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  1. - Top - End - #121
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

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    The Hunter's Daughter

    “The hunter’s daughter was born into the raging spring, and came howling into the world. Her eyes were open when the hunter pulled her out of her mother’s womb, and it was his face that she first saw. Her mother, a sad and timid woman, allowed her husband to hold their daughter as long as he wanted, for she was a bride of broken back, and he beat her daily. The hunter’s daughter screamed for the first three days of her birth, and would not cease for more than a few minutes to speak in some way. She had brilliant, moon-colored eyes. Her father thought she was a boy, at first, when he heard such strong lungs.

    ‘Look at what a fine young boy I have fathered,’ he laughed to his wife. Her tired and sagging lines betrayed the ache in her bones, and the sad, quiet sorrow of seeing her child.

    ‘It is no boy. That is a girl, a lovely little girl.’ Her voice was cold and chattering, the pain of childbirth taking all of her strength.

    ‘Nonsense. I know a boy when I see one, and this is a boy, I tell you.’ Partly not wanting to anger her husband, and partly because of exhaustion, the wife said nothing. She died within the week. The hunter raised his daughter as a boy for the first thirteen years of her life.

    He taught her how to swim, hunt, fish, and fight. Her size and apparent frailty were offset by her deviousness and vicious temperament. She would often defeat the other boys that lived nearby, trouncing them and then beating their fathers as well, when they came to defend their children. She fought needlessly, and without passion. She fought from fear, or hate, or some realization that she was not meant for this world, and that her time was short. She lived her life as a constant struggle.

    On the eve of her thirteenth birthday, the hunter decided he would take her out into the woods and find some large game, game too large to go after before. He gave her a bow and arrows, and a long, deadly sharp hunting knife.

    They went into the forest looking for sport, and that is all we know. The rest of the tale is speculation, but according to the old storyteller in the shack outside of town, it’s all true.

    They were not but a mile or two into the woods when the hunter was way lain by a trap. He got his leg caught in the teeth of a rusty bear-catcher, and was marooned. The hunter’s daughter, being who she was, didn’t even notice his disappearance. It took him several hours to free himself.

    She, however, found some game far, far quicker than that. As she walked into the next clearing, a huge alpha wolf sat on the ground next to a stone, sunning itself in the midday heat. It looked up at her, and then back down, apparently falling asleep. The hunter’s daughter, initially set on killing the beast, stopped herself as she drew closer to its hulking form.

    The wolf had streaks of gold in its otherwise pristine white pelt. Its eyes were a deep amber color that reflected and radiated light in such a way as to mesmerize and ensnare prey in its gaze. Strange swirling patterns had formed in the golden streaks near the top of its head, and the hunter’s daughter could trace them with her fingers when she got close enough. They spelled out words, or some strange sigil that she could not read. The wolf looked up at her for a moment, and then rolled, opening up its belly for her to scratch. When she did so, she could feel the wolf’s deep, almost woolly fur, and the incredible softness of the great beast. He looked at her, and instinctively she knew that she was in every way his lesser. She could not even hope to ascend to this beauty. She bared her neck to him, and he nodded.

    It was then, rather unfortunately, that her father came into the clearing. After several hours of working at the trap, and finally managing to pry the rusted iron off of his leg, he had wandered into the woods, looking for his daughter, still carrying his bow. His limp was getting worse, and he had already lost quite a bit of blood, the trail marking a clear path to the trap. His temper was short, and he flew into a rage when he saw his daughter with the wolf. Half blinded by pain already, it looked like the wolf had killed and eaten his child. He whipped out the bow, and knocked an arrow. When he let fly, the arrow simply bounced off of the great golden pelt of the wolf.

    His daughter had already noticed him however. Completely unable to see her own father, she grew furious at some hunter attacking such a beautiful beast. She whipped out her knife, and rushed forward. He threw his bow at her, unable to understand why his son had just come back from the dead to try to attack him, nor why the wolf hadn’t died. The hunter’s daughter threw off the bow as she ran forward and jumped onto his chest, whipping out her knife at the last moment and stabbing him through the heart.

    Only as the hunter’s own lifeblood began spilling upon the forest floor did she notice that the hunter she had murdered was her own father. He sputtered a few final words to her, and then died, right in her arms.

