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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Having spend some time poiring over other RPGs, I think I don't want a distinction between arcane and divine magic. There will be blood magic, shadow magic, and demon magic as optional specializations. And with the distinguishing element of shamans being their ability to call spirits to their help, I think that would make a good 4th specilaization. Also arcane magic would lose a great deal of the sciencey spells anyway, like wall of force, teleport, magnificent mansion, and so on, so there wouldn't be many exclusively arcane things anyway. Not sue if that will mean a single spellcasting class or two differently specialized classes, yet. But even their skills are the same: Knowledge (spirits), Knowledge (nature), Heal, Craft (alchemy), Survival. Both witches and shamans need those. The distinguishing element really is that witches are self-centered and shamans work from a relationship with their local spirits.

    Having the spirits to help would have a number of advantages. Since their are individual beings, they hear and see things and can make their own oppinions on it, which can be more useful than simple scrying (but also more misleading). Or they could help in combat by deflecting harm or even attacking enemies. A witch would do such things herself.
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    Also, I think I will be ditching shadow magic again. It really seems to fit best in magical spy fiction with information gathering, secret surveilance, and hidden infiltration, which really hasn't much of a place in the setting. I rather concentrate on blood mages and warlocks.
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Also, I think I will be ditching shadow magic again. It really seems to fit best in magical spy fiction with information gathering, secret surveilance, and hidden infiltration, which really hasn't much of a place in the setting. I rather concentrate on blood mages and warlocks.
    I have no issue with that, though perhaps just put Shadow on the backburner for introduction at a later time, as a new field of recently discovered magic that is not wide-spread as of yet. For now, though, focusing on Demon, Blood and Spirit magic gives the setting a nice feel, methinks.
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  4. - Top - End - #334
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    The problem with everything you add to a world is, that it removes focus from other things. Everything you add reduces other things and eventually you are down to the bare bones of a very generic setting with lots of additional material that rarely gets to play a role.
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Just stumbled on the picture, and I think it's just perfect for two Vandren.
    The hair and the clothes are an almost complete match for what I have in mind.

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    Last edited by Yora; 2012-03-27 at 06:27 AM.
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  6. - Top - End - #336
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    Character Archetypes

    When writing the Barbarian Lands, I try to keep it unrestricted by any specific rules set to leave it room to grow into something unique that can stand on its own. As a firm believer of "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail", I think creating a world based on a rules system only leads to going down exactly the same roads that so many others have before. And not being just the same thing again with a different coat of paint is one of my main goals.
    However, taking new ways to do something means people need some guidelines on what is appropriate and what not. A knight, a warpriest, or a muketeer would be completely inapproriate, but people will want a few more choices for their characters and NPCs than just Conan-style barbarians and witch doctors. And this is, what this post is about. Presenting a couple of "proffessions" if you will. Several basic packages of skills and equipment which people in the Barbarian Lands are commonly trained with. While every person is unique, there are also always big generalizations that can be made for the soldiers that make up a unit within a larger army. While society in the Lands of the Barbarian Kings is generally less formalized when it comes to training and equipment, there are still generally held conceptions about what skills a person needs to have to fill a certain role. This is what you'll find here:

    I am not reinventing the wheel here, and a great number of the names I use are taken from all kinds of games to describe certain concepts, which often results in names being used completely inaccurate as to their historical or military meaning. But comming up with creative names on the fly is hard, so these will do for now.

