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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: [PF] Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Damnit! Now Wizards announce 5th Edition for somewhere in 2013, when I expect to have settled in at my new university (starting next fall) and I plan to get a big Barbarian Lands campaign started.
    And I actually like what they've been saying, which is the worst part. Now I am not too keen to develop extensive variant rules for Pathfinder.
    However, blood magic and dark sorcery would have been the last ones anyway and this barely has any effect on writing the fluff. Though it would be nice to know now what types of classes I'll be working with.

    Also: Page 6, whohoo!
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-01-09 at 12:01 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: [PF] Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Damnit! Now Wizards announce 5th Edition for somewhere in 2013, when I expect to have settled in at my new university (starting next fall) and I plan to get a big Barbarian Lands campaign started.
    And I actually like what they've been saying, which is the worst part. Now I am not too keen to develop extensive variant rules for Pathfinder.
    However, blood magic and dark sorcery would have been the last ones anyway and this barely has any effect on writing the fluff. Though it would be nice to know now what types of classes I'll be working with.

    Also: Page 6, whohoo!
    D&D5 hardly means you must jump edition, though I haven't read up on what's being proposed other than pulling what Paizo went through for Pathfinder in terms of extensive playtesting and having Cook and Mearls hammering away at the game. I also doubt PF is just going to go quietly into the night, either.
    Last edited by Cieyrin; 2012-01-09 at 09:42 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: [PF] Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Doesn't really matter either. It only means I have less incentive to stat out everything right now.
    I am not exactly a Pathfinder fan and would use something else, if there were anything better. Now I am hoping that I do get something better. The only downside is that in one year, they might reveal a race or class I absolutely want to have included as a very important part of the setting and then will have to decide between leaving it out or shoehorning it in.
    Though that is rather unlikely. There very rarely is anything really new ever.
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  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Default Re: [PF] Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Breakthrough!

    Tribe Names and Languages

    {table=head]Name | Individual | adjective | population | Language (group) | (Description)
    Kashakai | a Kashaka | Kashakai | 2,500,000 | Kashari (naga) | Free Jungle Lizardfolk
    Ikashai | an Ikashai | Ikashai | 2,100,000 | Kasur (naga) | Naga ruled Lizardfolk
    Zarakai | a Zarakai | Zarakai | 1,400,000 | Ragesh (drakonic) | Lizardfolk from the Islands
    -
    Nayashin | a Nayashina | Nayashina | 1,500,000 | Nayaan (wood elf) | Northern Wood Elves
    Moreshin | a Moreshina | Moreshina | 1,200,000 | Moraan (wood elf) | Southern Wood Elves
    Tameshin | a Tameshina | Tameshina | 800,000 | Tamaan (wood elf) | Island living Wood Elves
    Kenkin | a Kenkina | Kenkina | 500,000 | Kankaan (wood elf) | Deep forest Wood Elves
    -
    Endarei | an Endaran | Endaran | 800,000 | Dareika (dark elf) | Jungle Dark Elves
    Yussei | a Yussan | Yussan | 600,000 | Yusarin (dark elf) | Highland Dark Elves
    Keiyashei | a Keiyashan | Keiyan | 400,000 | Keishan (dark elf) | Cave Dark Elves
    -
    Kurai | a Kuraika | Kuraik | 1,300,000 | Kuraken (kaas) | Lowland Kaas
    Ruuma | a Ruumaka | Ruumak | 1,000,000 | Ruumaken (kaas) | Mountain Kaas
    Tamora | a Tamoka | Tamok | 400,000 | Tamoren (kaas) | Forest Kaas
    -
    Vandren | a Vandren | Vandren | 700,000 | Damar | New human settlers
    Rennka | a Rennkan | Rennkan | 200,000 | Rennkan | Forest hunters Humans
    Amakari | an Amakar | Amakar | 200,000 | Kariwas | Island living Humans
    Surri | a Surri | Surri | 100,000 | Surrian (giant) | Arctic Humans
    -
    Komkaren | a Komkar | Komkaren | 450,000 | Komgur (giant) | Mountain Gnomes
    Hayoren | a Hayor | Hayoren | 350,000 | Hayur (giant) | Forest Gnomes[/table]

    Everything is so much easier if you are able to name things permanently and reference them.

    A map of the population sizes:
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    Also, now that I have the basics set and will concentrate heavily on pure fluff, I am dusting off the Barbaripedia. What do you think about the Category Directory structure? Anything significant missing or something bunched together that shouldn't?
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-01-13 at 01:49 PM.
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  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Default Re: [PF] Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    So, I think I now have the names for the ethnic groups finalized. Human names seem good for humans, elven names good for elves, lizardfolk names good for lizardfolk, and kaas names good for kaas.