    The guilt drove her mad. She turned to the wolf, and buried her blood covered face in his pelt. He nuzzled her, and led her off into the woods, where she became his mate. To this day, they hunt the woods, living as King and Queen together. She remains as fierce and ferocious as she ever was, only now wracked with guilt at the thought of killing her father. The old man says that she became a wolf because she couldn’t show her face in shame, but what does he know. I think she is just sad, and wolves don’t have to think about their fathers’ because dead, so it must be easier that way.

    But it’s because of her that no one is allowed to hunt in those woods. You
    must never enter them with a bow, or else she will gut you alive, and drink up your blood!”

    The other children screamed and scattered, and Boris snarled in imitation of some ferocious wolf. When they were gone, he stared off into the woods, looking for some glimpse of a golden pelt and moon-colored eyes."


    Here's a story I just finished. I kind of started it before I got permission, so I didn't use any specific names or places that were already mentioned. If it's okay with you and I write another one I will try to use more names and stuff.

    This was really, really fun to write.
    Last edited by unosarta; 2012-03-13 at 10:53 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Cool stuff! It the fairy tale theme really well. I feel like I'm catching glimpses of everything from the story of Turin Turambar to Princess Mononoke.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Yeah, that was basically what I was thinking, mostly a combination Princess Mononoke and a lot of the more moral based children's stories. I really liked the combined themes of Wuxia and Grimm, so I decided to try to fuse them together.

    The Storysinger is going really well. I am basically making them in the form of Gnorman's E6 classes, and exactly like a bard, but instead of songs they get stories, which are taken directly from the Grimm's Fairy Tales, Volume 1. So, they tell a story and give allies a mechanical benefit. Gnorman's poet seemed to be more about healing through song, so I am going to leave that to that class, and instead just have it be more buffing and stuff. I haven't any ideas for the archetypes, but I will cross that path when I come to it.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Can I see the Storysinger? I like Gnorman's stuff, and I'd like to see how you wrote it up. And you can put it up on Gnorman's thread if it fits in with his idea, so he can include it in with Community Contributions, if you want to.

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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    So, I would like to express my approval of this project. I have been looking for a game setting that really did allow for traditional-style storytelling. I find it ironic that baseline D&D, which borrows heavily from Tolkien, often lacks the feel of the Lord of the Rings, where a little magic goes a long way.

    I would be very interested in playing in a campaign in this setting. I have no campaigns going on right now, except for the RL one I am DMing. Now that swim season is over, and I have already applied to college, the next six monthes promise to be a lot less busy than the past year has been. I would volenteer to DM, but as I said I'm already DMing one campaign and I'm not sure if I could make good on that commitment.

    By the way, a very different homebrew setting has a magic system that I think works the way a magic system should. Maybe not in the way that this setting should, but still, food for thought.

    And as for magic users, weren't local witches and hedge wizards relatively common in the middle ages, esp. in the era that these type of fairy tales hail from? Wise women, midwives, etc. were about as common as skilled blacksmiths. So, I don't see why a 1st level, subtle magic user wouldn't be, say, 1/500 instead of 1/10,000.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by The Anarresti View Post
    So, I would like to express my approval of this project. I have been looking for a game setting that really did allow for traditional-style storytelling. I find it ironic that baseline D&D, which borrows heavily from Tolkien, often lacks the feel of the Lord of the Rings, where a little magic goes a long way.
    Thanks! It's been a labor of love for a little while now, and I like it better and better as I go on. That's a pretty rare thing for my campaign settings!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Anarresti View Post
    I would be very interested in playing in a campaign in this setting. I have no campaigns going on right now, except for the RL one I am DMing. Now that swim season is over, and I have already applied to college, the next six monthes promise to be a lot less busy than the past year has been. I would volenteer to DM, but as I said I'm already DMing one campaign and I'm not sure if I could make good on that commitment.
    At some point, I plan on running a campaign in this setting. If you subscribe to this thread, you'll be among the first to find out about the post over in the Recruitment section of the boards.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Anarresti View Post
    And as for magic users, weren't local witches and hedge wizards relatively common in the middle ages, esp. in the era that these type of fairy tales hail from? Wise women, midwives, etc. were about as common as skilled blacksmiths. So, I don't see why a 1st level, subtle magic user wouldn't be, say, 1/500 instead of 1/10,000.
    1/10,000 was kind of a ballpark figure, but something to keep in mind is that (as far as we know, which I would argue is pretty dang far) the hedge wizards and witches of the middle ages didn't actually have access to magic in the way we're defining it here. I would imagine that there is no shortage of people (say, 1/500) who are healers or brewers or fortune tellers of some kind or another that have no magical ability, but those few that are magic users make everyone suspicious of the ones that don't.

