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  1. - Top - End - #361
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    While I realize that you go for fluff before crunch, I have to say those seem extremely unbalanced. Lowborn could have an HP bonus, Freemen could have a craft bonus or a diplomacy bonus. Clansman should have a weapon proficiency, martial for classes with simple weapons and exotic for classes with more weapon proficiencies. Just make sure you balance so that everyone isn't just a noble, or outside the system entirely.
    I have returned, and plan on focusing on world-building. Issues are being dealt with.

    Quote Originally Posted by MesiDoomstalker View Post
    Thread won! I don't think I have the authority to do that but whatever

  2. - Top - End - #362
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    I like this.
    Maybe the two factions that i made for Shneekeythelost's campaign setting would fit here. the gods are his makeing.

    Let me show introduce you to:

    The Yellow Warriors of the Mighty Sun
    and
    The Marine Combatents of the Watchful Moon

    Spoiler
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    Both factions are religously bound, as they belive that long ago Solomark the god of sun and honour sent his Greatest warrior, The Paladin, to fight Markaranak's Champion, the Hexblade (a better version of it).
    The Paladin killed the Hexblade, but died from the poison the HexBlade used.

    So the YWotMS built their castle where the clerics ''throw a flower up the air and wher they fly is the diraction of the sword because flowers mourn the Paladin'' technique led them, and the MCotWM built their castle* using the smae technique about a day of ride distance from the YWotMS castle unknowingly.

    So they fight for many reasaons:
    1) Since the Paladin and the HexBlade died near each other, they fight about the location of the swords
    2)They are moral enemies: Honor vs. Deception.
    3)The yellow warriors use fire, while the marine combatents use ice.
    4)Dignity- they will never forgive the other for killing their champion.
    5)The large similarity: "you stole our idea!" "no you stole ours!"

    *Barely a castle, more like a large stone house with court, blacksmith, stables, shrine, barracks and some farms, surrounded with a small wooden palisade with battlements and a few towers.

    Among the factions there are minor orders:
    The yellow warriors have:
    The Golden order:Brave and manly Paladins.
    The Rays of Solomark: Clerics of holy stuff.
    The Blazes of his rage: Wizards specilaizeing in fire

    The leaders of each order compete and the winner is the Grandmaster of the yellow warriors, the advisor of the King: THe descendent of the Paladin

    The marine combatents have:

    The blades of the moon:Hexblade order with no codes of honor.
    The light of Markaranak: Peacefull clerics
    The night freezers: Wizards of Ice.

    They have a King who is the descendant of the HexBlade and the three leaders of the orders manage diffrent aspects whithin the kingdom.

    each side has villages loyal to it, and they provide food and soliders for the endless battles with the enemy.

    A Solomark Paladin is a lawfull barbarian. nothing more.
    a Markaranak HexBlade is a hexblade wearing medium armor and uses posion and dirty tricks.


    The lands between the two factions are filled with either monsters eating corpses or Armies fighting. Armor and weapons may be looted from the corpses without need to worry about the monsters, as they will be gratefull when you take the non-food off the food.

    An erudite dudebro.

  3. - Top - End - #363
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    You sure this didn't accidentally end up in the wrong thread? Not that I'd mind, but this comes a bit out of nowhere.
    Quote Originally Posted by Omeganaut View Post
    While I realize that you go for fluff before crunch, I have to say those seem extremely unbalanced. Lowborn could have an HP bonus, Freemen could have a craft bonus or a diplomacy bonus. Clansman should have a weapon proficiency, martial for classes with simple weapons and exotic for classes with more weapon proficiencies. Just make sure you balance so that everyone isn't just a noble, or outside the system entirely.
    I'm still aiming in at thematic themes, definitive hard stats will come later when I know what kind of numbers I am actually working with.

    But making the lower castes viable and interesting has proven to be difficult under any rules system I've been dabling with. Nobles and warriors are easy, and outcasts living in the cracks of society also provide lots of hooks.
    But regular farmhands and household servants? They just don't bring any special talents that would benefit in an adventurers life.

    Just giving them lots of minor bonuses is one way to level the field a bit, but I always feel like that's a cheap solution. You still don't get anything that shines and causes rules bloat.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-06-05 at 03:36 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #364
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    A sudden moment of inspiration:

    The Dark Jungle

    The Dark Jungle is a demiplane of the Spiritworld that connects to an area in the eastern reaches of the Mahiri Jungles.

    The Dark Jungle is a large valley surrounded by steep hills and clifs, entirely covered by tropical trees, ferns, and vines. The valley can only be found without magical help at night when the sky is completely black and no moon is out. During these times it is impossible to tell the boundaries between worlds and most people who travel through the remote region set up camp before nightfall and will not leave their fire until dawn. Inside the Dark Jungle, there is no day and night, only the stars in a perfectly black sky without any moons.

    The Dark Jungle is the domain of a demigod naga said to appear as a gargantuan black snake with obsidian scales and the face of a dark elf. She is worshiped by some naga sorcerers but does not have any minions of her own in her realm. However, there are all kinds of reptilian beasts making their home in the valley, preying an smaller animals that have found their way inside the Dark Jungle during starless nights, and the ocasionall unlucky wanderer.

  5. - Top - End - #365
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    So is this an every new moon the drow and/or lizardfolk cult to this naga hunts intelegent captives realised into this demiplane kind of thing, or whenever there is a cloudy night, trvellers wander in and are never seen again as their souls are slowly consumed by this ancient spirit kind of thing?

  6. - Top - End - #366
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Is the obvious "snake on a plane" joke there intended or accidental? I approve either way!
    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    This is a D&D web forum. There's more cheese here than there is in France.
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    Ancients

    I've been spending some thought on the Ancients the last days and think that's a good area to do some work. It's more conceptional and does not require working out anything specific at this point.

    To refresh this subjects, I think the best way to deal with supernatural beings is to treat spirits, ancients, and demons as basically the same thing. Life force taken form and creating consciousness. Demons are the standard type that inhabite the universial Void in which all the universes of the Material Planes exist as bubbles of matter and laws of nature. When the Material Planes first start to form they are very similar to the raw Void and demons can pass in and out of them, but as the differences increase, the borders between the world become (almost) impassable. The beings formed from the life eneries of the new Material Planes are the Ancients, who are different from demons, but still share some similarities. As the Material Planes continue to change, so do the energy beings which eventualy became the spirits. But deep below the ground conditions have barely changed at all and the spirits of these regions are still very much like they had been aeons ago. Some of the most powerful even managed to continually persist through the aeons, hence all the spirits from deep below the ground are called the Ancients.
    (A special case are the deities of the Earth and Darkness, which have changed into spirits but originally had the nature of Ancients, which very few people know about.)

    Maybe the most important or at least prominent of the lesser Ancients are aboleths. Also there are theit scum servants, which they create by mutating captured people from the surface world.
    Doppelgangers would fit great, but it begs the question why they look humanoid and have the ability to mimic humanoids when there are almost no humanoid creatures inhabiting the underworld. But then, having an illogical creature that makes only sense in regard of the surface world might not neccessarily be a bad thing for aberrations. (Or as Keith Baker reportedly mentioned in regard to Eberron, it's not the question of why daelkyr look like humans, but why humans look like daelkyr.)
    I also like the unfortunately underrepresented Phasms. Shapeshifting slime is awesome.
    I like umber hulks, but I don't really know what to make of them other than large wildlife. But you do need those as well, same goes for carrion crawlers.
    Also the Underworld needs gibbering mouthers. Because, let's face it, they are shoggoths.
    Derro also should be right at home in the Underworld. Cannibalistic albinos and so completely insane it's even one of their special powers. Whether or not they are native or mutated gnomes probably just get left open and unanswered. I am not completely sure about grimlocks, though. They would make decent enslaved humans that were left wandering the Underworld, but I'd rather like to limit the number of humanoid races to a reasonable number and there's already so many of them all over the place.
    Also worth mentioning are goblins and fish people, whether you call them Deep Ones, Murlocs, or whatever you like. They are very old humanoid races and the only surface creatures that have any experience with traveling to the Underworld. However, they are still natives of the surface world and part of "normal" nature.

    Going into more obscure creatures, I also have Tsochars in my sight. They are a race of sentient eels if you will, which connect together to form a shared neural network that is capable of conscience as a single mind. They then crawl into bodies of larger creatures and take them over. Since they are already considerably big, it can get a bit like the alien roach in Man in Black wearing the Edgar suit.

