they would learn through their childhood, the languages they would speak, and often, their genetic heritage. Some cultures have special options available to them, which is indicated by a [culture] tag on the material with the name of the culture(s) that can use it.
    Disclaimer: No system can possibly represent the entire depth and complexity of a single human society, let alone a whole continent of them. The Culture Subsystem is meant to represent commonalities, not universal abilities which every member of a culture possesses or has access to. If you feel that the Background Feats or Skills we selected don’t accurately represent a given culture, then please feel free to alter or disregard them entirely.

    Language Subsystem
    Learning a new language, particularly a very foreign one, is a significant hurdle in the real world, and the language subsystem expresses that, adding a range of different proficiency levels for speaking and understanding languages. There are hundreds of languages in the new world, and likely thousands of dialects. Being able to make yourself understood can be extremely important when traveling far and wide.

    The knowledge of reading and writing requires extensive training and practice to master, and so it is usually limited to the wealthy elite. But the potential rewards are great: literacy is a rare and powerful ability which allows one to communicate across large tracts of time and space, or even with people in completely different places at the same time.
    Literacy - the ability to read and write the languages a character speaks - is represented by one or more of a series of feats, many of which are specific to certain cultures, or groups of cultures.
    Unlike traditional D&D, literacy is NOT a prerequisite for taking levels in spellcasting classes; if a character comes from a non-literate background, they can still scribe spells and write “spellbooks” via non-linguistic methods, such as casting and rearranging glyph-stones, cutting notches in reeds or sticks, tying and retying knots in dreamcatchers, weaving or braiding textiles, creating ritual sand-paintings, rearranging the contents of a medicine-bag/bundle, etc.

    Value Points
    In the world of crossroads, there is no universal currency like gold coins or paper notes. Wealth is instead measured in value points, or VP, one VP being approximately equal to 1 GP in a standard pathfinder setting. Value points are an abstract notion, not a physical currency, which measure how much value your items hold. Every item is worth a quantity of VP, and items can be traded for other items of lesser or equal value. Value fluctuates, however, and some places will trade certain items for less or more, and some might not even accept certain kinds of items. you can also attempt to present your items as worth more than they are, as detailed in the post.

    In the world of crossroads, magic items, weapons, and armor are very valuable and significantly more uncommon than in a traditional Pathfinder world. Much of the ‘required’ bonuses that most characters must have to function properly in combat, such deflection bonuses, are instead replaced with itemless bonuses. The itemless system is intended to replace approximately two thirds of a character’s wealth gained in treasure.

    Alignment has always been a challenging topic. The traditional two-axis alignment grid is still in place in the crossroads setting, but it’s not quite as straightforward here. almost every culture in this time frame has practices that the modern world would consider ‘evil’, and all of them believe they’re inherently good. Actions that are good to one person may be neutral, or even evil, in the eyes of another. As such, a character’s functional alignment depends on the point of view, both of themselves, and of others viewing them.

    Hero Points
    While using Hero Points are not strictly required for use of the crossroads setting, it is generally advised, as we feel it allows players to take a slightly more active role in their own fate, in a world where the difference between hero and failure can often come down to just one lucky moment. Also, the use of hero points encourages players to become more familiar with the setting to come up with their characters and play them appropriately.
    Characters can gain hero points (at the DM’s discretion) by obeying the taboos of their culture, even when doing so would be generally detrimental to their progress.
    Native characters can also use hero points to implore the help of the spirits in a time of need, and can add Call Spirits to the list of possible uses for hero points.
    Call Spirits By spending one hero point as a standard action, the character can plead for a specific thing that is beyond their ability from the spirits, such as, ‘slay that man’, or ‘clear my path’. The spirits can respond with a single spell effect aimed at accomplishing the stated goal. The exact spell, and how it affects the goal, is up to the DM, but it cannot have a spell level higher than ½ the character’s level.

    In the crossroads setting, death and revival follows slightly different rules. When a living creature dies, its soul leaves the body and moves to the spirit world, which is described in detail below. While on the spirit world, the soul can choose to pass to the Beyond, a mysterious afterlife that no soul returns from, at any time. The soul can remain on the spirit world for a number of days equal to its hit dice, during which time it can be returned to the body. When this time limit runs out, it must make a will save (DC 20) or pass on immediately. If the soul remains on the spirit world after the time period, it becomes a permanent resident, and can no longer be revived. To be revived, a creature’s body must be recovered or recreated, then healed of all hit point damage and all ability damage: only then can the soul be called back to the body and returned to life. Some higher-level spells allow the entire process to be completed as a single action.

    In the crossroads setting, there is no player-available flight, due to the obvious, immediate, and completely unpredictable changes that flight would make in areas of battle, travel, exploration, and dozens of other areas. There are no spells that grant flight on any spell lists in the crossroads world. There are animals and monsters that can fly and some may even be able to carry a human’s weight, but they are universally unsuitable for training or domestication, being either too unintelligent to follow commands, impossible to restrain or contain, or simply too aggressive and dangerous to work with.

    Magic in the crossroads setting is significantly different than the magic of other worlds. For the most part, it works the same, but many spells are different, absent, or interact differently with the world. A full version of the modified spell lists will be described in the Player Options post, but there are a few overarching changes that those who use the system should be aware of.

    The usual spells that allow characters to teleport instantly from one location to another one some extreme distance away do not exist in the crossroads setting, as they would dramatically alter a wide variety of areas. Instead, there are spots called ‘Links’, temporary places that can be opened by spellcasters to allow them (and relatively small numbers of travelers) to move through them to a set end-point. Links are one-way only, they only appear for relatively short periods of time, and they can sometimes drop you somewhere unexpected. Links are organized into networks known as ‘spirals’, which occupy distinct geographical areas, graphed around the central ‘nexus’ link by how easy they are to open, how frequently they appear, and how common they are. There’s only one nexus link in each spiral, which is the easiest to use and the most frequently activating, whereas there are a handful of ‘first ring’ links, which are slightly harder to use and slightly less often active. Links become more common, more difficult to use, and more infrequently active as the link’s ring number increases, until only the most powerful spellcasters can make use of 5th-ring links. Typically links open to some other point in the same spiral, though as the ring number increases, they are more likely to take you somewhere else.

    Almost all long-distance instant communication spells have been removed, and there are no longer spells that allow you to freely communicate regardless of language barriers. Long-distance communication has a variety of implications on the world as a whole, allowing for news to travel instantly, commanders to change orders on the fly, and makes it impossible to intercept many of the most important messages. As such, they have too much potential to drastically alter the course of history, and have been removed. There are some spells that allow you to speak new languages for a certain period of time, or to communicate directly with another person without needing to speak, but being able to totally ignore language barriers makes first-contact situations much too easy
    Last edited by Admiral Squish; 2014-05-23 at 12:13 PM.
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    Crossroads: the New World: A pathfinder campaign setting about an alternate history of North America, where five empire collide in a magical land full of potential. On the road to publication!

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