    Aside from taking the decidedly risky chance of asking them outright, there's no means of determining whether or not a person can use magic, and those that do use it are more likely to be malevolent than kindly. With odds like that, most people are wary enough to give even a potential magic user a wide berth, if only to avoid the wrath of an actual magic user. Sure, they may not actively quell all of those professions, but they're very superstitious about recruiting them for help.

    Update:
    The first post has been edited to give a teaser of the latest draft! This first post will contain sections on The Wood, The River, and The Elder Kingdom, and each will have subsections detailing the region's inhabitants, Locales, Factions, and notable Figures.

    Updated Update:
    I added a little bit more (the "Factions" section for The Wood), and I've decided that there will be one large, blanket section of notable Figures, rather than one in each regional section.
    Last edited by Zap Dynamic; 2012-03-14 at 05:15 PM.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    It's your setting, but in my mind that, although the hedge wizards of the medieval era did not have access to magic, that is also because magic does not exist in our world. Remember that people actually believed back them, even the hedge wizards themselves, that they had access to magic. In a world that is based on fairy tales, in a kingdom ruled by half-elf, in haunted woods with spooks lurking around every tree, it seems to me that the charms and superstitions that every person lives by would actually have a small amount of potency. To make magic-users as scarce as all that in a world saturated with (albiet subtle) magic, seems to me to reduce verisimilitude rather than increase it. Goodwife Wimple curing the whooping cough with a chant, or Old Man Carrow having a house where an unseen force does household chores, always out of the corners of visitor's eyes, doesn't seem too far-fetched.

    The crux of my argument is that, if the medieval germanic tales of elves and giants are true in this world, then why not the belief in the very minor, everyday magic they practiced be true as well?
    I think that it shouldn't be too hard to find a minor 1st level mage if you do some poking around, any harder than it is to find a modern-day witch in haiti or other areas where belief in witchcraft still abound.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    Can I see the Storysinger? I like Gnorman's stuff, and I'd like to see how you wrote it up. And you can put it up on Gnorman's thread if it fits in with his idea, so he can include it in with Community Contributions, if you want to.
    I am still working on the Storysinger, and it will be quite a bit before I am really done. I kind of reworked the whole class. Writing the Storysongs is really difficult, since I am trying to translate the literal meaning of the first 15 stories of the first volume of Grimm's Fairy Tales into direct mechanical effects, which can be really difficult. That isn't even getting into the issue of Archetypes, which I haven't even started yet...
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Anarresti View Post
    It's your setting, but in my mind that, although the hedge wizards of the medieval era did not have access to magic, that is also because magic does not exist in our world. Remember that people actually believed back them, even the hedge wizards themselves, that they had access to magic. In a world that is based on fairy tales, in a kingdom ruled by half-elf, in haunted woods with spooks lurking around every tree, it seems to me that the charms and superstitions that every person lives by would actually have a small amount of potency. To make magic-users as scarce as all that in a world saturated with (albiet subtle) magic, seems to me to reduce verisimilitude rather than increase it. Goodwife Wimple curing the whooping cough with a chant, or Old Man Carrow having a house where an unseen force does household chores, always out of the corners of visitor's eyes, doesn't seem too far-fetched.

    The crux of my argument is that, if the medieval germanic tales of elves and giants are true in this world, then why not the belief in the very minor, everyday magic they practiced be true as well?
    I think that it shouldn't be too hard to find a minor 1st level mage if you do some poking around, any harder than it is to find a modern-day witch in haiti or other areas where belief in witchcraft still abound.


    I see your point, and there are a few ways I'd like to respond.