    For the Great Old Ones I already have a few candidates in my sight. The main concept is something similar to the Daedric Princes from The Elder Scrolls and Eberrons Cults of the Dragon Below, or the Twilight Hammer Cult from Warcraft. Not completely evil, notout to destroy the world, but even more alien than spirits in general. And unlike demons, they are part of the world. However, they are much more rarely encounterted or even heard of by people from the surface world and only worshiped by small, isolated, and extremely weird cults.
    I want Tiamat, the ancient divine five headed dragon. It's a leftover from very early first drafts, but I love that deity and even though dragons themselves are not Ancients and I don't plan on Tiamat to be the creator of dragons, I just think she would fit in well. Or at least I want to get her to fit. There also happen to be five types of dragon in the Barbarian Lands, just of slightly different color.
    Also Dagon. In D&D he's a demon, in Lovecrafts world he's a giant alien thingy. I think there's a good place for a giant ancient fish-squid thingy inhabiting the deepest oceans of the spiritworld.
    And lastly Tharidzun. There's nothing generic about him and it will be a straight ripoff with just a different name. But he's the coolest god from Greyhawk and I think he's great and would just fit very well.

    That's what I have in mind right now and toying with. Some thoughts and ideas from you are as always appreciated.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-06-17 at 02:46 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #368
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    What, no tentacleface mind flayers?
    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    This is a D&D web forum. There's more cheese here than there is in France.
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Mind Flayers are too obviously Dungeons & Dragons and nothing else.

    Which is also true for aboleths, but they are cooler and less popular.

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  11. - Top - End - #371
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Now following
    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    This is a D&D web forum. There's more cheese here than there is in France.
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    Nobility, Offices, and Social Structure

    I've been working on systems of noble ranks and court officials, but my historic research didn't get me anywhere. There's only some vague speculations that are just as good as my own at best. But if experts don't know, than anyone else doesn't either, and I just can make stuff up.
    At least, evolution of social divisions is a bit of a speciality of mine that I picked up at University.

    I think there should be several different systems according to the ethnic groups:
    Wood Elf Society
    Dark Elf Society
    Lizardfolk Empire Society
    Western Human Society
    Arctic Human Society
    Gnome Society
    Kaas Society

    These would have to be reasonably well established.

    Origins of Society
    The basic idea is that the societies of the humanoid people began when the fey people abandoned their castles in the World of Mortals and humanoids could move freely through the regions that were previously too dangerous, but also had all the good farmland. The nomadic family groups would eventually gather in these places and start their own small farms.
    Some of these farms would turn out to be more successful, which made their inhabitants more healthy and better at fieldwork. With a surplus of food and manpower, they could invest time into developing and improving their techniques and expanding their fields. Families that were doing not so well would marry off their children to families with enough food to feed some more mouths, or would seek out employment on these bigger farms. At the same time, people would see that they had a much better chance to survive raiders and wild animals if they banded together, becomming to large a force to easily attack and rob. This would result in the first villages, in which those farms who had the most strong fighting men and who could share some of their food during hard times would have the most power. The large farms can do fine with one or two small farms cutting ties with them, but the small ones could not afford to be on their own. Villages within a valley would form ties with each other and many of these valleys would band together in bigger alliances that would become the Clans.

    Ranks and Offices
    Headman: The headmen are the representatives of their villages. They are commonly elected through consensus by the heads of the most wealthy farms to deal with things that affected the village as a whole, often for a specified period like one of five years. The major factor to be elected the headman is to have respect and influence in the village, which usually means to have a large farm and taking an active role in the community. A headman does not have a special residence but lives on his own farm, which is usually located near the village center. Anyone who is the head of a family can become the headman, but Lowborn people almost always lack the respect to be considered a worthy candidate, unless they are very well known for their great wisdom and often asked for advice.
    Sub-Chief: The sub-chief is both an office and a rank. The duty of sub-chiefs lies mainly in overseeing the security in one part of the clans territory at behalf of the chief, training and equiping warriors, patrolling the surrounding lands, and maintaining fortifications. While mostly defined by their duties to the chieftain, most sub-chiefs come from an old local warrior family that holds the office through many generations. In theory, chiefs can remove their sub-chiefs from their office, but if they refuse to give up their position this always carries the risk of other sub-chiefs siding with them, greatly damaging the chiefs reputation and inviting challengers to the leadership of the clan. As a result, sub-chiefs can be highly autonomous, but if they push their disobedience too far, they force the chief to remove them to protect his power.
    Sub-chiefs have to be at least Clansmen though many of them are Highborn as well and in fact make up the majority of the Highborn class. Sub-chiefs will often reside in small castles but if their families are particularly rich landowners they may also live in their family estates. Towns usually form near or around these castles and estates.
    Chief: Chiefs are the leaders of their clan, having a claim to their power by being the head of the largest and wealthiest family in the clans territory. Even more so than the sub-chiefs, chiefs need to have a direct line to the founders of their clan as their role often is ceremonial as well. For most clans, their shared identity comes from the original agreement that the clans founders made with the major spirits of the clans territory when they first arrived in the region. While the position of the chief often changes between families, they all need to be regarded as descendants of the founder or at least one of his companions who arrived with him in this land. Outsiders can later join the clan and live on its territory, but for the original pact with the spirits to be maintained, the clan leader must be the descendant of one of the people who made the pact.
    High Chief: In the last couple of centuries, since the fight for farmland came less pressing and power struggles shfted to control over trade and rare goods, single clans often have it found impossible to defeat and protect against their enemies, leading to the formation of many alliances between clans. In many cases, these alliances would include many clans of very different size and power, effectively making the smaller clans vassals to the more powerful chief. Usually this would result in the allied chiefs selecting one of them as their military leader, who would become the high chief or king. Since their role is mainly military, high chiefs generally don't interfere with the internal affairs of the other clans of the alliance, but they often have the power to make very considerable demands of the other chiefs is it is considered neccessary for the military readiness and the defense of the alliance. The position of the high chief depends entirely on the acceptance by the other chiefs. While there is some chance that a high chief can force a smaller clan to remain in the alliance through military action and replacing its chief with another sub-chief, this is very rare and risks the entire alliance falling apart. It does however happen quite frequently that the chiefs will not elect the heir of a former high chief to be their new leader and sometimes there are even new elections while the high chief is still alive. In those cases, there is usually a lot of plotting and conspiracy in secret, often for years in advance.
    Supreme Chief: In some cases chieftains can become so powerful that they will even get other high chiefs to swear allegiance to them. These leaders are called Supreme Chiefs and there are currently only two in the Barbarian Lands.

    Marshal: Since chiefs as political as well as military leaders, they often have to deal with a lot of everyday management and legal matters. The marshal is one of his advisors who exclusively deals will all military matters. He oversees the readiness of all the clans troops, keeps track of the forces of enemy clans and manages the defense of the chiefs personal lands, just as a sub-chief. However, he is usually given authoritiy to speak on the chiefs behalf in all military affairs, making him superior to the sub-chiefs. While most marshals are brothers or cousins of the clans chief, they can be from any background, but being given this position automatically elevates them to the rank of a full Clansman.
    Seneschal: The counterpart to the marshal, the seneschal is the main advisor and deputy to the chief in the administration of the clans territory. Many chiefs prefer to only be given regular updates of the state of the land and leaving most of the day to day work entirely to the seneschal. Accordingly, the position includes tremendous amounts of trust as any mistake or threachery can cause much greater damage than the most incompetent marshal.
    Magistrate: A magistrate is an official, usually appointed by the chief, who is the judge for all criminal trial within one district of the clans land. Magistrates are not common in all societies and their duty can be performed by the elders of a village or a sub-chief.
    Constable: Constables are found almost only in towns where they are in charge of the town guard. They are equal in rank with the other Lieutenants of the local sub-chief.
    Shaman: Virtually every community has a shaman. In very small and isolated places this duty may fall to the head of the family or his wife, but most villages have a dedicated expert who deals with the spirits of the surrounding fields and forests. Since the duty of a shaman include the protection against misfortune and the breaking of spells and curses, they are often trained healers as well, since both activties often go hand in hand. Because the tasks performed by the shaman are vital to the village, shamans always have at least one apprentice. In larger communities, apprentices my be much more numerous and rivial or even exceed many village shamans in magical power, but they all follow the head shaman as assistants. Only in the largest towns and cities can one find shamans working idependently of each other.

  13. - Top - End - #373
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    After updating the Barbaripedia, the archive is now in an ugly white as it seems I have to rebuild the skin. I may do that tomorrow.
    On the other hand, the update was neccessary to enable a new feature that will allow me to add In-setting quotes to articles, since all official knowledge will be limited to what people in the world know to keep up mystery and uncertainty. And then I'll be able to work off all those ideas I've piling up.