    I want to aim for a not quite european, not quite asian setting, but I wonder if the names overall may be a bit too "weird" and made-up sounding. Maybe the effect will be significantly lessened once their culture is more fleshed out with lots of familiar stuff.
    After all, Illithirii, Eaerlanni, Kagonesti, Keldorei, and Vanyar are all very elven now and probably not much better than what I got.

    Please share what you're honestly feeling about it. And this time no "you're writing so many things, wow" and "I am waiting to see more of it in the future" and such.
    If you think it sounds weird, silly, or fake, please tell me exactly that without trying to make it a positive statement.
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    Default Re: [PF] Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    My only insight at the moment is I'm not sure how able lizardfolk are able to make the 'sh' noise and expected more s's in general. That may be too stereotypical of me, of course.
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    Default Re: [PF] Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Which maketh me think of Snaketh with top hatth and twirly mouthtashss...

    What are the goblins in your avatar doing? Is that a mortar?
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-01-13 at 04:00 PM.
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    Default Re: [PF] Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    What are the goblins in your avatar doing? Is that a mortar?
    One's loading the cannon, one lights the fuse, the one on top is a combination of "Shoot that guy next!" and "Push me closer so I can hit him with my sword!" Y'know, what any group of goblins would do with a cannon. Mortars are more indirect fire, which to the goblin mind would probably equal boring.
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  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Default Re: [PF] Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Wrote a basic entry for the Gods and expanded rewrite of the History of the Barbarian Lands.
    But nothing really new content-wise.

    Small question on the English language. In the Geography category, I have the categories "Regions" for the countries and "Locations" for Settlements and Ruins.
    Is "Landmarks" a good name for Forests, Rivers, Mountains, and such, or is there a better term than "Geographical Features".
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-01-14 at 04:46 PM.
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    Default Re: [PF] Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Wrote a basic entry for the Gods and expanded rewrite of the History of the Barbarian Lands.
    But nothing really new content-wise.

    Small question on the English language. In the Geography category, I have the categories "Regions" for the countries and "Locations" for Settlements and Ruins.
    Is "Landmarks" a good name for Forests, Rivers, Mountains, and such, or is there a better term than "Geographical Features".
    I would use 'landmarks' for settlements, ruins, and other constructed sights.

    and 'locations' for forests, rivers, mountains... alternately I might use Terrains

    Great project, by the way.

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    Default Re: [PF] Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    What do you people think of Allegiances as an alignment system for the Barbarian Lands?

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    Allegiances
    The allegiances system is optional.

    A character may have up to three allegiances, listed in order from most important to least important. These allegiances are indications of what the character values in life, and may encompass people, organizations, or ideals. A character may have no allegiances (being either a free spirit or a lone wolf) or may change allegiances as he or she goes through life. Also, just because the character fits into a certain category of people doesn't mean the character has to have that category as an allegiance.

    If the character acts in a way that is detrimental to his or her allegiance, the GM may choose to strip the character of that allegiance (and all its benefits) and assign an allegiance more suitable to those actions.

    Pledging Allegiance
    A hero's allegiance can take the form of loyalty to a person, to an organization, to a belief system, to a nation, or to an ethical or moral philosophy. In general, a character can discard an allegiance at any time, but may only gain a new allegiance after attaining a new level.

    Having an allegiance implies having sufficient intelligence and wisdom to make a moral or ethical choice. As a result, a character must have Intelligence and Wisdom scores of 3 or higher in order to select allegiances.

    Allegiances include, but are not limited to, the following examples.

    Person or Group: This includes a leader or superior, a family, a group of linked individuals (such as a band of adventurers or a cell of secret agents), or a discrete unit within a larger organization (such as members of the character's squad or platoon, or individuals whose safety the character is responsible for).

    Organization: This may be a company or corporation, a gathering of like-minded individuals, a fraternal brotherhood, a secret society, a branch of the armed forces, a local, state, or national government, a university, an employer, or an otherwise established authority.

    Nation: This may or may not be the nation that the hero currently resides in. It may be where the individual was born, or where the hero resides after emigrating to a new home.

    Belief System: This is usually a particular faith or religion, but can also be a specific philosophy or school of thought. Belief systems could also include political beliefs or philosophical outlooks.

    Ethical Philosophy: This describes how one feels about order, as represented by law and chaos. An individual with a lawful outlook tends to tell the truth, keep his or her word, respect authority, and honor tradition, and he or she expects others to do likewise. An individual with a chaotic outlook tends to follow his or her instincts and whims, favor new ideas and experiences, and behave in a subjective and open manner in dealings with others.

    Moral Philosophy: This describes one's attitude toward others, as represented by good and evil. An individual with a good allegiance tends to protect innocent life. This belief implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of other creatures. An evil allegiance shows a willingness to hurt, oppress, and kill others, and to debase or destroy innocent life.