    First and foremost, my goal with this setting is to "keep the last few pages blank," so to speak. As far as I'm concerned, my job as a worldbuilder is to create potential and opportunity--always according to a unifying vision--rather than try to provide for the needs of everyone. Some people are going to want all that "small magic" in every single village, and some aren't. To that end, I want to build to the point where either could be possible, then let the individual tables decide on their own which path to take. If I've failed to do that, then I definitely want to know about it, but in general I think they way I've gone about describing things should be adequate.

    Second, the aforementioned "unifying vision" that I'm trying to build is--like the Grimm tales--a little darkier and grittier than you would at first suspect. People live in the midst of magic, but more often than not it comes at a price that's not worth paying, or is used to malignant ends. That creates a hefty dose of superstition amongst certain groups of people. Here's the way I picture it right now:

    Woodfolk (from the Blackwood): Surrounded by magic that hurts more than it helps. Very superstitious. Very wary.

    Riverfolk (from the Way): Not exposed to much magic, but almost every one of them has a "friend of a friend" who saw a Waymaiden or fell under a curse or something. Pretty superstitious, but pretty skeptical.

    Elderfolk (from the Elder Kingdom): Inundated in magic that has helped them to live fairly advanced, healthy lives. They consider magic to be something like a spiritual gift. Not terribly superstitious, and more-or-less welcoming of it. This is your typical "idealized" fairy tale kingdom, the place where people have invisible helpers and enchanted items and stuff. Their tales have spread across the whole of the Blackwood, but they are more or less isolated from travel and immigration.

    Does that do anything to answer your concerns?

    And unosarta, I'm reading through the Grimm tales right now, and I understand completely about the challenges you're facing. Assigning mechanic to most of them would be a challenge, and even assigning a moral element to some of them would be a stretch. Can't wait to see what you come up with!
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    And unosarta, I'm reading through the Grimm tales right now, and I understand completely about the challenges you're facing. Assigning mechanic to most of them would be a challenge, and even assigning a moral element to some of them would be a stretch. Can't wait to see what you come up with!
    I have managed to finish all but the last two stories. I am worried, though, because while I want to assign specific mechanical aspects to the stories, I also want to keep them interesting for the users, and I am worried on the balance in an E6 game.

    I'll just put up the ones I have done so far, just in case.