    Next will probably be an introduction into the fey civilizations of the past, of which there are no written records but many surviving ruins and artifacts.
    Here a little preview:
    "Three Stone Arch Society" A type of ruin that features characteristical doorways that use the same technique as in stone arches, but consist of only two slightly inward leaning "posts" and a single "beam" at the top. These buildings use very large stones of random sizes and shapes but with perfectly flat surfaces that fit together seamlessly. Similarly, buildings usually have a square base and a flat roof, becomming slightly narrower towards the top. Ruins of this type are the most common the the eastern Shenna'hir forest from the Dragonspires to the Witchfens.
    "Twisted Spires" These are probably the oldest and by far most alien looking ruins anywhere found in the Barbarian Lands. They appear as if molten rock had been pulled out of the ground like soft clay or very sticky gruel, to harden into tall pillars of solid rock. In addition, they all have a slight twist causing the ridges and furrows on the outside to spiral towards the top, which is often jagged as if the upper end had been splintered. On the inside, all rooms are carved out of the solid stone and still have flat surfaces and sharp angles that any gnome mason would not be able to improve on much. The outsides of the towers usually have balkonies and turrets added to them from different types of stone, but it is unkown id they were build by the same people who carved the rooms or maybe even errected the spires.

    Update: The page should now be working again. See the main page for direction to refresh the site with the changes taking place.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-07-11 at 01:31 PM.

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    The finishing touches on the Barbaripedia are comming along nicely. After enabling quoted text, I now also managed to make simpel stat blocks for creatures.

    When you enter this:

    Code:
    {{creature|name=Test Creature|xp=99.999|size=very big|type=thingy|senses=all of them|speed=yes|sa=yes|str=10|dex=15|con=4|int=11|cha=7|skills=Coding +2}}
    You get what can currently be seen on the Template Test page.

    And it's really quite nice work. If you specify {{creature|subtype=subtype name}}, Instead of Size type you see Size Type (substype). And the line Special Attacks only appeared because there is actually something in {{creature|sa=something}}. In fact, there is also a line Special Qualities that would appear if you add sq=something.

    However the ability scores and particularly their modifiers turned out to be quite a lot of work.
    Each line of code for each ability score looks like this:
    Code:
    <b>Str</b> {{{str|10}}} ({{#ifexpr: {{{str|10}}} > 9 |+}}{{#expr: ({{{str|10}}} -10.1) /2 round0}})
    - When you don't enter anything for str=something, then it will be 10 by default.
    - You can't tell that thing to round down. By substracting 10.1, a 0.5 that would be rounded up becomes a 0.49 that is rounded down.
    - Usually it does not give a number as +X, so I had to add the plus sign with {{#ifexpr: {{{str|10}}} > 9 |+}} If str=something is bigger than 9, then a plus sign is added. If it is not bigger than 9, nothing happens.
    - I had to repeat that |10 part that means "if str=something does not exist, use 10" because of the order in which the software checks things. I think it checks what value str= is, but does not find anything because the value for str= will be defined later, then substitutes 10, finishes that part of code, then defines str=, goes back to the formula to replace 10 with the actual number, then finishes what will actually be shown.

    The only problem that remains that +0 is still shown as +-0, because -0.1 rounded to a full number is still negative.

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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    The Barbaripedia pages have limited stat blocks as well.

    Bone Golem
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    A bone golem is a magical creation made from the bones of large animals and monsters and animated by a spirit, usually of the earth. Despite their appearance they are not undead and not subject to any effects that specifically target such creatures, but since it is not alive either, it shares many of their immunities.

    Combat
    Like all golems, bone golems have no self-awareness and simply do what they have been ordered by their masters within the limits of their intelligence. Usually they are commanded to stay in place until an intruder passes inside the border of the area the golem protects, or when someone touches certain objects within the golems vicinity. When activated, they attempt to crush any intruders with their fists and feet until all enemies are dead or have fled a certain distance from the golems protected ground, after which they will resume their old position.
    If controlled by their master, bone golems can attack or ignore specific targets directly. Unless ordered to stop or retreat, golems always fight until they are destroyed.

    Habitat/Society
    Golems are artificial magical creations, usually made by powerful shamans or witches. They are usually employed to guard secret vaults or shrines, since they need neither food nor sleep and can stand on guard for years without any rest. How they react to any creatures comming near them depends on the orders their masters have given them.

    Ecology
    Bone golems are made from any types of bones and horn available to their creators and can take almost any shape their creator wishes. Often they are made from the bones of large animals found near the place of their creation, but many witches and shamans go to considerable trouble to get mostly complete skeletons of fearsome monsters to make their golems. Mixing the bones of two or three creatures is very common, though.

    http://barbaripedia.eu/index.php?title=Bone_Golem

    Wood Golem
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    A wood golem is a magical creation made from wooden logs and vines and animated by a spirit of the earth or water. Even though they appear like living plant creatures, they are not really alive and immune to many effects that can harm living creatures.

    Combat
    Wood golems have very limited self-awareness and usually do what they are told by their masters without any hesitation. Since they are made from flamable and degradable materials they are usually created for specific purposes and a limited amount of time, which makes them less useful as guardians for hidden vaults or tombs. However, the spirits bound to them are given a greater amount of freedom than in other golems, which enables them to not attack at the very first signs of an intruder, but to watch for a few minute and wait for a good opportunity to strike or allow targets to leave the protected area before revealing itself. Also, the spirit retains a small amount of intstinct of self preservation, which can cause a wood golem to flee instead of fighting until it is destroyed.

    Habitat/Society
    Wood golems are most often found in woodlands, where there is planty of material to make them and they can blend in with the environment. They are usually made by groups of shamans as protectors in times of great danger or to assault strongholds of the shamans enemies.

    Ecology
    Like all golems, wood golems do not require any food or sleep, but when made from freshly carved wood they can slowly regenerate damage when standing in water. When left unattended for a long time, they will eventually start to rot, first losing their resistance to piercing and bludgeoning weapons, and finally collapse.

    http://barbaripedia.eu/index.php?title=Wood_Golem
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-07-16 at 11:56 AM.

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    Yeth Hound
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    Yeth Hounds are evil and dangerous spirits that roam the Spiritworld and the Shadow World, and can ocasionally be found in the World of Mortals in places where the influence of the Shadow World is strong. The appearance of a yeth hound is that of a large black dog the size of a pony, but with an almost frail looking and suprisingly light body. While very few people ever get a good close up look at their faces, their heads are of a much smoother shape than dogs or wolves and more resembles a hyena, though some have even described their faces as almost human-like. The ears of yeth hounds are very long and pointed, making them appear like horns when viwed in front of a lit background.

    Combat
    Yeth hounds are always seen or heard only during night and never stay outside close to dusk or dawn. With their ability to magically fly, they can be almost completely silent and their dark color makes them very hard to spot except under a full moon. They usually hunt in groups of three to nine, silently gliding through the shadows until they pick up the trail of potential prey. Their most dangerous power is their barking and howling, which though sounding similar to dogs can cause great terror even in the strongest and most hardened warriors. Unless they are particularly hungry and desperate for food, yeth hounds use this ability to send their prey into panic and single out one or two targets which they will chase until they collapses from exhaustion. Unless slain or driven off, only the approach of dawn can make a pack of yeth hounds abandon their hunt.

    Ecology
    While they seem to be perfectly at home in the Shadow World, yeth hounds appear to be actually native to the Spiritworld. While they eat any kind of meat, yeth hounds highly favor to hunt both spirits and mortal humanoids, with shie and pixies being especially highly prized by them. As much as the flesh of humanoid creatures, they enjoy the hunt and the chase and prefer to let their prey run and allow it some moments of respite, only to stir it up again with their howling until it can not run from them any longer. Sometimes they appear to lose track of time and have to abandon their hunts as dawn approaches, though some people have voiced the suspicion that they do it deliberately to spread tales that it is possible to outrun them if one can manage to stay ahead of them for long enough.

    Society
    Being almost invisible and completely silent when they chose to, almost nothing is known about the behavior of yeth hounds when they are not attacking their victims. It's even hard to estimate the size of their groups when hunting, but about three to nine individuals seems to be the most likely number. There are some stories of particularly infamous and cruel shie lords who keep yeth hounds in their castles in the Shadow World, but it is unclear if they are trained guard and hunting dogs, or merely share homes for mutual benefit.

    http://barbaripedia.eu/index.php?title=Yeth_Hound

    These are one of those creatures that have always been one of "those critters in the 3rd Edition monster manual that never showed up anywhere and most people forgot exist". But with clearly putting them in the spiritworld and putting other spirits on their list of prey, I think they can become quite interesting and maybe even iconic critters.
    And fighting with them would be totally like that first ringwraith encounter in the Lord of the Rings movies.

  17. - Top - End - #377
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    There is a certain chance of getting repetitive about this, since I think I did this step already two or three times, but I really love refining the creature list for the setting, since together with classes and equipment, it is one of the major factors of how players experience the world in a different way than description text of what they see.