    Myrmidon: (Shock Trooper) A myrmidon is a warrior of great strength and stamina, often wearing heavy armor and weilding two-handed weapons or using large metal shields. Myrmidons are common with humans, kaas, and lizardfolk.
    Berserker: (Barbarian) Berserkers resemble myrmidons in many ways, but while myrmidons are usually highly disciplines and use their strength and endurance as a tactical advantage, berserkers a much more wild and storm into battle head first causing massive carnage and confusion. Berserkers usually wear medium armor and favor heavy slasing weapons like axes or swords, either two handed versions or two smaller ones at the same time. Most berserkers are kaas or humans, but they exist with the Zarakai lizardfolk of the Inner Sea as well.
    Warlord: (Champion, Captain) The warlord is a warrior, often from a high status family, who is not only trained in martial skills, but also as a commander and leader. Often equiped similar to myrmidons, warlords also know how to lead other troops into battle, prepare battle plans, and often know some politics as well. Warlords are rare, but can be found at the heads of armies of all races.
    Hunter: The hunter is the most common type of soldier in all the Barbarian Lands. They are also the most versatile, making up the bulk of armies, but also patrol the countryside and watch town gates. Hunters most commonly wear medium armor and carry spears and bows, sometimes axes, daggers, and swords as well. Hunters are the most common warriors among all the races.
    Weapon Master: (Duelist, Kensei) Weapon masters are combat specialists who have taken the skill with weapons to an art. Often favoring light armor for greater speed and mobility, they usually use spears or swords as their weapons of choice. Weapon masters are rare and most commonly elves, and are rarely seen as part of larger units.
    Vanguard: (Demon Hunter, Spirit Warrior) Vanguards are warriors who can be said to wield a weapon in one hand and magic in the other. They wear light or medium armor and often use swords or spears and are normally found in the very first lines of a battle, where they use their magic to crush through walls of spears and shields. Most vanguards are elves or kaas, but some humans with magical abilities have taken the route as well.
    Assassin: (Executioner) An assassin is a warrior quite similar to a weapon master, but has a higher focus on speed and agility and is trained to kill with knives and short swords. Most assassins are elves, followed by lizardfolk.
    Rogue: (Adventurer, Pirate, Thug) Most rogues are people who are not considered to be warriors, but still have aquired some skill with weapons. Lacking heavier armor and weapons and more often than not the support of brothers in arms, rogues often prefer to fight dirty and do whatever it takes to get to their goals. As a result, they also have a wide range of other skills, like lying, stealth, climbing, and whatever else they may regard as useful to survive. Rogues are found among all races.
    Scout: Often considered among the ranks of the warriors, scouts are expert in tracking and reconaiscance. Experts in surviving alone on the wilderness for long stretches of time, scouts are often found well outside the reach of regular patrols, keeping watch of any potential intruders that may come to their clans lands. Scouts usually wear only light armor and use short swords and knives, as well as bows.
    Agent: (Infiltrator) An agent is a person whose training lies mostly in diplomacy and investigation, but given the dangers of the Barbarian Lands they are also skilled in the use of weapons and often found wearing light armor. Agents are usually not part of offensive troops, doing their work mostly outside of the battle. Their combat training is mostly for self defense when drawing the attention of the wrong people. Agents are often send by their masters to perform negotiations or gather information, as well as hunting down fugitives and keeping an eye out for other agents in their masters lands. While not regarded as heroic and honorable by others as true warriors, they often have vital roles in the castles of chieftains and are not someone you would want to have as an enemy. Agents can be found among all the races, but are very rare among kaas and lizardfolk. Many of the most dangerous gnomes are agents.
    Thief: Thieves are people who have only very limited training with weapons and mostly rely on stealth and deception. They are experts in finding their way around guards and traps and into places they are not supposed to go. Many thieves only carry knives and sometimes bows as their weapon and usually don't wear armor. Thieves exist among all the races, even though it's usually hard to identify them as such.
    Wanderer: (Pilgrim, Scholar) Wanderers are noncombatants who are still used to live on the roads and the wilderness between towns and villages. Their most important skill is staying out of trouble. Many carry knoves or staves to defend themselves, but they are no warriors or mages, but most often scholars and explorers with great knowledge of the lands they travel through and the ruins hidden within the forests. Wanderers are found among all races.
    Witcher: Witchers are monster hunters and experts in dealing with hauntings and magical curses. Many know only basic magic, but it serves them well in dealing with supernatural creatures. At the same time they also know how to use weapons as quite often blank steel is the perfect tool to dispatch a monster. If one knows how to find it, and how to survive a fight. Witchers are rare individuals and neither at home among warriors nor mages.
    Shaman: A shaman is a spellcaster who specializes in interacting with spirits in all manner of ways. Shamans are the spiritual leaders and advisors of their villages and constantly commune with the local spirits to ensure peace between spirits and villagers. In addition to being envoys between the worlds, they are also healers and protectors of their villages, warding off misfortune.
    Witch: Witches resemble shamans in many way, but don't fulfil the role of a mediator between mortals and spirits. Instead most of them live outside of the rest of society, either as hermits or secluded in monasteries.
    Blood Mage: Blood mages are witches and shamans who follow the oldest magical teachings and traditions and drew magical power from the blood of living creatures. They resemble common shamans and witches in most ways, but are even more feared by strangers.
    Warlock: A warlock is a witch, or more rarely a shman, who made pacts with demons to gain access to the magic of the Void.
    Witch Doctor: A witch doctor is a variation of the shaman, fullfilling very similar roles, but is usually also skilled in alchemy and knows more offensive magic. Many are also trained in combat to some degree, wearing light armor and using spears, staves, and knives. While shamans usually don't participate in battles, witch doctors are often in the front lines, wrecking havonk among the enemies which is then quickly exploited by other warriors, like berserkers or hunters. They are most common among lizardfolk and kaas, and some human clans.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-03-28 at 10:33 AM.
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  7. - Top - End - #337
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    I've started a thread at the 5th Edition forum at Enworld out of curiosity what people who prefer new settings instead of new versions of existing settings actually want to see. And there's a huge number of "low fantasy/dark ages" replies.
    Which really motivates me to get this of the ground. Seems I am hitting the Zeitgeist.

    I also had a thought about the subject of death and resurrection. Given the religious believes I want to be common in the setting, that there is not an eternal and indivisible soul, the subject of gathering up the remains of a soul and putting it back together becomes a lot more controversial. Is that what you recreate really the same soul, or is it just a new creation that has the memories from the bodies brain. A soul is pure energy, not a substance like air or blood, so you can't really remake the soul from the same pieces, since there are no pieces. And even if you get a soul back together, how accurate is it to the status it had before the death.
    I think this adds an interesting cultural component. For the elven belief of the soul being a product of the body, it wouldn't be much of a problem. It's just the same thing as lighting a fire that has gone out. But if the soul leaves the body and merges with the spirit of the ancestors, things are a lot more complicated. When the essence has merged with the ancestor spirit, has it lost its individual identity? If yes, the raised person is just an entirely new soul that appears like the old one.
    Why bother with this, as it only gets your brain into knots? One idea I have is, that people are reluctant to raise the dead, even if they have a high level shaman, the meterial components, and the person died only a few hours ago. Raising a dead person is not simply a reset button. It means messing around with the energy of the land and the person you get back might not even be the same you lost. I kind of like the idea, that raising the dead is regarded as restoring the body and the mind, but there is also huge uncertainty about the exact nature of the soul. If a great general dies at the day before a major battle, you might really need his tactical genius back or the army is lost. But when a king gets assassinated, is it really worth to play around with the powers over death? Couldn't a new king take his place and do the job just as well, without having to create an abomination that will sit on the throne for another couple of decades? And what if the person was killed by a tainted creature? There's no imagining what that will do to the newly constructed soul. And there might even be a chance that a demon jumps at the opportunity and secretly slips inside the body. For added confusion, the fading of a soul is a gradual process so the longer you wait, the less you will have of the original soul. It would make for great stories to have a group of people desparately trying to get back to the palace with the body of a fallen, but when the sun rises and they are still not in sight of the city, it becomes clear that it will probably be better not to attempt a resurrection. And then you get cases where some people want to raise a person after two weeks, which almost everyone else around thinks is complete insanity.