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    • The Frog King: Upon using this story, the Storysinger grants one ally within 30 feet the ability to strike a magical effect and attempt to dispel it. They must make a melee or ranged attack roll, and if they hit, may attempt to dispel a magical effect from the thing they struck. They roll a d20 and add the Storysinger’s caster level to the dispel check. If they are successful, one beneficial magical effect is removed from an enemy, or a harmful magical effect is removed from an ally. The magical effect is chosen at random. The ally may use this at any time during the encounter, but after using it, they may not dispel again, and if they do not use it before the encounter ends, the use fades. Activating this ability is a move action.
    • The Cat and Mouse in Partnership: Upon using this story, the Storysinger grants two allies within 30 feet the ability to work together in tandem. Whenever those allies flank a target, they gain an additional +2 competency bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls made against that target. In addition, whenever one of them successfully hits an opponent flanked by the other, they heal one hit point, and the other ally loses one hit point. This effect lasts for 3 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.
    • Mary’s Child: Upon activating this story, the Storysinger grants one ally within 30 feet a +4 competency bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks. Whenever they successfully make a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check, they take 1 point of damage. This damage may not be avoided, and cannot be healed. Upon their third check, they heal 3d6 damage and gain the effects of the Zone of Truth spell, only affecting their person, and cannot attempt any Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate checks for the next hour. This story lasts until the end of the encounter, if used during combat, or for one hour outside of combat. Activating this ability is a move action.
    • The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger grants all allies within 30 feet a +4 morale bonus to Will saves against Fear effects. In addition, all allies within 30 feet gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class and attack rolls. This effect lasts for 2 rounds. Activating this ability is a move action.
    • The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids: Upon activating this story, the Storysinger may force one enemy within 30 feet to make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 Storysinger level + Storysinging ability modifier) or focus on her. For the duration of this ability, if the enemy failed the save, they may not attack any creature but the Storysinger. If they successfully hit the Storysinger, their land speed is reduced by half for 1 round. Multiple hits reduce their speed by half again, and also refresh the duration of the movement speed penalty. This ability lasts for 4 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.
    • Trusty John: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger must choose one enemy within 30 feet. If that enemy takes more than one action, or a single full round action, they take 1d4 damage, and must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 Storysinger levels + Storysinging ability modifier) or be Dazed for one round. This effect lasts for 3 rounds. Activating this ability is a move action.
    • The Good Bargain: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger must choose one creature within 30 feet. They take a -2 penalty on all Intelligence based checks, and for the duration of the story, whenever they fail a Knowledge based check, they heal 1 point of damage. In addition, all opponents within 10 feet of that creature take a -3 penalty to all Intelligence based checks. This ability lasts for 5 rounds. Activating this ability is a move action.
    • The Wonderful Musician: Upon activating this ability, all enemies may only attack the Storysinger. However, the Storysinger gains a +2 competency bonus to Armor Class, and any time an opponent attempts to attack the Storysinger, the Storysinger’s allies may move up to 10 feet towards the Storysinger, and all attacks made against the Storysinger provoke an attack of opportunity at a +2 bonus to the attack roll for allies. This effect lasts for 2 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.
    • The Twelve Brothers: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger may choose one ally within 30 feet. That ally may not take any actions for the next round, besides moving. If they do, all allies within 20 feet gain a +2 morale bonus to Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity, and Fast Healing 2. This effect lasts for 5 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.
    • The Pack of Ragamuffins: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger may grant choose one ally within 30 feet. That ally gains a +10 bonus to their movement speeds, and for the duration of this story, whenever they would move more than ten feet in a round, they deal an additional +1d6 damage on all attacks, and gain a +1 dodge bonus to Armor Class. This effect lasts for 4 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.
    • Brother and Sister: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger must choose one ally within 30 feet. That ally gains a +3 competency bonus to Sense Motive checks, and whenever they successfully make a Will save for interacting with an Illusion, they heal 1d6 points of damage, and the Illusion is immediately dispelled. The caster of the Illusion, if they are within 30 feet of the Illusion upon its being destroyed take 1d6 damage. This effect lasts for 5 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.
    • Rapunzel: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger must choose one enemy within 30 feet. That enemy immediately falls prone, and must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 Storysinger level + Storysinging ability modifier) or become blinded. This effect lasts for 3 rounds. They take 2 point of damage every round that they remain prone, and take 2d4 points of damage when they try to get back up. Activating this ability is a move action.
    • The Three Little Men in the Wood: Upon activating this ability the Storysinger affects all allies and enemies within 30 feet. Whenever an ally successfully grants another ally a bonus via Aid Another or flanks with an ally and that ally successfully hits the flanked enemy, they heal 2 points of damage. Whenever an enemy fails to grant another enemy a bonus via Aid Another or flanks with an enemy and that enemy fails to hit the flanked enemy, they take 2 points of damage. All enemies take a -2 penalty to any check to Aid Another, and to attack rolls. All allies gain a +2 bonus to any check to Aid Another, and to attack rolls. This effect lasts for 3 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.
    • The White Snake: Upon activating this ability the Storysinger must choose one ally within 30 feet. That ally gains the ability to speak with animals, as the Speak With Animals spell. Three times during the duration of this ability, the ally may summon an animal from the surroundings, as a standard action. This functions exactly as the Summon Nature’s Ally II spell, but they cannot summon Elementals. They may use Charisma based skills with animals as if those animals were not of Intelligence 2. This effect lasts for 5 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.
    • The Three Snake Leaves: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger must choose one dead creature within 30 feet. She reanimates them, as the Animate Dead spell. They count as technically living for all effects and purposes, including positive energy and healing, but they can be turned and controlled as if they were undead. They gain the evil alignment, and are just as disposed to attack the Storysinger’s allies as her enemies. At the end of the effect, the creature dies again, remaining in whatever physical state their body was in just before dying a second time. This effect lasts for 5 rounds.


    [Edit]: Just finished all of the Stories and have added them to the list. I skipped two stories because there was absolutely no way for me to work Hansel and Gretel or the Three Spinners.
    Last edited by unosarta; 2012-03-15 at 10:04 AM.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post

    I see your point, and there are a few ways I'd like to respond.