    As it so happens, there's also a new D&D 5th Edition article that describes http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20120723]their current modell of creating monster stats.
    It sound really quite simple:
    - Decide at what level adventurers would usually encounter a common individual of the monster and if it would be alone, a pair, or a small group, to determine how strong the overall result should be.
    - Set Ability Scores as fit, with everything above 18 being really exceptional. So I guess no level 5 earth elementals with STR 25 or level 7 succubusses with CHA 26.
    - Hit Dice do not provide a Base Attack Bonus or Base Save Bonuses. If you want to increase these, give the creature a special trait like "+2 to Horn attacks" or "+3 to Constitution-saves".
    - Hit Dice mostly set number of hp. No sure what else they do. Constitution-modifiers are added to the total of hit points, not added for every hit dice seperately.
    - Decide on an AC for the creature and give it fitting armor or set a natural armor bonus. Even though it's not realistic, creatures always only get the better of the two when wearing both, it's not added together. But for a game that's just fine and makes things simpler.
    - Customize with special abilities like "Bonus to attacks with claws", "bonus to Dexterity saves", "bonus to Tracking skill", "half damage from fire" or special attacks like "Sneak Attack", or "Berserker Rage", or any new ability you can think of.

    Apparently you're then given a set of guidelines to determine a good XP value for the final result.
    I think this sounds really really fast once you've made a couple of fighter, rogue, and wizard characters to see what ACs they can hit at given levels, what Wisdom-saves they are able to make successfully, how good their chances are to not being hit by a creature with a certain attack bonus, and how much damage they can take without dying. Once you figured that out, making a monster could be as quick as 5 minutes.

    So far, I kept my monster creations rather generic to make it easy to convert them to different rule systems. But with 5th Edition monster creation as it is know, it really sounds like there's only filling in the numbers that's left.

    So now, here is the current creature list for LotBK, which I think is pretty much final. Maybe a few additional animals for interesting wildlife, but I don't think there will be any significant additions or removals of creatures that in some way take active roles in the events of the world.

    Names in italics are placeholders.

    Humanoids
    • Dark Elf: Dark grey skinned elves from the southern lands. Living in underground homes during the day, they are out in the jungles during evening and night. Unlike wood elves, they have Darkvision instead of Low-light vision, but are more sensitive to bright sunlight than most people. Like wood elves, they are resistant to enchantments.
    • Fish People: These humanoids live mostly in the deep seas but also in flooded caves that are connected to the oceans and in shallow costal waters. They can breath in water and air, but dry out when out of water for more than a few hours and become ill with no access to salt water. They are not very smart and often servants to aboleths and krakens.
    • Gnome: Gnomes are about 1,20m tall and often build their homes and castles partly or entirely burried in the ground or carved into mountains. They have darkvision and are resistant to magic and poison.
    • Goblin: Goblins are small humanoids with green-grey skin. They live mostly underground and are one of the very few races that often travels between the mortal world and the underworld, often being hired as guides who know the deepest parts of the world.
    • Harpy: Harpies are 1,50m tall humanoids with feathers instead of hair and wings in place of arms and to finger claws at the joints, that make for reasonably good hands. Their feet are like those of hawks.
    • Hill Giant: Hill giants are tall humanoids that stand over 3 meters tall. Even though many look rather thin, they are as strong as trolls.
    • Human
    • Kaas: Kaas are 2 meters tall humanoids with short brown fur, dark brown manes, and sharp teeth. At home in the northern mountains, they are very good climbers and are also resistant to fear.
    • Lizardfolk
    • Merfolk: Merfolk have the upper bodies of humans and the lower bodies of dolphins, but are fully amphibious and can breath in sea water as well as air.
    • Mountain Giant: Mountain giants are 4 meters tall humanoids that quite closely resemble oversized humans. They live mostly in mountains and in smaller groups than hill giants.
    • Nezumi: A race of short humanoids who appear similar to humanoid weasels, dogs, and rats. They live in forests and often make their homes in the trees and are very good and fast climbers. They are sometimes seen in the cities of other races and using their tools or weapons, but their own villages are more primitive than those of other humanoid races.
    • Sahuagin
    • Spiritfolk: (Genasi) These people are descendants of mortals and spirits, usually shie but sometimes nymphs and demigods. They often show clear association with one of the elements, making them tall and strong when descended from an earth spirit or agile and able to breath under water when descended from a water spirit. There are a few clans that have spirit ancestors which can still be seen in the oldest families, but many of them are single individuals.
    • Tiefling: These are mortal humanoids from bloodlines strong with demonic influence. Many are descended from mortals who have lived in demonic realms in the void. Tieflings have Darkvision and are resistant to fire, ice, and lightning.
    • Troll: Trolls are big humanoids with powerful bodies and thick grey skin. While they are very strong and tough, they are not very smart, but also not nearly as dumb as many people think.
    • Wood Elf: Wood elves have light brown skin and hair ranging from dark brown to red and dark blond in some southern clans. They have low-light vision are are resistance to enchantments.


    Animals
    • Giant Beetles
    • Giant Centipedes
    • Giant Mosquito: (Lvl 3, groups of 5) These insects grow up to the size of a hawk or a cat and they hunt by killing their prey with their poisonous bite before draining their blood.
    • Giant Snakes
    • Giant Spiders
    • Griffon
    • Hippogriff
    • Owlbear
    • Wyvern
    • Giant Ant Lions: (Lvl 2) These large burrowing insects can be found in many of the warmer and temperate parts of the barbarian lands, often in places where there is no thick forest.
    • Pack Lizard: (Lvl 1) These large reptiles are strong and relatively slow, standing not very high but having a wide body. They make perfect animals to carry loads or pull heavy carts.
    • Riding Lizard: (Lvl 2)These reptiles run on two legs and have a long neck. Even though they are predators, they can be domesticated and trained as mounts for cavalry by lizardfolk and dark elves.
    • Cliffrunner Lizard: These large reptiles are relatively slim with long and suprisingly strong legs, that allow them to climb on almost vertical surface (and even overhangs, if they can find cracks to hook their claws into). They do so at amazing speed rivaling mountain goats, which they use to great effect to ambush their prey, which can be as large as, and also including humans.
    • Bull Hyena: (Lvl 6)These giant predators resemble huge sand colored hyenas with shaggy fur that are larger than the biggest tigers. They are at home in the great plains to the east, but are sometimes encountered in the Border Hills and the river valley that connects the Barbarian Lands to the Eastern Lands.
    • Wolf Hyena: (Lvl 2) These animals look like a cross between a hyena and a grey wolf, but happen to be much smarter than either.
    • Giant Sloth: (Lvl 8) Only somewhat related to the other species of sloths found in the southern jungles, these animals are huge predators with giant claws.
    • Dragonhawk: (Lvl 4)Dragonhawks blends both features of birds and flying reptiles, being covered in red, yellow, and green feathers and having sharp and strong beaks and claws. They make very fast flying mounts for light riders, but can not carry great weights with them.
    • Shriek: (Lvl 1, groups of 4) These small monkey-like creatures look a bit like starved baboons or mandrills with very flat faces and long manes, but no tails. Their fur is usually a bluish grey, but can sometimes range from almost black to light grey, with the mane usually significantly darker than the rest. They can be extremely agressive when any large creature comes anywere near their nests or lairs, often to the point that many of them are killed before they flee from a fight. Onlike true monkeys, they can be found almost anywhere on the mainland of the Barbarian Lands, up to the edges of the Witchfens.
    • Swamp Spider: (Lvl 6) These giant grabs have extremely long legs, making them stand up to 6 meters tall. Their pincers are relatively small and only suitable to carry killed prey to its lair, but the front legs end in very sharp and hard spikes, which it uses to impale prey and attackers. They can easily navigate swamps and other wetlands with their long legs and often stand motionless between birches, which can make them almost invisible when the main body is hidden by the canopy.
    • Swamp Squid: (Lvl 5) These animals seem to be related to giant squids, but have relatively smaller bodies compared to their tentacles. They are a greenish grey in color to better hide in swamps and marshes and can move through quite shallow waters no more than a meter deep.


    Monsters
    • Basilisk
    • Black Dragon
    • Bronze Dragon
    • Green Dragon
    • Manticore
    • Red Dragon
    • Remorhaz
    • Silver Dragon
    • Worg
    • Giant Weasel Hound: (Lvl 5) These beasts are huge, combining the body of a weasel or otter with the legs of a dog. They have very strong sense of smell and sound, which allows them to hunt in conditions of very poor visibility and to get close to their prey without being seen.
    • Shadow Mantis: (Lvl 4) These large creatures have bodies very similar to a praying mantis, but also have the natural ability to be almost invisible. Their rippling outlines can be seen in bright sunlight, but in shadowy places there is almost no way to see them with normal vision or darkvision. Being a perfect predator, these creatures are quite smart and can slay almost anything from ambush.