    So the result of the raise dead would be based on both the time that has passed and the power of the person performing the ritual. The larger the final number gets, the more is the person changed. You could make a chart on which you have to roll several times depending on the effectiveness of the raising, that includes things like losing allegiances, gaining new ones, losing a variable number of levels, changes to mental ability scores, and so on.
    It would require some cooperation of players who get their characters raised, but the players being game for such things is one of the premises of a Barbarian campaign.
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  8. - Top - End - #338
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    As you may have noticed, not much new here recently. I am currently being teated for my concentration problems, which turns out to be quite distracting.
    So instead of binge-writing for four hours on end when I get my best results, I am currently spending more time... "doing research". With Mass Effect and Skyrim.
    But I will be back and hopefully soon, and with a bit of luck be back at work more efficiently than ever. This isn't done yet, it's really just about to start off.

    In addition, a new small bit of info on the work: I hadn't planned to have lycanthropes in the Barbarian Lands, for the same reasons as vampires, since they are usually a staple of much later time periods and work best within a certain social environment, that just isn't part of the setting.
    While the whole infectious disease, silver, and beladonna show isn't for me or the setting, I think the basic idea of shapeshifters really fits quite well. Humanoids with a very close connection to the spiritworld who have the spirit of a beast as part of their soul and can use it to transform their bodies. That works really great for the Barbarian Lands. The whole disease part would be cut out entirely, and you can't get infected with lycanthropy in any way. However, I am still a bit unsure about making it purely heredetary and only found among groups that share a spirit ancestor, or also making it possible to learn the ability by making a pact with a spirit. I strongly tent towards the former, but the later would also be an interesting aspect.
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  9. - Top - End - #339
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    perhaps it could be an evil curse thing, but instead of infectious disease, it is the result of a bad resurrection, where the priest of whatever accidentally sucked the soul out of some animal because he is really bad at magic, or the soul was to degraded for a true resurrection, or some other reason, but once you have started a resurrection, you can't stop it, or really tell how it is going. That could be the reason that even cultures that would have no problem with resurrection like the elves don't do it very often, they are scared of creating either terrible things like were-wolfs, or something totally stupid and disrespectful to the body like a were-afid, and in the worst cases, possibly sucking a demon into the body. (could resurrections have other weird side effects like residual magics animating other corpses nearby or weakening the souls of nearby people and animals, creating undead?) just some interesting thoughts.

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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    In addition, a new small bit of info on the work: I hadn't planned to have lycanthropes in the Barbarian Lands, for the same reasons as vampires, since they are usually a staple of much later time periods and work best within a certain social environment, that just isn't part of the setting.
    While the whole infectious disease, silver, and beladonna show isn't for me or the setting, I think the basic idea of shapeshifters really fits quite well. Humanoids with a very close connection to the spiritworld who have the spirit of a beast as part of their soul and can use it to transform their bodies. That works really great for the Barbarian Lands. The whole disease part would be cut out entirely, and you can't get infected with lycanthropy in any way. However, I am still a bit unsure about making it purely heredetary and only found among groups that share a spirit ancestor, or also making it possible to learn the ability by making a pact with a spirit. I strongly tent towards the former, but the later would also be an interesting aspect.
    Sounds kinda like Hengeyokai, actually, though that's 3.0 as opposed to PF. I would certainly support either of the acquiring methods, just make the pact extremely rare or guarded secret to keep the balance of how many lycans are in the world to maintain their mystique.
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  11. - Top - End - #341
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    Did I mention hengeyokai before in the past? They've been in the back of my mind for a very long time.
    Always wanting to have them in some way, but never really having a good idea how to do it.

    I don't think their abilities need to have a negative conontation, except for the completely normal xenophobia everyone with different abilities gets from everyone else.
    In some fantasy world, such shapechangers are a distinct race, but since being able to blend in with the general population really is the entire point of the shapechanging, that would mean either making them all look like humans, which is bad for a setting that is decisively non human-centric, or like elves, which gets the whole setting into the hippie-elf-unicorn corner, where I really don't want it to be!
    So instead I favor a kind of planetouched approach, just like for tieflings and genasi. This contributes a bit to the proliferation of planetouched (spiritfolk, tiefling, air genasi, fire genasi, earth genasi, water genasi, hengeyokai), but well... They are just cool. It also allows such characters to feature in any type of campaign in any region, as there could be a family of werewolves hidden in elven, human, gnome, or kaas clans and it wouldn't be impossible to play one if it's a campaign in which there can be no human PCs.
    Also, think of shifters from Eberron. They are humanoid most of the time, but can grow claws and teeth and whatever for a short time in combat. That would be, what these shapeshifters be like. Most time in human form, but calling on the beast spirit to give them an edge in tight spots. I am not sure full animal form would even be needed.

    There have been some news from the new D&D Edition.
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    It's all still very fuzzy, but there's been some additional info on Backgrounds and Themes. There hasn't been too much disclosed on how characters work, but it seems to be based on the pattern Race - Class - Background - Theme.
    Race and class are presumedly as they have ever been. Background seem to be mostly about passive bonuses to certain activities similar to most racial traits. Themes add new abbilities in addition to those gained from the class. I think. When Monte Cook presents something new, you're never quite sure what he wanted to tell.