    Allegiances and Influence
    An allegiance can create an empathic bond with others of the same allegiance. With the GM's permission, the character gains a +2 circumstance bonus on Charisma-based skill checks when dealing with someone of the same allegiance-as long as the character has had some interaction with the other character to discover the connections and bring the bonus into play.

    Barbaripedia Version


    I'd expand it to the full extend of "the DM's best friend" to cover the range of +4, +2, -2, and -4.

    For most characters, their clan would be one of their allegiances. Additional allegiances could be groups, like a town guard, thieves guild, or mercenary company, or ideologies like religions and philosophies, or elven supremacy.

    If you have two characters from the Blue Lion and Black Owl clans, and the clans are allies, you'd get a +2 bonus. If they meet in prision, in the dungeon of a mutual enemy of their clans, the bonus increases to +4, because anyone they can trust is especially valuable.
    If the clans are great enemies, you'd get a -4 penalty on rolls, but if both find themselves in prison by a common enemy, they might put their differences aside reducing the penalty to -2.
    How you make your allegiances known or keep them secret depends entirely on the situation and the players actions. You could also use Bluff and disguise to predent allegiances you don't have. Disguising yourself as a priest would convince everyone who is fooled that you have allegiance to the faith.

    I thin Mouse Guard has something similar and though it doesn't make much of a mechanical difference, I think lots of players would enjoy to make their allegiances work against them.
    So that captain of the guard is an annoying idiot. Lots of players would just ignore him. But when you find out he's alligned with the Moon Temple whose members burned down a shrine of the Lion Spirit Faith to which you are aligned, then it's on!
    Now it's personal!

    Even with almost no practical effects on the gameplay, just having the players think for a moment and write down to or three things that matter to the character which put him at odds with other people in the world would probably do a great deal to make players reflect more about the characters personalty and how the character views the world and interacts with him.
    As I said at another point, I was amazed when playing Dragon Age because my elf character hated templars, but many human characters would regard them as heroes.
    My elf would have the allegiance "Dalish" and the Dalish Chieftain-Priests are hunted as illegal mages by the templars who believe they could turn into dangerous monsters at any moment.
    Many human characters would have the allegiance "Chantry", which is the religion that teaches that mages are dangerous in the first place. Chantry aligned characters would regard templars from a chantry point of view, making them protectors and hunters of insane monsters.

    I think allegiances could do quite a bit to get players into such mindsets.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-01-15 at 12:46 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #162
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    Default Re: [PF] Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    I agree. This allegiance system seems like it would be great for immersion. It would help players get in touch with stereotypes and prejudices that the people of your world have. I'm definitely suggesting this when I get the chance.
    I have returned, and plan on focusing on world-building. Issues are being dealt with.

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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Runestones

    Runestones are small objects inscribed with magical patterns that hold a single spell. Many are made from minor gemstones, but can also be made from other minerals, bones, or rare woods. A runestone can be used only once, after which it crumbles to charred dust.

    Physical Description
    Runestones usually take the form of small tiles or discs two inches across, or short rods three inches in length, but can be of any other shape and size that can easily be held in one hand. On the surface, a complex runic pattern is edged into the material that depends on the spell that the stone holds, and is often traced in paint for better visibility. Runestones are often carried in small pouches and many spellcasters use different materials and shapes for specific spells to make it easier to find the right type that is needed. The proccess that binds the spell to the stone also strengthens the materials, making them very durable and protected from breaking by accidental dropping.

    Activation
    To activate a runestone, a spellcaster must release the spell inscribed on it. Doing so involves several steps and conditions.

    Identify the Rune
    The carving on a runestone must be deciphered before a character can use it or know exactly what spell it contains. This requires a read magic spell or a successful Spellcraft check (DC 20 + spell level).

    Identifying a runestone to determine its contents does not activate its magic unless it is a magical trap. A character can identify the carving on a runestone in advance so that he can proceed directly to the next step when the time comes to use the runestone.

    Activate the Spell
    Activating a runestone requires holding the stone in the hand and releasing its energy. If a character knows which spell the runestone in his hand is holding, he does not need to be able to see the rune inscribed on it. Activating a runestone spell requires no material components or focus. (The creator of the runestone provided these when engraving the stone.) Note that some spells are effective only when cast on items. In such a case, the runestone user must provide the item when activating the spell. Activating a runestone spell is subject to disruption just as casting a spell would be. Using a runestone is like casting a spell for purposes of arcane spell failure chance.

    To have any chance of activating a runestone spell, the runestone user must meet the following requirements.
    * The user must have the spell on his or her class list.
    * The user must have the requisite ability score.
    * It does not matter if the runestone has been created by an arcane or divine spellcaster.