    Undead
    • Blighted Creature: Blighted Creatures resemble skeletons of zombies but instead of being made from humanoids or animals, they are made from the remains of plants.
    • Ghoul: Unlike most undead creatures, ghouls have never actually died. Instead they are mortal humanoids who have been corrupted by taint and turned into bloodthirsty savages.
    • Ghost: A ghost is the spirit of a mortal creature that does not dissolve and remerge with the life energies of nature after the body has died. There are a number of reasons for this, but willpower alone is not sufficient, usually powerful magic of some kind is involved. Ghosts are the only undead not directly connected to taint, but more often than not the conditions that created a ghost are also a source of taint. Usually a ghost will die like any other soul once finally destroyed, but in some cases they become full spirits instead. (Such ghost lose the undead subtype and gain the spirit subtype instead, and they lose most of their special abilities like possessing the bodies of other humanoids or causing panic with their mere presence.)
    • Shadow: Even though they are not particularly rare as undead go, shadows are barely understood and the most mysterious type of undead. Some speculate that a shadow is what remains of a tainted creature when the bodie reverts to the elements and the life energy of the spirit remerges with the life force of nature, leaving the tainted life energy behind. Though none of them have any idea why the tainted life energy would remain in a coherent form.
    • Specter: Specters are like ghost, but it is not their own motives and desires that cause their souls to haunt the world of the living but an outside force. They are often found in larger groups that haunt a greater area, often the places of great disasters or catastrophes, or are the victims of a much more powerful presence that is the source for the curse. Specters have only a few traces of memory of their former live and few own motivations, and usually are not very intelligent, simply attacking any living intruders to the places they haunt.
    • Skeleton: Skeletons are created by infusing the bones of dead mortal creatures with tainted life energy, creating a primitive form of a spirit that animates and controls it. They have no real minds of their own and are controlled by the will of their masters, but can act without direct control within the commands imprinted to them.
    • Wight: A weight is a mortal humanoid who has been entirely overcome by the currupting effects of taint. While a sudden exposure to a great amount of taint usually kills the person and may turn it into a zombie or ghoul, wights are created from a constant exposure to taint for many years or even decades. Most wights are warlocks or other demonic servants who were eventually consumed by the Void energies they controlled.
    • Wraith: A wraith is a tainted spirit of a mortal being that has been stripped of its material body. Though the have some resemblance to ghost and spectres, their nature is actually closer to that of wights. If a shadow is the taint that remains when the spirit has died, a wraith is a spirit that has been entirely corrupted and completely tainted.
    • Zombie: Zombies are merely the bodies of dead humanoids and animals filled with enough tainted energy to cause it to move again. But since there is no spirit inside of them, they have no minds and simply react or obbey magical commands without thinking. Zombies can be made on purpose by warlocks, but also can arise purely on accident when a corpse is exposed to a great amount of tainted energy, either by having been killed with tainted magic, or lying in a highly tainted place.


    Constructs
    • Wood Golem (Lvl 6)
    • Ice Golem (Lvl 7)
    • Clay Golem (Lvl 8)
    • Stone Golem (Lvl 9)
    • Obsidian Golem (Lvl 10)


    Spirits
    • Air Elemental
    • Drider
    • Earth Elemental
    • Fire Elemental
    • Lamia
    • Nymph
    • Oni
    • Pixie
    • Rakshasa
    • Shadow Mastiff
    • Treant
    • Water Elemental
    • Winter Wolf
    • Yeth Hound
    • Forest Imp: (Lvl 1) These tiny creatures appear like hairless monkeys with large black eyes and long pointed ears. They dress in simple closes made from plant fibers and sometimes use small knives and spears made from stone chips. They are easily started and almost never fight, but tend to know a lot of what is going on in their part of the spiritworld and can be valuable sources of information. However, getting them to share their knowledge is often a highly difficult and frustrating endavour.
    • Forest People: (Lvl 3) These spirits appear like tall slender humans or elves, but can only be mistaken for them at a distance, as their skin tends to be in shades of green or blue and their hair is perfectly black. Their faces are almost emotionless and they are not fond of any visitors, both mortals and other spirits. While not out for mischieve or destruction, they can be quite difficult to deal with since they will hide or chase away intruders without listening to their pleas.
    • Greenghost: (Lvl 4) This spirit appears like a floating ball of vines and leaves that appears to have light shinnig through small gaps from its center. Most of the time, they are invisible, lurking on the border between the Spiritworld and the Shadow World. They are enigmatic even to other spirits and can be quite dangerous when they chose to attack other creatures, which makes them only partly visible and it requires magic to see their true form.
    • Kitsune: (Lvl 6) Kitsune are shapeshifting fox spirits that can change between the forms of foxes, humans, and a foxlike humanoid. They have a very great talent for magic and most of them are witches, with many of the most powerful witches in the worlds of both mortals and spirits being kirsune. Most kitsune seem to be female, but it's not clear if male kitsune are rare, or if they can change between them as well.
    • Naga: Naga are snake spirits that can vary quite considerably between groups and individuals. Most are large green snakes with human-like arms and slightly human looking faces, but there are many variances between coloration, size, and the form of their heads. Greater naga resemble snakes even more, differing in appearance from ordinary giant snakes only by their heads. They are not only larger than common naga, but also have much greater magical powers, with the greatest of them being true demigods.
    • Raptor (Lvl 5) These spirits resemble humanoid birds with two wings, two arms, two legs, and the heads of hawks. Their feathers are usually clored on patterns of red, grey, brown, and black. Possessing very accurate eyesight, they are great archers and can shot their bows even in flight. Despite their majestic appearance, they among the more cruel and violent of the spirits and have very little regard for other creatures. Thankfully, they are usually solitary and almost never hunt in groups.
    • Root Dwarf: (Lvl 3) These forest spirits are about as tall as gnomes, but much heavier without being fat. They make their homes under the roots of great trees and are both the protectors and servants of their spirits. They are not great talkers to the point of appearing rude, but usually are not overly hostile to strangers unless their tree appears to be threatened.
    • Shie: (Lvl 2) The shie have a great resemblance to mortal humanoids, appearing similar to elves that stand almost 2 meters tall. However, there are numerous differences about them, like hair and skin colors, body shape, and other more magical attributes. The most common strands among their kind are Earth, Fire, Forest, River, and Wind, which are quite easy to spot for people who are used to the differences. But there are other less common strands as well. Along with the naga, the shie have created the greatest civilizations of spirits and their ruins can be found in many places of the mortal world.
    • Spirit Beast: Spirit beasts are animal spirits that often are aspects of the local spirit of the land. They appear like large and powerful animals with the ability to speak and intelligence above humans, and often have distinct markings on their bodies, which clearly set them apart from other animals. They are often accompanies by lesser animal spirits, which may be able to talk or not.
    • Spriggan: (Lvl 5) These forest spirits appear as tall and slender androgynous humanoids that on closer expectation appear to have a skin made from wood and hair made of leaves. Somewhat related to treants, they can merge with the forest itself and are not much interested in talking, which makes them appear more malicious than they actually are. Hoever, they are not fond of any intruders into their forests which appear to cause trouble and have more than ample means to deal with them as they see fit, possessing the ability to call wild animals and animate roots and branches to trip or strangle their enemies.
    • Thorn Beast: (Lvl 7) These spirits have bodies roughly similar to very large and powerful lions made from plants, but no faces except for a maw of sharp teeth. Often in the service of demigods and more powerful spirits of the land, they are usually seen when they are send to deal with more capable intruders.
    • Titan (Lvl 14) Titans are probably the most powerful spirits of nature short of the demigods, though many of them are devine as well. Rarely seen, they usually appear like gargantuan humanoids made from stone, both powerful and graceful and rough and elegant, standing between 8 and 12 meters tall. They are never found outside the spiritworld and often live in groups of about 10 individuals, making them the undisputed lords for all the lands as far as the eye can see.
    • Wisp (Lvl 1) Wisps are small and simple minded spirits that appear like no more than a small globe of light, often which a slight green or blue hue. Usually simply minding their own business in places strong with magical energies, they are often used by more powerful spirits as sentries and scouts.
    • Wolf-People: (Lvl 1) These creatures are animals spirits inhabiting humanoid bodies. While they appear like half-elves of various types of stature, they have the ability to change their shape into that of an animal and a hybrid form, which is almost always the same animal for all the members of a group. While it is not uncommon for such creatures to be born as children to others, they can also be made by allowing an animal spirit to permamently merge with a humanoid being. They become a single inseperable mind and over a couple of month the humanoid body changes so it becomes mostly impossible to tell whether it was originally an elf, human, or gnome. (Stats will probably be identical to lycanthropes, just without transmission by bite.)