    I think background sounds a lot like it would be a good system to make social status represented by rules. Highborns would get bonuses to diplomacy and additional langues, outcasts would get bonuses to stealth and bluffing, and so on. Now I assume that there will already be a number of backgrounds in the game, Soldier and Thief having been mentioned as examples. But I think I'll drop them all and replace them entirely with Barbarian Lands specific social stations. As discussed with Allegiances, if it is at the top of the character sheet, it becomes a much more prominent feature of the character as seen by the player. So you lose a bit of customization options by not being able to gain the benefits from the generic Backgrounds? I think elevating the social status to such a more prominent feature is a good trade.
    At the same time, it wouldn't really matter if you're a "Soldier". Every PC from the clansmen caste would have the basic education that soldiers get. Even if you're a rogue or a sorcerer, you'd still have been raised by soldiers and grown up with other children who were destined to become soldiers from birth. If you take thief and treat it as a background, it really also means that you've ran with that crowed from an early age and that most people you know are thieves and crime was part of your daily life. That's also a bit like a caste. And since the society of the Barbarian Lands doesn't really support big city slums where these sub-societies would exist, the Outcast background makes a good substitute. You can be an outcast rogue, an outcast warrior, or an outcast sorcerer. All would have learned to move through society without being noticed.
    I think the basic seven castes would probably cover it very effectively Highborn (nobles), Clansmen (warriors), Freemen (farmers and artisans), Lowborn (peasants and slaves), Outcasts, Wilders (nomads), and Hermits (monks).

    Now with themes things are even more speculative. I assume they are not class-specific like PF Archetypes or AD&D Kits, but rather are open to multiple classes like the Themes from 4th Edition. They've also been described as packages of feats. I assume they are mostly suggestions and can also be customized and started from scratch as desired. Yet they also make good archetypes for players to get an idea what their characters are and a useful tool to create NPS.
    I guess a large number of themes can be taken directly from the game. What I'd like to see are kind of professions that specify the area of work, while the character class is the tools available for the job. Here are some I think would work well for the Barbarian Lands:
    Guardian (Barbarian, Fighter, Warlord)
    Hunter (Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger)
    Scout (Barbarian, Ranger, Rogue)
    Sailor (any)
    Scholar (Rogue, Sorcerer)
    Agent (Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlord)
    Assassin (Fighter, Rogue)
    Blood Mage (Sorcerer)
    And so on.
    Just some thoughts, we'll know more once preview versions of the rules are out. Somewhere in the next 12 months.
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    I just had an idea about magic that I think would fit the feel of the setting and nicely explain blood magic, split life into three equally important parts and say that the different kinds of magic use energy from different parts. So the most common kind is "body magic" every time you move you use magic, or rather your body's energy (blood magic allows you to use that energy for less physical purposes) and skill in that is pretty obvious, martial prowess. then the mind and that would be arcane, then the spirit and that would be divine, so I was thinking that the spirit is like a bridge that connects the body and mind (so life is a body and a will connected by a spirit) and nature magic like druids and 4e primal could be a mixture of body and spirit, while psionic would be mind and spirit. I have sort of stretched this over 4e, but I know it would work for 3.5 and I have no experience with pathfinder. this would also explain many different magical creatures as having transcended the necessity of one of the parts (spirits, no body)

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    I think this is getting into a similar direction as what I plan to do. But I am afraid I am not completely getting what you want to say.
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    you said earlier that magic was sort of like pushing a bit of your own energy into the world and starting a chain reaction, you also said that there is not really a difference between the types of magic. I feel that there needs to be at least some reason why a wizard can't heal, and a druid can't make a piece of metal talk to him. so, my explanation is that life is split into three parts, that have a different quality of energy. just like you cannot see a pattern in red on a white piece of paper, if you only have a red light, the energy from the mind is not really able to heal someone, and the body has trouble affecting anything it can't touch. so the energy of the body is used every day and is usually the most powerful and abundant because you need a lot of it in order to overcome it's restrictions, blood magic removes the restrictions but inflicts injury rather than energy waste.

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    Ah, yes.
    That is something that has been bothering me as well. But really, the only kind of effect that is exclusive to any subset of magic in D&D is healing hit points.
    No wait, scrap that. Bards can cast cure spells.

    While there was a more or less clear distinction in the very early editions, arcane and divine really doesn't have any meaning left anymore. So I actually tend to grant weak healing spells to traditionally arcane casters as well and call it a day. Since "divine" casting isn't tied to gods, there really isn't much of a distinction between the two major kinds of magic.
    I want to wait and see the rules for the 5th Edition before I'll deal with making a final descision on the subject. But so far the only real distinction between a shaman and a witch is, that shamans are community spellcasters tasked with mediating between spirits and villagers, and witches are solitairy hermits who work on a case by case basis. But there really isn't much of a difference what their magic can or can't do. The distinction is one that really only exist in D&D without there really being a good reason for it. And my approach is to make a fantasy world that can be played with D&D rules, not a world based on the rules of D&D.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-04-11 at 05:58 AM.
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    Hmm, haven't checked this thread in a couple of weeks.

    Regarding shapeshifters, I wound up with a pretty similar decision for my setting. I knew I didn't want the whole lycanthrope/dopplegangers fluff for the same reason as you, but I like both shifters and changelings and wanted to find a place for them, so I ended up deciding that they were two kinds of either spirit-blooded or spirit-"blessed" and are born among humans. Ideally they should be templates rather than races, but I kind of glossed over that since my world is more human-centric than yours is (well, in certain areas at least).

    So yeah, I agree with making lycanthropes a kind of bestial nature-spirit person.
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    You havn't missed much.

