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    Default [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began


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    Table of Contents
    Chapter 0: How it All Began

    Chapter 1: Zihaja & His Universe

    Chapter 2: The World of Siraaj

    Chapter 3: The World of Najmah

    Chapter 4: PC Races

    Chapter 5: Advanced Classes

    Chapter 6: Feats
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    Chapter 7: Magic

    Chapter 8: Magical Items

    Chapter 9: Creatures

    Chapter 10: Adventuring
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    Chapter 11: Bonus Material

    The Final Chapter: Organizations
    Last edited by Zeta Kai; 2012-02-24 at 09:47 PM. Reason: added link

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    How it All Began
    A Preface by Zeta Kai

    In September of 2008, I started a silly little mini-project out of boredom called Vote Up a Monster, where people could vote on certain aspects of a monster & I’d craft a creature based on the results. It was easy & fun, so I did another one. And then another, & another, & so forth. Then it became a minor meme, with other people doing variations on it (Vote Up a Villain, Vote Up a Class, etc.).

    Then I made a huge mistake. I called dibs on Vote Up a Campaign Setting. I wasn’t serious, at first, but the idea sat there in my mind, calling to me like a siren. I couldn’t get it out of my head, so in November of 2008, I commissioned my now-friends Afroakuma & Shadow_Elf to help me launch the VUACS project. The polls were rather popular, ran for a while, & the results were distilled into a set of guidelines for the Build Team (as we came to be known) to work from.

    Ever since then, the Build Team has been working to bring this project to fruition. We’ve been hosting a series of discussion threads to chat with our ever-patient audience about our progress & what we’ve created behind the scenes. While these threads have run their course, we’ve been working every day to make a full-fleshed out, fully realized, complex campaign setting, one that is full of mystery, magic, & adventure. We want this to be a setting in which 1,001 stories can be told, & 1,001 discoveries can be made.

    So now, our journey is complete, but yours is just beginning. Come, see what created. Travel the lands of the Kamala with us. Explore the unknown. See its wonders. Face its dangers. And, above all, tell stories of your own. Welcome to the Hourglass of Zihaja, a place where 1,001 tales await.

    Introduction: Advice from a Fellow Traveler

    Beware, wayfarer, for this is a land of magic, mystery, & the many perils that await those who dabble with either. It is said that the wise will walk in the footsteps of those who tread before, for those who wander far are often never seen again. The desert spreads beyond the horizon in all directions, & dangers lurk behind every dune. But the oases are not much safer, so the only sure path is the one known to even the smallest child: one foot in front of the other. In a place where the sands burn in the day & the winds freeze in the night, the road of twilight is the only one that offers the chance of a safe journey.

    You may dismiss me as a madman, but know this: what is known is nothing compared to what is not known. What does one truly know about this world? What can be relied upon, when need is great & aid is far away? You travel as you must, on business that is your own, but can you trust in your destination? Your means of transport? Your chosen path? Your own feet? There are many peoples in this world, with just as many beliefs & practices, & while some would do you harm or force you to stray from your goal, even the most bloodthirsty man cannot compare to the wrathful genie, the fearsome dragon, or the hateful ghul. We all have a destiny to fulfill, & you should pray that your fate is not to fall prey to some hidden horror.

    My biggest fear, you ask? What keeps me awake in the deep of night, peering over covers & flinching at the tiniest of noises? I’d say that mages trouble me the most, truth be told. They wield forces that they cannot fully understand, & treat with powers that are far beyond them. Once, long ago, a great & mighty realm dared to use the Secret Art for their own purposes, harnessing it to produce wonders & riches unheard of today. They paid the price for their arrogance, & we are still paying their debts to this day, suffering in their stead for their misdeeds. Any who would still practice magic in light of that are either foolish or selfish, & deserve what comes to them regardless.

    Speaking of foolishness, about a year ago I was out in the desert by myself. Nevermind what I was doing out there; I was just there, by myself, & that’s all. Well anyway, I was out there in the brutal sunlight with nothing but an empty water sack & a dead camel, & then I saw the Other Side. The other side of what, you ask? Why, the other side of everything! I’m talking about Najmah! The realm of night! The land of the dead! The cradle of dreams! It’s real, & I’ve seen it with my waking eyes.