    If the user meets all the requirements noted above, and his caster level is at least equal to the spell’s caster level, he can automatically activate the spell without a check. If he meets all requirements but his own caster level is lower than the runestone spell’s caster level, then he has to make a caster level check (DC = scroll’s caster level + 1) to cast the spell successfully. If he fails, he must make a DC 5 Wisdom check to avoid a mishap (see Runestone Mishaps, below). A natural roll of 1 always fails, whatever the modifiers.

    Determine Effect
    A spell successfully activated from a runestone works exactly like a spell prepared and cast the normal way. Assume the runestone spell’s caster level is always the minimum level required to cast the spell for the character who inscribed the runestone (usually twice the spell’s level), unless the caster specifically desires otherwise.

    When a runestone has been activated, the stone crumbles to charred dust.

    Runestone Mishaps
    When a mishap occurs, the spell on the runestone has a reversed or harmful effect. Possible mishaps are given below.

    * A surge of uncontrolled magical energy deals 1d6 points of damage per spell level to the runestone user.
    * Spell strikes the runestone user or an ally instead of the intended target, or a random target nearby if the runestone user was the intended recipient.
    * Spell takes effect at some random location within spell range.
    * Spell’s effect on the target is contrary to the spell’s normal effect.
    * The runestone user suffers some minor but bizarre effect related to the spell in some way. Most such effects should last only as long as the original spell’s duration, or 2d10 minutes for instantaneous spells.
    * Spell has delayed effect. Sometime within the next 1d12 hours, the spell activates. If the runestone user was the intended recipient, the spell takes effect normally. If the user was not the intended recipient, the spell goes off in the general direction of the original recipient or target, up to the spell’s maximum range, if the target has moved away.

    Runestones replace scrolls and the Scribe Scroll feat is replaced by the Inscribe Runestone feat.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-01-18 at 03:11 PM.
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Looks good. Very flavourful, it makes sense that a world without wizards and clerics doesn't have scrolls. I noticed you left references to "scrolls" in a couple of places, might want to ctrl-F through your post and change them to "runestones"

    Allegiances sound cool, too - I'm a fan of anything that gets rid of the old alignment system, and this seems like it fits. Did you consider adding more mechanical benefits to them? 3.5 has some rules for organizations spread out through several sourcebooks (PHB2 and the Completes mostly I think?), that give players (minor) incentives and means to increase their favour with factions - mostly access to gear, libraries/labs, training etc if I remember correctly. Might want to check them out, since you're already giving some benefits (the charisma modifiers).
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    I'm actually a proponent of having as few rules as possible, so I'd like to keep allegiances as simple and straightforward as I can. That's why I'm quite exited about 5th edition that's comming probably next year.

    Things like allies providing more help and such should be left just to the GMs judgement. When you think allegiance would make the NPCs to regard the PCs better or worse, treat them a bit better or worse than you would do otherwise.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-01-18 at 01:13 PM.
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Fair enough - just thought I'd mention it.
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Here is an idea I have:

    I like to have even fantastic worlds evolve naturally and not as artifical creations by some deities that just have existed for all time. So in the LotBK, the material plane is just one universe that has a beginnig and an end, and there is likely an infinite number of other universes that pop up and disappear again. From what I understand about physics, it is asumed that the universe does have finite size, though not neccessarily a boundary as understood by three-dimensional physics. What lies outside these bubles of reality is the Astral Plane, or in this case, the Void.

    Now, I do like a lot what Eberron has done with the Daelkyr and Quori, and I also love the much older, quite lovecraftian god Tharizdun.
    So far I have established that the natural, physical world has spirits, and the Void has demons. As a third category I have the ancients, which are actually spirits, but spirits that reflect a world as it was at the beginning of the stars and planets. Spirits from before the dinosaurs, so to speak. Living in the deepest reaches of the oceans and the earth, environmental conditions havn't really changed much, so the spirits of these parts of the world are still very similar to how all spirits have been bilions of years ago.
    Now the question is this: It would be very easy to make it, that all spirits, of every physical universe, originated from demons. At the beginning of a universe, the conditions are very similar to that of the Void before it takes shape, and demons could just undergo the same process along with it.

    Makes perfect sense, but I don't really know how I feel about it. On the one hand, right now, it seems to give the whole setting a very lovecraftian touch, with the inevitability of the end of all creation to be consumed by the eternal chaos. On the other hand, such a detail really wouldn't be known to anyone within the setting, and I'd like to describe the setting from the view of the PCs.
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    I personally love the idea of a "the world is going to be destroyed eventually and there's not a damn thing you can do to stop it" feel. You know you are only delaying the inevitable, but that does not make it less fun :D

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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    Makes sense... I guess you could sneak that detail in if the PCs encounter powerful demons in person? If anyone would know, it would be the demons themselves. Or maybe the demons already let some of their cultists in on the secret, who lecture the PCs that "your gods are not so different from ours"?