    But it's good you peeked back in now, I've been doing a bit of work on major cities the last days and it may be up this weekend.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    You havn't missed much.

    But it's good you peeked back in now, I've been doing a bit of work on major cities the last days and it may be up this weekend.
    Will keep an eye out for it
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    Sorry people, nothing new on the major cities yet. I've taken a new approach that is doing much better than the last one, but it isn't in any way presentable yet, only a bunch of notes on ideas.

    Instead, I am revisiting magic again, specifically the issue of what magic can and can't do. While the basics have been established two pages ago, I think, I now want to get a bit more specific. There is such a thing like too many options, and spells in D&D are definitly suffering from that (as do kits, prestige classes, sub-races, and feats as well, for that matter).
    I like the idea of 3.5e psionics to have a relatively small number of spells that are quite flexible in the way they are used. From what we've been given to piece together ourself, 5th Edition is going into a similar direction, which I highly welcome. The basic scheme for making a spell list is rather simple. Ideally it's three spells of different potency that thematically form a logical chain of magic training. What specific effects the spells will have and what level they are, and all such things are completely left open at this stage, but I like the idea of potentially having the spells of a three-spell-chain being prerequisites for each other. But that really depends on what kind of magic system they will be adapted to. For simplicity and easy understanding, I'll mostly use the d20 SRD names for spells if there is something with the general effect I have in mind.
    The basic requirement for the spells is, that I want to avoid effects that only modify dice rolls. They are not fun and very easy to forget.

    Elements
    Spoiler
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    1. Flame: Deals fire damage to a single target.
    2. Burning Hands: Deals fire damage to all targets in a cone shaped area.
    3. Fireball: Deals fire damage to all targets in a radius around a targeted point.

    1. Shocking Grasp: Touch attack deals electricity damage.
    2. Lightning Bolt: Deals electricity damage to all targets standing in a straight line.
    3. Lightning Burst: Deals electricity damage to all targets in a cone shaped area.

    1. Resist Energy: Reduces all damage from an energy type to the target.
    2. Protection from Energy: Makes the target immune to one energy type until expended.
    3. Energy Immunity: Makes the target immune to one energy time for the entire duration of the spell.

    Wall of Stone: Creates walls and bridges of rock.
    Wall of Ice: Creates walls and bridges of ice.
    Cone of Cold: Deals cold damage to all targets in a cone shaped area.
    Grease: Makes the floor slippery.
    Fog Cloud: Creates a cloud of mist.

    Entropy
    Spoiler
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    1. Daze: Target loses actions.
    2. Sleep: Targets become unconcious

    1. Ray of Enfeeblement: Target loses strength.
    2. Hold: Target is paralyzed.

    1. Doom: Target is shaken.
    2. Scare: Targets are frightened.
    3. Fear: Targets are panicked.

    1. Vulnerability to Energy: Reduces chance to resist energy damage.
    2. Vulnerability to Magic: Reduces chance to resist spells.

    1. Draining Touch: Touch deals damage and invigorates caster.
    2. Remote Drain: Ranged attack deals damage and invigorates caster.
    3. Draining Aura: Burst centered on caster deals damage and invigorates caster.

    Life
    Spoiler
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    1. Cure: Restores hit points from injuries.
    2. Restoration: Restores all other kinds of damage like poison, disease, and the like.
    3. Revive: Brings a character back from the stage where cure spells no longer work.

    1. Entangle: Grass and roots slow down targets.
    2. Wall of Thorns: Plants grow to form walls.
    3. Animate plants: Plants animate and fight for you.

    1. Jump: Target can jump great distances.
    2. Haste: Target can move at great speed.
    3. Dimension Door: Caster can instantly jump to any place within reach and line of sight.

    1. Feather Fall: Negates falling damage.
    2. Levitate: Target can slowly move safely up or down.
    3. Fly: Target can fly in all directions.

    1. Summon Spirit I: Summons a weak spirit.
    2. Summon Spirit II: Summons a medium spirit.
    3. Summon Spirit III: Summons a strong spirit.

    1. Alter Self: Changes own appearance.
    2. Alter Others: Changes appearance of others.
    3. Polymorph: Turns target into a different creature.

    Spider Climb: Crawling on walls and ceilings.

    Spirit
    Spoiler
    Show
    1. Dispel Magic: Removes spells from a single target.
    2. Dispeling burst: Removes spells from all targets within an area.
    3. Spell Shield: Shields a single target from all spells.

    1. Charm: Makes the target treat you as an ally.
    2. Suggestion: Makes the target obey a single command.
    3. Dominate: Makes the target obey all commands.

    1. Hallucination: Makes a single target perceive an illusion.
    2. Mass Hallucination: Makes a group of targets perceive the same illusion.
    3. Illusion: Creates an illusion that is perceived by anyone who enters the area in which it is placed.

    1. Detect Magic: Detects auras of spells and magic items.
    2. See invisible: Detects invisible targets.
    3. Detect Spirits: Detects hidden spirits and demons.

    1. Blur: Target becomes camouflaged.
    2. Invisibility: Caster becomes invisible.
    3. Mass Invisibility: Targets become invisible.

    1. Detect Thoughts: Allows mind reading.
    2. Telepathy: Allows mental communication.
    3. Modify Memory: Alters targets memories.

    Light: Creates light
    Darkness: Creates an area of darkness.

    Animate Dead: Turns corpses into temporary warriors.


    Even with such a relatively low number of spells, I think this almost covers everything one could ever need.
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    Okay, I do have a bit of information on the cities. Not much, but you might be interested. And as I know myself, simply attempting to writing it down will probably double the content compared to what I have now.