    Ancients and demons follow later.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-07-23 at 11:54 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #378
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Next Step: Structuring the Content

    As great as barbaripedia is as an archive to collect information on a given topic, it's not a good way to introduce people to a setting. For that I still think the good old "source book" layout still is the best way to do it. A simplefied summary that you can read through end to end and then you have what you need to know to run a Barbarian Lands campaign. Barbaripedia really is more to get more deeply into specific things or to clear up things you're not entirely sure about. But it has no structure with no direction where to start and what you need to know and what you could use for specific adventures.
    Also, the best ideas always come while I'm writing, so Barbaripedia has to step back for now and I want to concentrate more on the basics.

    The first step for this is to come up with a basic structure what content is required and how it should be ordered.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Player's Manual
    This book holds most of the crunch. Stats for races and classes, the backgrounds and themes of the setting are explained, and the equipment and spell lists.
    • > Character Races
    • Elf
    • Gnome
    • Human
    • Kaas
    • Lizardfolk
    • Nezumi
    • > Character Classes
    • Barbarian
    • Fighter
    • Ranger
    • Rogue
    • Sorcerer (Shamans and witches, we'll see how this will eventually be handled.)
    • > Backgrounds
    • Highborn
    • Clansman
    • Freeman
    • Lowborn
    • Outcast
    • Monastic
    • > Themes
    • > Allegiance
    • > Equipment
    • Armor
    • Weapons
    • Tools
    • Animals and Transport
    • Services
    • Potions and Elixirs
    • > Magic
    • Basics of Magic (Explainations of magical energy, spellcasting, and so on.)
    • Spells


    Campaign Setting
    This is where most material is located. It includes all the information available to most people inhabiting the Barbarian Lands.
    • > Races
    • > Society
    • Social Status
    • Villages
    • Towns
    • Cities
    • Trade
    • > History
    • > Geography
    • > Organizations
    • > Magic
    • > Other Worlds
    • > Spiritworld
    • Shie
    • Naga
    • > Shadow World
    • > Underworld
    • > The Void
    • Demons


    Game Master's Manual
    Some players want to read everything about the world their characters live in, but there is no need for them to read about all the things their characters can't possibly know. That stuff is located here. Even game masters don't have to read all of it and may only read the parts they need for their current adventure and campaign and still can have all the suprise when playing in campaigns run by other GMs.
    • > Artifacts
    • > Organizations
    • > Locations
    • > History
    • > The Spiritworld
    • > The Underworld
    • > The Shadow World
    • > The Void


    Creature Manual
    Monster stats and description, in the style of 2nd Edition D&D Monster Manuals.
    • > Humanoids
    • > Beasts (Anything that does not belong to the other groups.)
    • > Spirits
    • > Demons
    • > Ancients
    • > Undead
    • > Plants & Oozes
    • > Constructs

    What's your thoughts on this? Would you do something different?

  19. - Top - End - #379
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Settlements

    The Conan d20 RPG has an interesting system of making settlement type independent of population size. Mechanically it really doesn't make any difference, but like Allegiance, it is a very useful storytelling tool to make the world come to life.

    {table=head]|Hamlet|Village|Town|City
    Deserted|2-10|25-100|250-1,000| >2,500
    Sparse|5-20|50-200|500-2,000|>5,000
    Low|10-50|100-500|1,000-5,000|>10,000
    Average|20-80|200-800|2,000-8,000|>20,000
    High|50-100|500-1,000|5,000-10,000|>50,000
    Very High|80-200|800-2,000|8,000-20,000|(>80,000*)
    Overcrowded|100-400|1,000-4,000|10,000-40,000|(>100,000*)[/table]
    *Do not exist in the Barbarian Lands.

    A settlement of 300 people can be an overcrowded hamlet, low population village, average village, high population village, and deserted town based on the infrastructure of the settlement. A village with housing space for 500 would be half empty. One with housing for 200 would be extremely crammed.
    The settlement catogory indicates the infrastructure that would support an average sized population in normal times.
    The population density indicates how well the infrastructure can support the population.
    A density above high means the demand is greater than what the existing infrastructure can handle. A density below low means that there are not enough people to maintain the infrastructure

    Settlement Category
    Hamlet: A hamlet is a small cluster of farms that usually is home to 10 to 100 people and can often be found within a hours walk of a larger settlement. Farms usually band together for protection against bandits and to maintain shared irrigation canals or a mill, which would not be possible to build for a single farm, and very often neighbors help out when one farm needs additional help because of a case of illness or injury. Hamlets have neither a formal government, nor any stores, but travelers might be able to stock up their food supplies or use a small forge to repair broken equipment.
    Village: Villages have populations of 100 to 1000 people and usually form the heart and center of the farmsteads in the surrounding area. Most villages have a formal elected representative but major decisions are still made by common consensus of the farmers. In the center of a village, one will usually find a tavern that often has a few small rooms to rent to travelers, a blacksmith, and a store that trades in all the goods that farmers often need but don't always make themselves, like ropes, pitch, wax, oil, cloths, buckets, pottery, and so on. A shrine to the local spirits of the land can usually be found at the edge of the village or a short walk of a few minutes away from the village itself. It is very rare for a shrine to be located among the homes of the villagers.
    Most villages have a militia of about 20 to 50 men who are trained with weapons and often also have leather armor and better. Larger villages may have an experienced warriors as a constable who deal with brawls and troublemakers, but usually it takes up to an hour to get the militia assembled in times of danger.
    The largest villages are often the seat of the local sub-chief who rules over the surrounding lands. While he and his warriors usually do not work in the fields, most own very large farms that can be home to more than a hundred people, including the sub-chiefs extended families and his servants and slaves. In more dangerous regions, his own is often a small hill fort right at the edge of the village.
    Town: Towns mark a significant change to the life that most people in the villages know. Ranging in size from 1,000 to 10,000 people, the society of towns is decidedly different from life on farms. While virtually all towns are surrounded by dozens of villages and hamlets within a days travel, there are generally no farmers living inside the towns at all. Instead they are home to craftsmen and merchants, as well as the people supporting them, like innkeepers, scribes, physicians, alchemists, and musicians. Since the thousands of faces offer a certain degree of anonymity and there are always large numbers of foreign travelers passing through, towns are also home to thieves and other criminal. While outcasts with no clan affiliation never find welcome in villages, towns at least tolerate their presence, though they are usually among their poorest inhabitants. Unlike villages, towns have their shrines usually within the settlement itself, mostly out of purely practical reasons. However in most places, it is customary to have the shrine grounds to be surrounded by a wall at least 10 yards from the shrine building away, which makes the shrine still clearly visibly separated from the rest of the town. In some towns, there is also a temple to one or several of the greater gods that are held in high importance by the clans people.
    Towns are almost always entirely surrounded by wooden palisades and more often than not have a solid stone keep, which is the home of the local chief or a particularly powerful sub-chief. Towns also have standing armed forces consisting of the lords warriors. In many cases it is customary that there are two or three trusted veteran warriors who maintain the peace inside the town with small groups of hand picked warriors under their command, while the rest of the warriors patrol the surrounding lands and guard the keep.
    City: The city is by far the rarest type of settlement and there is only a small handful of them in all. Cities are quite similar to towns in many respects, but often of a significantly larger scale and several times bigger. Home to tens of thousands of people and destination of dozens of merchants every day, and usually being the center of great kingdoms, even clan affiliation holds a much less important role than it does in any other places. Unless there are specific feuds between clans, people are mingling with each other regardless of race and without caring for each others clan. Most cities are governed by councils composed of its most powerful inhabitants. Often the local heads of major clans, but also merchants who have made it to incredible wealth without powerful supporters behind them. While clan affiliation plays a relatively minor role, people are still very much aware of social status, and it makes a major difference if you are one of the rich merchants and nobles, the craftsmen and shopkeepers, or the poor workers and beggars. Quite often, a persons wealth and sophistication becomes even more important than in the towns and villages, as some would rather forsake their fellow clansmen than to risk their reputation among the powerful of the city.

    Population Density
    Deserted: This settlement is basically abandoned and the few remaining inhabitants can no longer maintain the infrastructure. Even though it still has the size of a city, treat it as a settlement one category lower.
    Sparse: These settlements are struggling to keep their infrastructure maintained and sometimes entire sections are falling into disrepair or are already collapsing. Many of the goods and services one would expect from a settlement of this category are no longer available.
    Low: Settlements of this type have a lot of open space and a number of vacant buildings, but its people are still able to maintain the infrastructure and services that one would expect of a settlement of this category.
    Average: The average size for a settlement of its category as one will find in most places.
    High: Building space is scarce and accommodations often small and expensive, but otherwise these settlements have no major problems with supplying their people with necessary things and keep business running as usual.
    Very High: Settlements with such a dense population are at the limit of what they can handle. Housing and inn rooms are hard to find and at times it can be difficult to get enough food for everyone.
    Overcrowded: This settlement has been flooded by protractors or refugees. This status is usually only temporary and the number of people will either go down again after a short time, or the settlement will adopt to its new size and move up by one category.