    Even if the players never learn some detail, having given it thought deepens your world, and may let you make rational choices on the spot about related things that you hadn't thought about when they come up. In this case, maybe knowing that all spirits are basically demons will help you figure out how spirits, demons and ancients interact?

    You know, the more I think about this, the more I like it. Very nihilistic and, as you say, Lovecraftian, to think that all life actually came from demons.
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    Default Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings

    It depends on how you define "Demons," as you've described them as spiritual beings from the Void, not the same as the commonly used fallen angels that is the norm. Spirits and Ancients are just native spiritual beings, cut from the same cloth, so it's not that much of a stretch and not nearly as Lovecraftian as it necessarily has to be. They aren't opposite sides of the coin, at least from what's been described of them (Neutrals and Chaotics), so it's not like there needs to be conflict between them.

    As a matter of fact, it's already been said most Demons don't even care or have access to the Material, so it's not like their's some overarching plan to corrupt the Material and all that live upon it.
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    As I see it you should present it as one possible truth, among many, sometimes condradictory truth. Spirits might not see themselves as demons beliving in the differences between the material and the void. Some demons might even promote infinite creation over an all consuming void. Present as many views as makes sense for the setting, and let the players or DM choose which ones they wish to believe. Some might choose that fatalistic viewpoint, while others might choose ones that are closer to espousing the virtues they prefer.

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    I agree with what others have said before about offering many possible explanations, without specifying which is right. After all, that's probably what people in this world will understand, which is what you are going for. After that, leave it up to the DM which is actually true.

    Also, I love runestones. That seems like a perfectly reasonable fluff substitution for scrolls considering your setting.
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    I...tried editing part of the Deities entry but I'm not sure if my changes are agreeable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deities
    The Lands of the Barbarian Kings is an animistic setting in which all places in the world possess their own spirits. Deities, as described, are simply the oldest and strongest of spirits and are surpassed in power by no other entities in existence.

    Deities are spirits possessed of such immense longevity and power that by their sensibilities humanoid creature might not well exist, or, at least, not as separate individuals with their own appreciable goals and desires. Though, perhaps, this is not unexpected as even the spirit of a thousand year oak tree has difficulties relating to the short-term outlook possessed by even the most long-lived mortals. As a result, no mortal has ever made direct contact with a deity or communicated with one. To mortal humanoids, the gods are akin to natural forces rather than identifiable beings and religions that follow them are often more philosophical and mystic in nature as opposed to the worship of local spirits which are commonly performed in shrines belonging to local towns and villages.

    In addition to true deities, there exists a lesser group of spirits known as demigods, which, while possessing comparable age and power, are aware of the presence of individual mortal creatures and often manifest physically in order to better interact and communicate with them. However, while such spirits are often referred to as gods or divine beings, demigods are closer in nature to common spirits, of which they are the most powerful.

    For some reason...the gods of this setting remind me a lot of the Counter Force and Aristoteles from the Nasuverse, while demigods seem representative of elementals.
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    I admit, I didn't really spell check anything for the first drafts I made.

    Regarding the origin of spirit, I think the primary theme of the setting should be exploration, expansion, and discovery. Which doesn't really match with the notion that it's all in vain and meaningless anyway. And it's still billions of years in the future, until this universe ends.
    But I think I found a less severe exolaination that still includes all the core elements. The ancients originated from demons that snuck in before the Material World and the Void were truly separated from each other. But the Spirits of Nature evolved as part of the new universe, based on it's own laws of nature. At least that's the view I will be working with. This still allows for fringe groups to believe that the difference is meaningless or that there is a direct line of propagation from demons to spirits. But pretty much everyone else thinks it's nonsense.

    Here's something weird:
    I have working on the landscape for the setting for years. Moving mountains, redrawing coastlines, changing the borders of forests, and so on. I've gone through a couple of major changes but I think I know have something I like. So I was looking for some nice maps as reference for the scale of things and how coastlines look good (if not realistic).
    This map is quite similar to what I have. But everyone really uses the same references, so similarities are not unusual.
    But this is where it gets really weird: This map pretty much is what I have. One river slightly more south and one mountain range a bit more to the north, as well as to major bays that are not on this map, but everything else matches up almost exactly. With something so very handy for tracing, I can just steal some of the coastlines and get my own map done.
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    I brought you a map! You witches love maps!