    Since I often happened to drift away from the main concept and the settings gets more generic, I was trying to plan ahead what things I need and then fill out the spaces with detailed fluff. But I can confidently say that this doesn't work. I only end up coming up with things I don't care about. There are some constant things that make the list every time, and they also happen to be the same that I already wanted to incorporate before I made a list what it's needed. So know I'll simply start with those and see where that goes. As usual, things are not yet named, that will come rather later on.

    Sea Elf City
    This city is the largest in the Barbarian Lands after the capital city of the lizardfolk sun priests. It's greatly inspired by Aernal from Eberron, but without all the undead. Since I played Mass Effect 3, I also want to include strong influences from the Asari worlds, it seems to be fitting.
    The city is the capitol of a very large and powerful alliance of clans. The alliance is ruled by a line of high priestes of the primary temple in the capitol city and the current ruler is a very powerful female shaman. The temple sits at the highest point of the city at the base of a large mountain, which is regarded to be the home of the islands main spirit. It is both the center of the main religion of the alliance and the seat of the government. While the deity of the ocean is highly revered throughout the alliance, there are only three rather small shrines within the city where it is worshiped, which are mostly visited by sailors passing through the city.
    The city itself does not have a harbor, but connected to one of the island groups largest ports by a great road that takes about 4 hours to travel by cart.
    The city and the temple are unique in the regard, that they are the only elven settlement that has been handed directly from the fey to the elves without ever having been abandoned. The citicens of the city are the descendants of servants that worked for the fey lords that originally build the city. Many of the main buildings have changed only very little in the thousands of years that have passed since, and the original fey architecture can still be seen in many places throughout the city.

    Forest City
    This city is located in the center of the Nendaren Forest in the Southern Clanlands and the second largest elven city. As it is quite common for much smaller villages, the city consist almost entirely of buildings sitting in the branches of giant trees. In addition there are numerous wood and stone buildings on the forest floor that house storerooms, forges, stables, and other facilities that are impractical high up on wooden platforms. While many platforms are connected by rope bridges, it is often much more efficient to use the wide paved roads on the ground to get to more distent sections of the city.
    The cities main temples are the temples of the Earth and the Moon deity, which are located side by side in the same complex. They are ancient structures that have been build from extremely large slabs of stone with very simple technology, but are still by far the largest buildings in the entire city.

    Coastal City
    This city is located in the very northeast of the Southern Clanlands and is wedged between the Dragonspire Mountains and the Inner Sea. It consists of two major sections, the port in a large rocky harbor at sea level, and the mansions on top of a cliff more than 300 feet higher. While not as large as the Sea Elf city and the Forest city, this city is almost just as rich and possibly even more sophisticated. The mansions of the noble houses are the most luxurious in all the Barbarian Lands and the nobility is often regarded as slightly decadent by the people from other cities or castles. They are also a bit insular and not allowing most foreigners outside the harbor quarter. Only elves are usually permited to the noble quarter and occasionally there are rare exceptions for dark elves who have business there.
    The city has a very long tradition of sorcerers and many libraries that own rare and invaluable tomes of magical knowledge. The pursuit of the arcane arts has a very high status within the city and particularly among the high society. In their common quest for magical power, the people of the city are willing to make considerable sacrifices and it is one of the few places in the Barbarian Lands where warlocks do not have to fear persecution. While still regarded with great unease by the general population, most of the nobles and sorcerers don't care at all if one of their peers is widely suspected to be a warlock. This high tollerance towards dark sorcery puts a great strain on the relationships with the Forest city and the crystal caves, who both have taken a polar opposite stance. While the city states are not open enemies, there is always a lot of spying and conspiring going on behind the scenes.
    While it is mostly hidden from the general public and foreign powers, many of the powerful nobles suspect the queen herself to be quite active in the study of dark sorcery.
    In recent years a new group of criminals has been causing troubles to the established gangs of the underworld and it is rumored that some of the new groups leaders are possessed by demons, as there have been many reports of supernatural powers from higher ranking members.
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    I think that you should not limit yourself to three in each chain,for example it would make sense to add resurrection to the end of the chain that starts with cure. And branching also, forcing choices maybe, say choosing between clairvoyance or see invisible. Also maybe spells upgrade directly as a tangent to the chains, perhaps you could eventually upgrade from invisibility to greater invisibility or dispel magic to mordikine's (something like that) disjunction. So instead of learning new spells every level, you chose to advance a chain or spell or whatever else ends up in there to the next level if I am understanding this right.

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    Your spell lists ideas seem good, but there are a few holes.

    Elements; you need to cover water and earth some how (Cold and Acid?) Perhaps:
    1. Blast of cold (single target)
    2. Cone of Cold (cone)
    3. Sleetstorm (area)

    1. Acid Splash (one target)
    2. Acid Arrow (Damage over time)
    3. Acid Pool (Damage over area, if still in area take damage)

    Plus, add a special affect to each major elemental attack. Fire could be continued damage plus chance to ignite extremely flammable objects, or damage strength. Lightning could be arcing to nearby opponent or disarm or stun. Cold could be stun or slow or temporary Dex penalty. Acid could lower AC or damage equipment.

    Entropy, here are some suggestions to make your chains up to 3 spells.
    1. Daze
    2. Blindness/Deafness
    3. Sleep

    1. Touch of Nausea
    2. Ray of Enfeeblement
    3. Hold

    1. Vulnerability to Energy
    2. Vulnerability to Magic
    3. Reduce protections Reduce or eliminate resistances or damage reductions.