    So, there I was, just me & the endless sands, & all of a sudden, a mist of some sort comes rolling down a dune towards me. Before I knew anything, it surrounded me, the sky went dark, & I wasn’t in the desert anymore. I was in a field of strange grass, under a starry sky. The breeze was cool, & I could hear the ocean near me. I’d thought that I must have died, & I was waiting for a hafaza to carry me away to Judgment. Just then, the mist cleared, & I could see all around me. Oh, the sights, they were more than I could ever describe with mere words…

    …What I talking about? Oh, yes. Well anyway, I must have passed out from the glory of it all, because the next thing that I knew, I was lying in the streets of some city that I’d never been to before. They said that I had been raving about a masked man with an hourglass or some such nonsense. To this day I have little memory of where I had been or what I saw, but I know that it happened. It was real. It had to be…

    …Well anyway, I’ve been rambling on long enough, I suppose. I’d best leave you be so that you can enjoy the journey. It’s a beautiful world out there, despite the many hazards. Enjoy the ride, keep close to the cities & the oases, & don’t take advice from strangers. Remember the world can’t get you if you get it first!

    -The last known words of Ras
    Ghabi, before his disappearance
    Last edited by Zeta Kai; 2012-02-03 at 11:20 AM.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    You can support the Hourglass of Zihaja project by using any of the banners below to help spread the word. More will become available as time goes on. Enjoy.

    NOTE: All of our banners have been re-sized to comply with the forums' rules; the image addresses have not changed, so feel free to use the exact same URLs as before.















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    Last edited by Zeta Kai; 2010-12-05 at 01:36 PM.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    Credits & Copyright

    The Build Team
    Afroakuma
    Shadow_Elf
    Zeta Kai

    Special Contributors
    Alteran
    DragoonWraith
    jmbrown
    Lappy9000
    Lhurgyof
    PairO’DiceLost
    Realms of Chaos
    RebelRogue

    And Thanks To (in no particular order):
    AgentPaper
    Arguskos
    AstralFire
    Draz74
    Fako
    Fax Celestis
    Gralamin
    Juhn
    Lord Xavius
    Mercenary Pen
    Last edited by Zeta Kai; 2011-03-17 at 06:15 PM.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    Feel free to comment here, either about the content above or the project as a whole. I intend for this to be a general discussion thread about the entire Hourglass of Zihaja setting. So please, discuss.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    It's exciting to know this has reached the end of the production cycle... I look forward to reading the content as it comes out ^_^

    Thank you for your hard work guys!
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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    I think congratulations are in order! You did it, guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by subject42 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SurlySeraph View Post
    He's already a bear that turns into a bear that gets so angry it turns into a bear, worships bears, and commands bears, all while riding a bear. He has enough bear.
    There's never enough bear.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    SQUUUEEEEE!!!!!

    It's finally out! I look forward to spending the break time I'll have reading through everything!
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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    And Special Thanks To (in no particular order):
    Juhn
    You're very welcome!
    Quote Originally Posted by subject42 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SurlySeraph View Post
    He's already a bear that turns into a bear that gets so angry it turns into a bear, worships bears, and commands bears, all while riding a bear. He has enough bear.
    There's never enough bear.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    Good to see this going up. Hope the 4e content is up to snuff, since I've only seen the 3.5.
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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    ...Of course you guys are leaving the revelation of who Zihaja is for the end of the last thread.
    Quote Originally Posted by subject42 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SurlySeraph View Post
    He's already a bear that turns into a bear that gets so angry it turns into a bear, worships bears, and commands bears, all while riding a bear. He has enough bear.
    There's never enough bear.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    It's finally here, congratulations! Really awesome, this will be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
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    I feel honored. *bows*

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    So. Stoked.
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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    And now, the beginning of the end is upon us
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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    Congratulations! Can't wait to see the whole thing.
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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    This is incredible! Amazing work!