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    And the one thing I was always trying to avoid has happened. I am getting lots of ideas for the lands outside the Barbarian Lands.
    And they are good, and I'd like to explore them and have adventures set there. But that's bloating the whole thing and will have to wait until everything else is done. The quite detailed region in the south is where the Vandren are from.
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    Wight


    A wight is an undead humanoid creature and often one of the most powerful and feared. From a distance, wights can easily be mistaken for elves or humans, but upon closer examination, their true nature becomes apparent. Though they have a resemblance to the person they were in life, their bodies are gaunt and stench of death. Some have the appearance of dried up skeletal husks, while others are wrapped in stripes of cloth for mummification. But they all share the same white and milky eyes, which in almost complete darkness shine in a dim red, blue, or green glow. While wights are only shadows of their former selves, they are among the few truly intelligent and fully sentient undead beings and if anything, seem even more cunning and shrewd than the living.

    Combat
    Wights are extremely dangerous, their two most feared abilities being their life draining touch and their high skill for stealth and ambushes. A wight usually attacks with his clawed hands, which in addition to their sharp and jagged ends also possess an unnatural strength. Worse than the claws themselves is the wights ability to drain the life energy from any living creature it hits. With every hit their targets become weaker, as if losing parts of themselves, while the wight itself draws additional strength from the life energy it consumes this way. Only the most powerful warriors can survive more than one or two such hits and anyone whose life energy has been completely drained by a wights attack will rise as a wight himself, completely loyal to the wight that created him. Even if the wight is killed, the injuries it inflicted can mark their enemies permanently, their strength never to fully return again.

    While those slain by a wight lose virtually everything of their former self, wights that came into being through other means often remember great parts of their pasts, including the skills they mastered in life and any magical powers they had. These wights retain some of their class levels they had as living creatures, many of which where powerful chieftains and warlords, or wizards who were consumed by the Taint they attempted to master. While common wights are dangerous and frightening enough, these "noble" wights are among the most terrible foes anyone can face.

    Ecology
    Wights come into being by two different ways. One is to be slain by a wight, which infuses the dead body with a fragment of its own corrupted spirit which spreads throughout the corpse and turns it into a wight within just a few moments before it rises again to serve its creator. The true origin of wights, however, are living humanoids who are completely consumed by Taint and killed by its corruption. The Taint keeps festering inside the dead body, twisting the last remains of its life energy before the spirit can depart the body, and growing it back to regain control of the corpse. Such a wight usually rises one or two nights after it had collapsed under the Taints corruption.

    Wights have an unexplainable hatred for the living and will never tolerate any living creatures near them. When they rise they usually kill or scare away anyone in the vicinity of their resting place, raising their victims as their first new minions. Those who were given a rich burial often make their new lairs in their tombs, while others take possession of keeps or manors. While often vain, many wights do not take much care of the structures they inhabit and most become ruins within a few decades. Cold and moisture are given free reign and destroy most wooden furniture and any tapestries, leaving only shadows of the wealth they once represented. Only in the most desperate of circumstances does a wight make its lair in a cave, but every place that hides it from the daylight will do. Wights cannot tolerate bright light, including sunlight, and avoid it at all costs. It does not, however, cause a wight any direct harm or weakens it in any way.

    As they are not living creatures and have no rightful place in our world, many animals can sense the wight's presence. Dogs will growl or howl with alarm, horses will refuse to enter an area which wights inhabit, and birds and insects will grow silent when the creature passes near them. In addition, their tainted presence will gradually cause the plant life around their lairs to wither and die, marking the region as corrupted.

    History
    Wights have probably been around since the earliest times, created from mortals too curious for their own good who stumbled into places where the touch of the Void left the land corrupted by Taint. However, they became the menacing horror they are today when mortals learned the secrets of magic and eventually discovered the Void and its dangerous but potent energies. Who the first wizards were, who were overwhelmed by powers they couldn't control and consumed by their corruption, has been lost in time. But in the thousands of years since, hundreds have followed them and became wights, both wizards and chieftains lured by the power that demons would promise them. Most wights were once elves or humans, but they lost everything that connected them to their former nature. With their extreme hostility towards everything related to the Void, there are no known kaas wights and gnomish wights are also extremely rare. From the southern lands, there are persistent rumors of lizardfolk wights and many locals will tell visitors that these are not just rumors.

    Many of the wights that exist today are ancient. Many became undead centuries ago and have isolated themselves in their lairs, brooding over problems and mysteries that make sense only to themselves, or lie motionless in their tombs for decades in restless torpor. Many suspect that many ancient artifacts and tomes of arcane knowledge can be found in the lairs of the oldest wights, but almost nobody is willing to try their luck against them for their treasure.