    Spirit/Life
    You should include the summoning of animals and undead somehow, although it may fall under summon spirit.
    Last edited by Omeganaut; 2012-04-15 at 10:05 PM.
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    I don't want it to get too complicated. Since it's mostly a low-level world, spellcasters won't have many spells known anyway.

    Summoning animals is something that always seemed odd to me in D&D. How do you summon them? Are they just in the area and come running to your call? How magic makes a demon appear from another dimension I understand (for some strange reason), but an animal is just an animal. Why would a spell teleport an animal to me and return it back fully healed?
    Instead I would go for animal spirits, that are mostly identical to animals in their abilities.
    Like in Skyrim:
    Spoiler
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    And for some reason I think I don't want acid spells. Acid is an elemental attack only in D&D. If there are earth element based attack spells, then they should be about smacking people in the head with stones.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-04-16 at 01:49 AM.
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Another idea for filling the gaps is connecting 2 chains, say obscuring mist and acid pool together could later lead to acid fog. (except no acid)

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    Where you diverge far from 3.5/Pathfinder mechanics is where you lose my interest, Yora, so I will refrain from commenting on the magic bits...

    The cities look good. Looking forward to seeing more.

    Unrelated, a thought occurred to me regarding the spirits. How, uhm, anthropomorphic/physical are they supposed to be? Do individual spirits have names? Is a shaman able to say e.g.: "I worship Aku the river god, whose domain is the River Ulien from the Big Waterfalls upstream to where it joins the River Kaidis. Aku prefers to spend his time in the form of a large salmon swimming the river, but can appear as a humanoid form of water should he so desire. He likes long walks on the beach the songs of maidens as they wash their hair in the river but forbids the use of soap, for it gives him headaches. I know this because he told me while I was doing my laundry." - or are the spirits more impersonal forces whose wills are completely alien to mortals and shamans merely attempt to interpret though omens in hope of favour?

    If the former, I would definitely like to see a couple of (more serious) examples of spirits.
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    Depends on the individual spirit, I would say. A spirit of a valley or a river that is the site of a village could have a quite personal relationship with the shamans. Or it may completely ignore everything as long as it gets a goat sacrificed every year.
    Spirits that live away from humanoid settlement would mostly be much more wild, not seeing any point in talking. But then you may have spirits of intermediate power and sentience that are all "I am the defender of this forest and I constantly patrol it to intereeogates all travelers who may be warlocks", while others are "I am a 800 year old tree."
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    More Cities:

    Shadow City
    This dark elven city is located within a cluster of large caves deep under the western Mahiri Jungles. The caves have relatively low ceilings for their large size and are dimly illuminated by blue or green magical flames. Large paved roads form a maze through the rubble of the uneven floor and connect the districts of the city. While many buildings rise two or three stories above the ground, large parts are carved into the solid rock floor and the sides of cave walls and underfround hills. Chasms and tunnels below the city are known to lead into the Underworld, but it usually takes a few days travel to reach these passages.
    The leadership of the city consists primarily of an order of sorcerers who have devoted a large part of their work to uncovering the mysteries of the Underworld and the Ancients, and shrines and tepels dedicated to these primordial spirits are common throughout the city.

    Vandren City
    This city is the largest human settlement anywhere in the Barbarian Lands, with the possible exception of the Crystal Caves, which also includes people from many other races. The city is located in the Southern Clanlands in the region between Nendaren Forest and the River Kaidis, east of the Cloud Peaks. It is build into the walls of four large sinkholes at the edge of a flat-topped hill, which serve as a natural city wall. The site had been the location for one of the very early Vandren settlements in the Barbarian Lands and has since grown dramatically in size over the following three centuries. Pretty much all trade between the Clanlands the Western Lands that is done on the land route passes by the city, which makes it an important trading center. The city is the only human one that can rival the major elven city states and the Crystal Caves, with it's king being one of the great leaders of the Barbarian Lands.

    Gnome City
    At the base of the Dragonspire Mountains north of the Nendaren Forest and a few days travel west of the Coastal City lies the largest gnome settlement in the Clanlands. Build inside the largest know cave on the surface of the Barbarian Lands with its south facing entrance above the canopy of the forest below, the city feels a lot more like an outside settlement than an underground city. While not particularly large and wealthy, the city is known for its magnificnent sight and sees some trade from connecting the Coastal City with the Northern Clanlands on the land route, though most goods are transported by sea, making use of the Coastal Cities large harbor.
    Spoiler
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    Barbarian Lands Art Gallery
    Since I get a great deal of the images that get me ideas for the setting from DeviantArt, I set up a gallery for pictures which I think illustrate and showcase the Barbarian Lands very well.
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    Creativity Time!

    Demigods, Ancients, and Demon Lords
    With the true deities being global ones, and the spirits worshipped in villages being local ones, I want to bring up demigods again to fill the space between them. Demigods are the most powerful of spirits that still exist in a way that enables communication with mortals. True deities won't even notice individual creatures, but demigods may even be able to act pretty much like people if they want to. While I want to get away from the physical gods of pretty much all D&D settings, there is also something cool about having kind of saints to ask for blessings for specific tasks. And I think here demigods might come just handy. I think many of them should have a regional focus, as all spirits have a physical home domain to which they are tied and their influence should be limited. To the ancients and demon lords, these limitations wouldn't apply obviously, and with some very powerful or abstract demigods, there can also be exceptions. After all, it's meant to be a world were people don't have much proof of how accurate their believes are. So if someone asks for a demigods blessing but is well outside its domain, he would never know that the call was unheared, and he also most probably wouldn't have any idea how large the domain of that particular demigod actually is. I think for most situations, it really should only make a difference if one is inside the immediate domain of a demigod, three days travel at the very most. Outside it's mostly believe and superstition to hope that a prayer will be recieved or have any help.
    Bad writers borrow, good writers steal, so this is once more a call for such beings created by other writers that may make a starting point for my own creations. Here are a few that I already have and I intend to turn into demigods for the setting.