    First and foremost, my goal with this setting is to "keep the last few pages blank," so to speak. As far as I'm concerned, my job as a worldbuilder is to create potential and opportunity--always according to a unifying vision--rather than try to provide for the needs of everyone. Some people are going to want all that "small magic" in every single village, and some aren't. To that end, I want to build to the point where either could be possible, then let the individual tables decide on their own which path to take. If I've failed to do that, then I definitely want to know about it, but in general I think they way I've gone about describing things should be adequate.

    Second, the aforementioned "unifying vision" that I'm trying to build is--like the Grimm tales--a little darkier and grittier than you would at first suspect. People live in the midst of magic, but more often than not it comes at a price that's not worth paying, or is used to malignant ends. That creates a hefty dose of superstition amongst certain groups of people. Here's the way I picture it right now:

    Woodfolk (from the Blackwood): Surrounded by magic that hurts more than it helps. Very superstitious. Very wary.

    Riverfolk (from the Way): Not exposed to much magic, but almost every one of them has a "friend of a friend" who saw a Waymaiden or fell under a curse or something. Pretty superstitious, but pretty skeptical.

    Elderfolk (from the Elder Kingdom): Inundated in magic that has helped them to live fairly advanced, healthy lives. They consider magic to be something like a spiritual gift. Not terribly superstitious, and more-or-less welcoming of it. This is your typical "idealized" fairy tale kingdom, the place where people have invisible helpers and enchanted items and stuff. Their tales have spread across the whole of the Blackwood, but they are more or less isolated from travel and immigration.

    Does that do anything to answer your concerns?
    Right, I see now. That makes a lot of sense, actually, especially the part about "keeping the last few pages blank." Also, the part about people usually avoiding instead of embracing it.
    My next question now is, to what extent does magic pervade the Elder Kingdom, really? Is it more like a subtle, spiritual thing that ensures good harvests and protects from wandering trolls, or is it the kind of place you could buy a flying carpet from a roadside vendor?
    Also, what about other areas? Koss, Freeport, the Grey Folly area? What are their views on such things? And where is Cerai, I can't find it on the map. I assume that's the Western empire? Why not have that be a relatively new thing, in contrast to the small, stable Elder Kingdom?
    The witches really intruge me. Were you thinking Baba Yaga type witches, barely human? Human magic users? Or something in between, like Serafina Pekkala (my personal favorite).
    I'm really inuendating you with questions here, which probably shows how much I love this setting.
    And, do you have any examples of common superstitions (that may or may not work, at the DM's option). I would be happy to write up some of these "flavorful tidbits," such as slang, superstition and common practices, probably by researching such things as they existed in the real world, if you like.
    Last edited by The Anarresti; 2012-03-15 at 02:30 PM.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by The Anarresti View Post
    My next question now is, to what extent does magic pervade the Elder Kingdom, really? Is it more like a subtle, spiritual thing that ensures good harvests and protects from wandering trolls, or is it the kind of place you could buy a flying carpet from a roadside vendor?
    Definitely more of the subtle kind. I don't picture any really overt magic anywhere in the Blackwood. In my mind, the Elder Kingdom is this sort of idyllic, shangri-la-esque place where (like you said), crops are always plentiful, the weather is very rarely bad, and peace reigns. To draw out the wuxia influence, you might compare the Elder Kingdom with the perfect ancestral dynasties that Confucius talks about. In one way or another, I imagine all the good things the people of the Blackwood possess (civilization, laws, etc.) came from the Elder Kingdom, whether or not the people of the Blackwood realize it.

    Also, what about other areas? Koss, Freeport, the Grey Folly area? What are their views on such things?
    Much less magical interference. Weather patterns and growing cycles are as per standard RL stuff. There also isn't as much in the way of great wisdom or learning, compared to the Elder Kingdom. The idea is that when you descend from the Elder Kingdom into the wood, you leave the ideal world behind. You go from benefiting from magic to having to deal with it.

    The witches really intruge me. Were you thinking Baba Yaga type witches, barely human? Human magic users? Or something in between, like Serafina Pekkala (my personal favorite).
    There was talking further back in the thread about having one/a few Baba Yaga types, and I encourage that. For the most part, I picture witches to be humans with magical skill, rather than sub/super/pre/post/whatever humans. Serafina (as I remember her) would fit in with my vision of the Elves, though she would only be one representation of that highly-varied race of creatures.