    Society
    Wights are mostly solitary creatures who have a deep irrational hatred of all living things and despise any intrusion in their lairs. Even the spawn they create from humanoids they have killed usually stay in different parts of the lair, staying as far away from their master as possible unless they need to protect him. However, while they prize their solitude, they are not above cooperating with others, usually other wights of similar age and power as themselves. For reasons they rarely care to share with others, wights occasionally set out for conquest. Leading hordes of undead and other corrupted creatures, they slay anything that has not already fled before their approach, carefully guarding the borders of their conquered territory. In some cases there were some suspicion that they were trying to take control of rare resources or places of magical power, but more often nobody really has any clue what made them rise from their tombs which they had never left for decades or centuries.

    Notes
    Wights with wizard levels take the role of lichs, as lichs usually require character levels higher than what characters in the Lands of the Barbarian Kings can usually achieve. Mummies are also merely a variant of wights with slightly different appearance.

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    This is the first fluff article for monsters in the Barbarian Lands.
    The article on worgs is shorter and may see some expansion at a later time.
    Also, what do you think of the layout and presentation?
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    The Limitations of Magic

    This one is again open for discussion. I think I should have adressed this a lot earlier.
    I want to make a fantasy world that can be played using some kind of d20 rules, but I don't want to make it just another D&D world. That's why character advancement is limited to 10th level, you don't have the vast majority of planescape outsiders, D&D-type deities, and so on. This already puts some limitation of what is available to characters, but I think I'd like to indicate more clearly what the limitations of magic are.

    How magic works
    I probably mentioned this before in a couple of places:
    Magic is simply a manipulation of the life energy inside everything that exist. Manipulate the energies and the matter will follow. As a result, the laws of thermodynamics apply. You can't create something from nothing, and everything you make disappear has to go somewhere. Usually, ambient energy is highly fluid, so you never notice that a spellcaster is drawing energy in to use it in a spell. When you breath, there is no hole in the air and not even any noticable movement except very close to your face. With magic energies, it's just the same. Spellcasters store energy for their spells, which they draw in during rest at night. As spellcasters increase in power, so does the capacity for energy they can store, providing them with additional spell slots, power points, or whatever.
    The energy inside a living creature is its soul, and spirit are just energy, that can create temporary bodies to inhabit. When a person or animal dies, its soul slowly starts to melt away over the following days. If the soul is torn from the body or is prevented from dissolving to ambient energy, it becomes an undead like a wraith or ghost. Only extremely few souls become spirts after death and that requires extensive preparations and often divine help. The afterlife pretty much consists of becomming part of the land where one died, and most burial rites attempt to bind the essence of the deads soul to a specific location sacred to the clan. Any individuality is completely lost.

    Time: Time can not be manipulated by magic. The only thing somewhat similar is speeding up or slowing down movement, as in the haste and slow spells, but time only appears to flow faster or slower to those affected, as their perception is slowed down or sped up.
    Death: Healing magic can do incredible things and even piece together badly mangled bodies as in the raise dead spell. However, even this powerful spell only works when the spellcaster can get a hold of the last traces of life energy that are left in the remains to piece the soul back together. After 10 days, most clerics can no longer stop the soul from dissolving anymore and the spell merely restores the body, but it's an empty shell.
    Teleportation: Teleportation is not possible, neither for creatures, nor for objects. The only thing close is tunneling through the Shadow World, where distant and speed work a lot differently than normally. Exceptions exist in the Spiritworld and the Void, where native some powerful creatures can travel great distances within very short time, but those are above the capability of mortal spellcasters.
    Matter Creation: I think shaping matter is all fine, but creating something out of thin air would be an incredible feat. I'm undecided between not allowing creation at all, or limiting it to temporary creations that will fade within an hour or so.
    Predict the Future: D&D and Pathfinder have a lot of such spells, but I consider dropping them completely. Instead such things would be limited to effects like speak with plants or commune with nature, where the spirits can give you information about the current state of things and you have to draw your own conclusions what is likely to happen.
    Force fields: I really like not to have them. Which pretty much means all force effects that are not instantaneous like magic missile or spells that make weapons and armor solid to incorporeal creatures. Which also includes the classic mage armor and shield, as well as walls of force and bigbys hands.

    Transmutation and Evocation would all be fair game. Changing the shape of something or creating heat, cold, and lightning is all very basic stuff.

    Your thoughts on these and maybe on other things I havn't thought of yet?
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    The Guardians of the Crystal Caverns


    • Headquarters: The Crystal Chambers
    • Members: 6 Guardians plus about 500 human administrators and troops
    • Hierarchy: Order
    • Leader: The Voice
    • Races: 98% humans
    • Religion: Mystic Philosophy
    • Secrecy: Low. The human members of the Guardians opperate openly but the spirits share their plans only with the highest ranking members.
    • Symbol: Six narrow diamonds of different colors arranged to a star shape on a black circle with red border.