    Tharizdun/Ghaunadaur/Juiblex: Different names, but all the same concept (with the later two possibly even the same being). An ancient primordial and shapeless being of chaos, destruction, and madness. Perfect for one of the Ancients that has an active cult going on among mortal worshippers.
    Graz'zt: Damn, I love that guy. A damn tall black man with spikes on his head, a huge sword, Charisma through the roof, and more spell-like abilities than you can count. Other demon lords want only decay and destruction, but Graz'zt is much more subversive and actually thinks before he does something. Maybe I just use him as he is without any changes at all.
    Dagon: The D&D version. A giant fish-squid monster of incredible age and infinite knowledge. He would make a great god for the aboleths, which I want to be the big tough guys of the Underworld.
    Eilistraee: An elven deity of the moon and fencing, also associated with music and hunters. I think she would make a great patron for an order of elven warriors in the Northlands.
    Grandfather Tree: A giant tree deep in the forest that is worshipped by Barbarians as their ancestor. Not much more about him on my mind right now, but I think I'll look him up in more detail later on to get more ideas.
    Lady of the Lake: Apparently some kind of nymph-queen from The Witcher game. The interesting part was, that she had a temple on a small island that wasn't much more than a sandbank with a few trees, where people from the villages at the shore of the lake would occasionally bring her offerings. That was a kinda neat location and would be an excelent case of what kinds of things I have planed for demigods.
    The Sea Elf God: As mentioned before, the Sea Elf City is ruled by a priestess of the main islands spirit, which I think would be a good candidate for a demigod itself. Though I think I'll have this one not assuming a physical form and instead only communicating through visions with the shamans while always staying inside the largest mountain.
    Erandis Vol: As much as I like the cult from Eberron, I never really understood what they were about. Erandis is cool, but I am mostly without a good idea how to make something like her into a demigod that fits the setting. Maybe I'll get something later.
    The Guardian Crystals: The main feature of the Crystal Caves are the six demons residing within huge crystals that contain their tained aura. While I didn't intend for any of them to be of demon lord level power, I think collectively they pretty much occupy the same role as a demigod.
    Hirsine/Malar: A god of the hunt which is all about hunting in any form. And not just hunting, but also the killing. I think it would make for an interesting and ambigous patron to invoke for everyone who is currently hunting something or someone. Cannibals and crazy cultists would worship it, but it might also be called for a blessing by people hunting a fugitive or even just searching for a missing person.
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    Oh my, over a full month without any updates to this thread. This needs to change quickly.

    Tomorrow.

    As some may have heard, the open playtest for 5th Edition started today. My first impression is "Exactly like 3rd Edition, but with only half as many rules". Which is pretty much what I ever wanted to have. Chance that Barbarian Lands material will use 5th Ed. stats by default about 80% I'd say.
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    Background Traits

    I've been thinking a bit about this and here's what I've come up with so far:

    Highborn
    Highborn are the ruling upper class of their societies. They are either noble houses or the most distinguished and wealthy families of the clan. All Highborn are expected to be educated and to know the customs of the upper class.
    Bonus to History and Political knowledge.
    Bonus to Diplomacy.
    Noble Blood: People who recognize your status will usually treat you respectfully and even offer food and accomodations to your and your companions when visiting their communities. Even if they have an unfavorable attitude towards you, most people will not risk the anger of their lords for being disrespectful to foreign dignitaries.

    ClansmanClansmen are the full members of the clans society, tracing their lines back to the clans founders. Their families own most of the land surrounding the community and contribute the majority of the clans warriors.
    Bonus to Perception.

    Freeman
    The Freemen are commoners who live under the rulership of chieftains and are working land owned by the clan families, and are making up most of the populations of free towns and cities. As freemen usually own no land, many of them are craftsmen or servants to highborn houses and clan families. The richest and most powerful freemen families in the cities sometime attain the status of highborn.
    Bonus to Trade.

    Lowborn
    Lowborn are the poorest of clansmen and freemen, or slaves onwed by the higher classes. They have no political or commercial power, perform most of the hard labor in their communities, and are only very rarely accepted among the clans warriors.
    Bonus to Animal Handling.

    Outcast
    Outcasts are banished from their clans and unable to find any chieftain or wealthy townspeople who would offer them protection. As banishment is one of the worst punishments reserved for major crimes, few people trust outcasts, forcing them to survive on their own or seek out others of their kinds.
    Bonus to Deception.
    Bonus to Perception.
    Bonus to Stealth.
    Bonus to Survival.
    Amidst the Shadows: You know how to recognize the places where hidden business is done and to spot the people who are involved in secret activities. You also know how to approach them and being granted access to the secret society that is hidden away in the dark alleys and below the streets of most towns and cities.

    Hermit
    Hermits have given up and rennounced all affiliation to their former clans or other organizations, devoting their entire lifes to the pursuits of higher goals and interest. Hermits either live alone in seclusion, or form small orders that exist outside the rules and duties of clan society. Many hermits are witches or druids, but some have devoted themselves to the attainment of wisdom and spiritual enlightenment.
    Bonus to Diplomacy.
    Bonus to Magical knowledge.
    Bonus to Religious knowlege.
    Free Passage: As a hermit, you stand outside the constraints imposed on the rest of society. Even as a stranger you will find hospitality and you can freely walk among people of any social status and recieve an amount of trust usually reserved to the members of the community.

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