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    Homebrew Class: The Witch

    This is of course not finished and you can't legally copy-paste the content of the 5th Edition playtest. But being disatisfied with the wizard, sorcerer, and warlock classes, I came up with my own idea to combine aspects of these three classes.
    And it's actually quite interesting:

    • Basic Statistics are based on the wizard class.
    • Witches have cantrips like all arcane spellcasters, which is two level 0 spells that can be used without limits.
    • Witches gain training in one Knowledge skill: Ancient Lore, Magical Lore, Natural Lore, or Spirit Lore.
    • Witches use the power-point based spellcasting of sorcerers. However, they get as many spells known and the maximum spell level from the 3.5e psion class. Spell-points are calculated to emulate the spells per day of the wizard.
    • Witches also have a grimoire, which is based on the Ritual Magic ability of the warlock. It's a book that holds spells that the witch does not have as one of the spells known, and that have a ritual version. The ritual version of certain spells allows the spell to be cast without having it prepared or known, and instead require expensive material components and 1 minute casting time.
    • Witches use the wizard spell list.


    In the current playtests, the sorcerer is much more like a psychic warrior or dragon disciple. However, I want a wizard who uses spell points instead of spell slots, and taking sorcerer spellcasting on wizard class features seems like the way to go.
    The Ritual Magic of the Warlock is just a very sweet bonus. I've been thinking of something like that for years, but when the 5th Edition PHB already comes with ritual versions for all spells that can use it, that makes everything a lot easier.
    Ritual spells are stuff like alarm spells and divinations, which one may use once in a while but are really not worth it to take as one of the spells known as a sorcerer.
    And I think grimoires are awesome pieces of treasure. When you lose one or get your stolen, it's not a big problem, because it doesn't affect your normal spells that you can cast on the fly. It'll be expensive to get a new one and some of the most rare spells might be quite difficult to find a new copy for. But when you can steal one, it's really cool treasure. You even can have quests to steal the grimoire of a villain to get the counterspell to one of his magical weapons.

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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Wait, where are you getting the sorcerer and warlock classes from? I'm in the playtest as well and the latest version I've seen only includes the four basic classes (cleric, fighter, rogue, wizard).

    Edit: Nevermind, found it with some googling.
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    Recently I've been thinking about finalizing names, and Lands of the Barbarian Kings really was mostly a working title to remind me what the essential elements of the setting are supposed to be. After all, you can't really call them barbarians when these people are the most civilized cultures that ever existed in the world.
    And actually, I think the original name still seems quite appropriate and sufficiently snappy: The Ancient Lands. The world is very old with a very great amount of prehistory, but it is also still quite wild and primitive. I don't think I'll ever come up with anything better, especially as there is already a setting named Wilderland.

    I have about 40 ideas for settlements for which I have decided where to put them and what they are about, and since the best ideas appear when you write things down, here they are.

    Ancient Lands Settlements

    Cities and Towns of the Far North
    Clansmeet: (Town, 9,000 kaas) This large town lies in the center of the plains that are the homeland of the kaas, in the very Northwest of the Ancient Lands. Despite its size, it lacks any walls or wooden pallisades, as building material is scarce, and none of the clans could ever gather enough warriors to challenge the towns defenders. It is only surrounded by a wide ditch that is impassable for carts or pack animals carrying loads. No single clan controls the town, but its council of elders is entirely dominated by the three largest and most powerful clans of the area. The town is a major center of trade and a vital part for the survivial of all the plains clans. Without the trade comming through its markets, most villages could not survives and the plains inhabitants be forces to return to an entirely nomadic life like their ancestors of ancient times.
    Whitemount: (Town, 8,000 elves)In the hills that seperate the Witchfens from the lands of the kaas lies the largest elven settlement in the Northlands. Located between three low peaks, it overlooks the Witchfens to the East and offers a clear view for miles. The town is almost entirely made out of white stone and protected by stone walls, which make it appear more like a small city than one of the farming towns of low, half-burried huts, that are the most common the Northlands. To people from the large towns and cities of the Central Lands, Whitemount is known as the only island of civilization beyond the edges of the large forests that dominate the Ancient Lands.
    Mountain Fortress: (Town, 6,000 kaas) This massive fortress is located high up in the mountains that define the northern borders of the Ancient Lands. It is the home of an entire clan of kaas, who control the surrounding lands for several days of travel and who are widely considered to be the greatest warriors of the Northlands.
    Ice Sea Port: (Town, 5,000 arctic humans) Where the path that leads through the northern mountains ends at the shores of the northern arctic sea, the semi-nomadic human clans have build their largest settlement. With the tundra being a soggy bog for large parts of the year, transport between the villages is mostly done with longboats and kayaks along the coast, and this port town is the only one that has a road that leads to the southern lands. Basically all gods that enter or leave the tundra pass through this town.
    Witch Hill: (Town, 3,000 fen humans) Near the center of the Witchfens, not far from the road that leads from the pass through the Northern Mountains to the southern lands, is one of the major centers of the elusive human savages of the Fens. The town lies at the foot of a prominent hill, that is one of the main ritual sites of the witches that govern their society, from which it gets its name. While the humans have few contact with other people, it is assumed that the witches of Witch Hill are either the official leaders of their religion, or at least carry significant inofficial authority. There are few visitors to the town, but at least the locals do not attack strangers on sight, which seems to be the cast with a very large number of their smaller settlements.
    Pass Town: (Town, 2,000 fen humans and elves) At the foot of the northern mountains and at the beginning of the trail that leads over the major pass to the arctic tundra lies a small trading town. It's economy depends entirely on traders travelling over the mountains, by supplying them with food, repairing carts and wagons, replacing lost horses, and providing local guides.
    Shaman Camp: (Village, 800 kaas) In the very northernmost Border Hills, which form the western border of the Ancient Lands, is one of the main spiritual centers of the kaas. However, its shamans belong to a small minority that has dealing with the ancient spirits of the underworld and the Void beyond the worlds, which makes them highly suspicious and untrustworthy to most of their people.
    Ice Lake Village: (Village, 800 arctic humans) This village is located on the banks of one of the many shallow lakes near the coast of the arctic sea. A small river connects it to the sea, which allows boats to travel to other villages in the region. There is nothing particularly special about it and it is examplary for the settlements of the local humans.
    Stonespire Keep: (Village, 600 fen humans) In the northern parts of the Witchfens, about one weeks travel from Whitemount, lies an old fey tower that rises high above the surrounding lands. There is probably nobody who really knows what it's originalpurpose was, but a clan of the local human barbarians has made its home around it and inside the lower halls, and its shamans have been trying to uncover its secrets for decades.
    Frozen Keep: (Village, 500 artic humans) Not far from where the mountain pass opens into the open tundra lies an ancient fortress that has been carved into the black rock of the mountains. It is the home of a group of renegade shamans who have turned to demonic magic, and their followers, who are despised by most of the local human clans.
    Oakridge Village: (Village, 250 arctic humans) Unlike most settlements of the humans that are at home in the arctic tundra, this village is located high in the foothils of the mountains and the local people make their living from hunting bears and mountain goats instead of fishing and herding reindeer. Protected from the storms by steep mountain walls on either side, it is like an oasis in a frozen desert, being home to numerous ancient oaks that are rarely found on this side of the mountains.
    Ranger Keep: (Village, 200 elves) In the very south of the Witchfens, just barely within sight of the edge of the great forests, lie the ruins of a small keep, hidden and protected by a group of low hills. The ruins are home to a camp of elven rangers associated with the elven settlements a few days travel to the south. They serve as their eyes beyond the edge of the forest and ocasionally clash with the witches of the fens, who are constantly keeping track of the elves activities as well.
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    Cities and Towns of the Great Forest
    Border Hills Gnome City: (Town, 9,000 gnomes) Located in the remote Border Hills, that separate the Ancient Lands from the open plains to the West, lies the largest gnome settlement in the known world. Only a few hundred yards into the mountain lies a group of massive caverns whose lower walls are packed with the houses of the gnomes. Only relatively small parts of the houses are visible from the outside as much of the rooms have ben dug and carved deep into the rock. Below the city lies one of the greatest iron mines in the Ancient Lands and the steel the city produces is of such a quality that many merchants make the long track around the Great Forests to get it.
    Great Lake City: (Town, 6,000 elves) Wedged between the Withfens in the Northwest and the Great Forests in the Southwest lies a wide open land of flat open ground, broken up by lots of lakes and rivers that make their way to the sea in the East. While just as sparsely inhabited as the Witchfens, it is still home to one of the major elven settlements in the Great Forests region. Located on the shore of one of the largest lakes stands a tall white keep that is surrounded by hundreds of smaller homes and buildings of all sizes. Just a few miles from where the road from the artic lands and through the Witchfens meets the road that connects to the Border Hills and the lands of the kaas in the West, the city is the major trade hub that connects the Northlands to the southern parts of the Ancient Lands.
    Giant Pine Town: (Town, 4,000 elves) Located between the road that connects the Northlands to the South and the the coast to the East lies the home of one of the most powerful elven clans in the Great Forests. Sitting on a hill that is covered in giant pines, its location can be seen from many miles away, even though all the buildings themselves are hidden from sight.
    Elven Cave Town: (Town, 3,000 elves) A few days travel north of the gap between the mountains the separate the Great Forests from the Central lands lies this elven stronghold. Unusual for an wood elven town, it is located largely underground, but tree large cave openings allow its inhabitants to see traces of daylight even in most of the deepest sections.
    Lonely Port: (Village, 800 elves) This large village is the northernmost port of the Ancient Lands excluding the human villages of the arctic tundra beyond the northern mountains. Only very few traders attempt the sea voyage to the arctic sea so usually this port is the ending point for any journey along the coast where sailors resupply and turn around for their home ports. There is some whaling and fur hunting in the area, but even those attract only a small number of merchants.
    Rockhome: (Village, 600 spiritfolk (earth)) Somewhere deep in the Great Forest lies this village that is home to strange people. Originally one of the human clans that came from the West some centuries ago, this group did not follow the main route south of the Cloud Peaks through the Central Lands, but went north straight into the Great Forests. They never tell outsiders what happened to their ancestors there, but they never made it to the elven lands where human mercenaries where in high demand and instead mixed with earth fey. Barely recognizable as humans anymore, they are of very large size and have grey and brown skin and possess remarkable strength.
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    I added some green color to the Barbariapedia. Looks a lot more interesting, I think.