    The Crystal Caverns are most well known for the six spirits that are the protectors of the city and its people. As spirits from the Void, most people rightfully call them demons, but that word is not used in the Crystal Caverns. Several centuries, early in the Age of Clans, a group of demons that felt concerned about the corrupting and destructive influence on the mortal world of most other demons allied themselves with a group of like minded wizards. The irony, that any direct help the demons would provide the wizards would have the same disastrous effects they were trying to fight was not lost to the group. For a long time the demons assisted the wizards only by providing information and striking at warlocks only when it was time for the final blow, until the wizards discovered a system of caves at the shores of the Inner Sea, in which they found massive amounts of rare crystals, known as demonstone. As demonstone had long been known for its ability to withstand demonic corruption and its use in fighting demons, the group places powerful enchantments on some of the largest crystals, which would become the permanent resting place of the demons. While it meant that the demons would effectively be trapped, the crystals allowed them to take residence in the mortal world without being destroyed and their curruption remaining contained. The wizards created a mighty underground fortress in the caves, that served as their headquarter for the comming generations.
    Not much is known what happened after that, but when the Vandren came to the Southern Clanlands four centuries ago, they found the fortress abandoned and apparently so for a very long time. Seeking refuge from the infighting among their clans and constant clashes with wood elves, they were allowed to stay in the ruins of the fortress and make a new home in its halls. The settlement grew into one of the largest cities of the Barbarian Lands, and while it is nominally led by the demons, the entire government and administration is run by an order of scholars and knights loyal to demons, known as the Guardians.

    The Guardians
    Voice: While there is no clear hierarchy among the Guardians, Voice is usually considered to be their leader, or at least their representative to the administrators that govern the city under their guidance. Voice is one of the two Pride demons of the Guardians and the one most involved in the government of the city.
    Shield: Shield is a Dominance demon who is in charge of the cities defenses. Due to its nature it takes a very active role in constantly revising and improving the cities defenses.
    Plenty: Plenty is the lone Desire demon among the Guardians. As a rare individual of its kind, Plenty takes great enjoyment in seeing its subjects revel in the wealth it provides for them. Plenty oversees the cities supplies and is very enthusiastic in making sure the city is prepared for times of need and hardship.
    Lore: Lore is a Dominance demon and as the name implies, the lorekeeper of the Guardians. Lore rarely has any contact with outsiders but keeps track of the cities history through its ten human assistants who are constantly out in the city on the hunt for more knowledge to bring to their master.
    Sword: Sword is a Pride demon and in charge both of keeping security inside the Crystal Caverns and pursuing its enemies. It rarely takes any interest in the work of the city watch but instead is entirely focused on directing a small group of warlock hunters that opperates throughout all the Southern Clanlands and the surrounding regions.
    Dream: Dream is a Sloth demon that is even more enigmatic than Lore. Dream is a kind of oracle and diviner for the Guardians, but the people of the city pretty much never hear anything comming from its chamber.
    Vigil: Unknown to most people, there were originally seven demons that bound themselves to the crystals. Vigil was a Dominace demon that was in charge of seeking out enemies of the group and be on guard for any hidden threats that Shield would not detect. However, Vigils obsession with spying on hostile demon lords became its doom and was destroyed in a raid by warlocks some centuries before the Vandren settled the Crystal Caves. As the massive crystal was shattered, Vigils spirit was exposed to World of Mortals and disintegrated within moments.

    Items
    The Shards of Vigil: The Shards of Vigil are minor artifacts, consisting of the remains of the crystal that held Vigil before it was destroyed. Since they held a powerful demon for centuries, the shards are all moderately tainted. However, the original crystal was specially selected and magically prepared to hold the spirit of a demon and the shards still have the power to imprision demons indefinately.
    The shards range in length from four to sixteen inches and are all of different shapes, but this does not seem to affect their strength in holding demons. It is assumed that most shards are still in the possession of the Guardians, but dozens have been stolen or disappeared in the centuries before the creation of the modern city in the Crystal Caverns.

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    I like the Limitations of Magic. Although Teleportation as a spell accessable to PCs does not exist in my games, there are some ancient artifacts that function as teleport gateways. I haven't decided yet whether anyone living still knows how to create those, but if so they are keeping it secret and it will only come up if needed for story/campaign reasons.

  30. - Top - End - #180
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    Kashakai, the free lizardfolk tribe, is up. Spell checked, but gramar might be lacking.

    I think it was a mistake writing about the two most civilized placed as the first ones. Now I am back into a generic fantasy mindset.
    So let's watch Conan again and write about kaas and elf barbarians.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-01-22 at 12:59 PM.
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