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    How resitrictive is that bit of Akasha's paladin's code about "You must not hurt a woman"? If said woman is evil can you hurt her? Or not evil but still in the way of your duty for some reason?
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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    Quote Originally Posted by Reverent-One View Post
    How resitrictive is that bit of Akasha's paladin's code about "You must not hurt a woman"? If said woman is evil can you hurt her? Or not evil but still in the way of your duty for some reason?
    "A woman guilty of a crime may be bound to her sentence, but the innocent female is sacrosanct."

    Some would say that this still means harming women is completely forbidden, & that a female criminal must be brought to justice through a court of law. Others would say that this is an exception clause, & a woman guilty of a crime is not very lady-like, thus having abandoned her feminine protection. Consult your local priestess/DM for their interpretation of Akashan doctrine.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    Consult your local priestess/DM for their interpretation of Akashan doctrine.
    Cop-out.

    [/teasing]

    Though even if that statement is an exception, that only applies to criminals at best. Which means if you're attacked by a woman who has a legal reason to kill you (a harsh trespassing law for example), you can't defend yourself. Except if you yourself are a woman, since not defending yourself would be allowing a woman to come to harm. Also means as a woman paladin, you can't sacrifice your own life for the greater good, for the same reasons.

    [/rules lawyering]
    Thanks to Elrond for the Vash avatar.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    This is very, very awesome.

    Wonder who will play the first campaign with this...

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    Quote Originally Posted by Elfstone View Post
    This is very, very awesome.

    Wonder who will play the first campaign with this...
    *Raises hand to volunteer as a player*
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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    And Special Thanks To (in no particular order):
    Arguskos
    Sirrah, you've been hitting the drugs something fierce recently. Don't remember having any contribution to this project of epic scope basically ever. Still, your thanks is appreciated, as ever.

    Good luck with the release. We'll be watching.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2010-11-24 at 01:36 PM.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    If they plan to hold to promises they made years ago, then I believe afro and shadow_elf at least are planning on christening PbP HoZ.

    I also hope my volunteering to play way back then still counts.
    Last edited by Juhn; 2010-11-24 at 01:37 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by subject42 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SurlySeraph View Post
    He's already a bear that turns into a bear that gets so angry it turns into a bear, worships bears, and commands bears, all while riding a bear. He has enough bear.
    There's never enough bear.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    Quote Originally Posted by The Antigamer View Post
    *Raises hand to volunteer as a player*
    My post counts as a hand raised as well.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    I am also wondering what I did to earn official thanks from our revered triumvirate.
    Quote Originally Posted by subject42 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SurlySeraph View Post
    He's already a bear that turns into a bear that gets so angry it turns into a bear, worships bears, and commands bears, all while riding a bear. He has enough bear.
    There's never enough bear.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    Quote Originally Posted by Juhn View Post
    I am also wondering what I did to earn official thanks from our revered triumvirate.
    Really, you're wondering? You were one of the most active people in the discussion threads. Pretty much whenever anything new was posted, you were there, often with feedback and/or ideas. I'm thank you for that loyalty if I had been working on a two year long project like this.
    Thanks to Elrond for the Vash avatar.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    Evidently my curiosity, nagging questions/comments, and inability to leave well enough alone is a good thing?
    Quote Originally Posted by subject42 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SurlySeraph View Post
    He's already a bear that turns into a bear that gets so angry it turns into a bear, worships bears, and commands bears, all while riding a bear. He has enough bear.
    There's never enough bear.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    I'm curious. With all of the work you put into this, what's stopping you from attempting to publish it through Paizo for Pathfinder? Or something like that.
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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    It's... gonna take a while before we get to Sidaru, isn't it? Stupid alphabet.
    Quote Originally Posted by subject42 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SurlySeraph View Post
    He's already a bear that turns into a bear that gets so angry it turns into a bear, worships bears, and commands bears, all while riding a bear. He has enough bear.
    There's never enough bear.

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    Default Re: [Hourglass of Zihaja] Chapter 0: How it All Began

    So ya'll know, I'm plotting a campaign IRL even as we speak with some newbie players that only ever got as far as 2e.


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