    The Humanoid Narrative

    I've been thinking that the setting really needs a kind of underlying narrative. The setting is intended to not have an actual story that shapes events, but there still needs to be something that the inhabitants use to make sense of their world and bringing order to it. And creating narratives seems to be in the nature of the human brain. Things don't just happen and people live from day to day. There are clearly defined factions that are each working towards some kind of goal, which is the reason why people build settlements, create armies, and work to gain power.
    And so here is what I've got so far:

    - In the Ancient Times, shie and naga build great castles in the world of mortals and kept mortals as slaves or forced them to hide in the wilderness.
    - When the fey castles were abandoned the mortal races came from their hiding places and either discovered some of the fey knowledge or learned it from former slaves. With it, they could become more than cave men as they had always been before.
    - The mortal races carved out their tiny strongholds which are surrounded by endless wilderness, that is full of dangerous monsters and spirits. Their warriors are constantly fighting and endless battle to keep the wilderness out and prevent their islands of civilization from disappearing.
    - Also, there is a constant threat of demonic curruption, both from the Demons of the Void and from the Ancient Spirits of the Underworld. Even when the wilderness is kept at bay, the curruption can always take a hold in their own midst and consume the strongholds of civilization from the inside.
    - Both the battle to keep the wilderness in check and to supress the taint of curruption are eternal. There is no enemy that can be defeated and bring permanent victory. It is the nature of the world itself, that forces the defenders of civilization to always fight on.
    I think this is the core essence of what the entire setting is about. However, I'd like to use it as a starting point that can be expanded to add more facets to the greater picture. And here I'd really like to hear some of your ideas that come to your mind when reading this.

    Underworld Cults Narrative
    - Cults that worship the Ancients of the Underworld have a different view on the world: In their oppinion, the civilized strongholds are a futile attempt to fight the very nature of the world. It's a permanent battle that can't be won but very easily be lost. The spirits of the surface world can be powerful allies, but they also appear and disappear again and again over the eons. Instead, they turn to the spirits of the Underworld, which they believe to be eternal, having existed from the beginning of the world until it's eventual end. By worshiping the Ancients, the cultists hope to not neccessarily attain individual immortality, but for the mortal races to become part of the permanent constants of the world, impervious to the eternal changes and battles of the surface world.
    Warlock Narrative
    - The world itself is only a temporary annomaly in the eternal existance of the Void. Material World pop into existance at random, remain chaotic and everchanging for some billion years, and then vanish again leaving no trace behind.
    - However, during the existance of the Material Worlds, there are some limited ways for things to enter or leave it. If anything in the Matrial World is going to be relevant, it has to leave this temporary world and move to the void.
    - Sorcerers seek out contact with the Void and its demons, as these interactions will still affect the Void even after the material world has vanished without a trace. It makes them part of something bigger and eternal, which can not be done within the confines of the material world.
    - Many are primarily interested in the power over other mortals that can be gained from demonic energies, but in theory most warlock philosophy is based on the idea to make the short existance of the material world matter as much as possible for eternity.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-08-27 at 06:17 AM.
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    I like this, especially the last two passages. Giving warlocks and cultists philosophies and motives like these makes them much more believable than just saying "some people worship the Ancients" without explanation. Would like to see further exploration of this topic, personally.
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    Both were actually just formulated while I was attempting to put the very basic and general premise into words.

    But I think this is as much as I got for now.
    I think emphasising the constant struggle to keep the centers of civilization from collapsing instead of having things revolve around control of rare resources gets a much better impression of what the ordinary PCs are dealing with.
    I think where there still is a clear white spot is in regard to the future. A permanent struggle for the survival of cultures is a starting point, but I think some kind of look forward should also be there. Not becomming masters over all of nature, that certainly doesn't fit the setting. And I also dislike growth and expansion for its own sake.
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    Here is an idea, based on Mass Effect. Instead of a permanent state of maintaining what civiliziation there is, there could be a repeating cycle of failure and new attempts. But every time, the result is a little bit better than the last time.
    A constant process of self-improvement, both as indivdual people and as entire cultures. Which I think fits well with the aspect of moral ambiguity. While PCs are supposed to be flawed and subject to the prejudices of their cultures, players are also supposed to strive for improvement. Not that they arrive somewhere and everyone is happy and there is no more conflict, but the underlying assumption that the current state of things can be torn down and replaced with something better. Like removing a bad ruler and replacing him with someone a little less bad. Or sparing a villain and making him do something useful.
    And on a larger scale, settlements and whole cultures emerge and disappear over and over. New settlements are founded all the time, others get abandoned, and some are built upon by latter inhabitants. There are signs of earlier settlements everywhere, that can be explored or also serve as reminders that everything gets eventually replaced by something else.

    But in the long run, it's about civilization as a whole surviving against the dangers of the Wilderness, under the assumption that the present is at least somewhat better than the past, and that things will be somewhat better as time goes by. Nothing radical, like suddenly democracy breaks out, but a feeling that everything new that is build is temporary, but does help a little bit in the long run. As opposed to "we keep on surviving as long as we can".
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    So it is sort of like the American pioneer days, but without the option of going back home to New England? The sort of influx of people trying start new lives, but often failing or giving up, littering the landscape with ghost towns and dust covered homesteads, but eventually you get California out of the deal (not necessarily a big improvement, but still better than starving on a dryland farm)?

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    Very generally speaking I'd say kind of yes. However, from what I have learned, the american colonization had a very strong image of expansion and taming the land, and it would always go further west until you reach the goal of the Pacific.
    Which in this case wouldn't apply. There is just not nearly enough people to completely control just small parts of the region. There is no goal to be completed and expansion itself is not much of a concern. It's difficult enough to keep population levels and the number of settlements stable. Instead, progress would clearly be quality over quantity. Better defensen than the last village in the spot, better growth of crops, and better coordination and exchange with other settlements in the area. When in one spot a village failed and some decades later someone tries to build a new one in the same place, the idea is to make this one last much longer and offer more safety and comfort to the people.
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    I'm afraid I am kind of stuck when it comes to creating the worlds history. The current state of things, like powerful factions and control over areas, should be connected by events of the past and not just exist in a vacuum.
    But I find it really hard to come up with any real good stories.

    Very early on, lizardfolk shamans led a revolt against their naga overlords and turned the capital city into the large temple city it is today.
    Some 400 years ago, lots of human mercenaries were hired as caravan guards and auxilaries and they eventually settled down in the region.

    But apart from that, I really have no ideas that are in any way interesting.
    Maybe add a purge against warlocks here and there, but that can be made a big deal only two or three times.
    All the big fantasy histories are all about some super evil almost consuming the world, which I specifically don't want to have.
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