    Of course, this question gets into the grey area of stuff that I'd like to leave open to the interpretation of individual tables. I'm hesitant to define it, because I think it would be fun for people to draw their own conclusions.

    And, do you have any examples of common superstitions (that may or may not work, at the DM's option). I would be happy to write up some of these "flavorful tidbits," such as slang, superstition and common practices, probably by researching such things as they existed in the real world, if you like.
    This is another thing that I had planned on keeping vague. People may carry a charm or trinket to ward against evil, and they may have hand gestures and things like that, but I don't feel compelled to elaborate on them beyond indicating that they are things that happen.

    That said, if you'd like to come up with stuff, if it's good material then I'll be sure to include it in the "Recommended Homebrew" section!

    UPDATE: I've posted the first 2/3 of the section on "The River." As I'm going through and putting these things up, I would LOVE for anyone and everyone to give it a read through, critiquing word choice, grammar, and general flavor.
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    So, when you do get your Blackwoods game up and running, what game system do you intend to use? Thief, Warrior, Mage?
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Anarresti View Post
    So, when you do get your Blackwoods game up and running, what game system do you intend to use? Thief, Warrior, Mage?
    YOU!
    Where did you get your LGBT sig thing?!?
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    Storysinger

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    HD: d6
    Class Skills: The Storysinger's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (None), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
    Skill Points: 6+ Int

    {table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|0|1|2

    1st|
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |Archetype, Spellcasting, Singer of Stories|3|-|-

    2nd|
    +1
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |Lesser Archetype Power|3|1|-

    3rd|
    +2
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |Singer of Heroes|3|2|-

    4th|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |Moderate Archetype Power, Unite|3|3|1

    5th|
    +3
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |
    +4
    |Mythsight, Tapestry of Mind|4|3|2

    6th|
    +4
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |
    +5
    |Greater Archetype Power, Singer of Epics|4|3|3[/table]

    Proficiencies: The Storysinger is proficient with all simple weapons and two martial weapons of her choice. She is also proficient with light armor and light shields.

    Archetype: At first level, the Storysinger chooses an archetype from the list below. She gains the advantages and abilities at the appropriate levels, as indicated on the list. Once this choice is made, it is final.

    Spellcasting: The Storysinger casts arcane spells from a specialized list, which is included below. The Storysinger need not prepare spells ahead of time - she may spontaneously cast any spell on her list from the appropriate slot. She still requires eight hours of rest to refresh her spells. Her sole casting stat is the ability score chosen through the Singer of Stories, which dictates both the DC of her spells and her bonus spells. To cast a spell, the Storysinger must have a chosen ability score equal to 10 + the level of spell in question.

    Singer of Stories (Ex): The Storysinger gains a number of uses of Storysinging per encounter equal to her choice of her Intelligence, Wisdom, or Intelligence modifier, or 3, whichever is lower. She must choose whether to have Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma affect this ability at first level, and may not change that choice thereafter. She gains access to the following stories, all of which cost 1 use of Storysinging to activate.
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    • The Frog King: Upon using this story, the Storysinger grants one ally within 30 feet the ability to strike a magical effect and attempt to dispel it. They must make a melee or ranged attack roll, and if they hit, may attempt to dispel a magical effect from the thing they struck. They roll a d20 and add the Storysinger’s caster level to the dispel check. If they are successful, one beneficial magical effect is removed from an enemy, or a harmful magical effect is removed from an ally. The magical effect is chosen at random. The ally may use this at any time during the encounter, but after using it, they may not dispel again, and if they do not use it before the encounter ends, the use fades. Activating this ability is a move action.
    • The Cat and Mouse in Partnership: Upon using this story, the Storysinger grants two allies within 30 feet the ability to work together in tandem. Whenever those allies flank a target, they gain an additional +2 competency bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls made against that target. In addition, whenever one of them successfully hits an opponent flanked by the other, they heal one hit point, and the other ally loses one hit point. This effect lasts for 3 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.
    • Mary’s Child: Upon activating this story, the Storysinger grants one ally within 30 feet a +4 competency bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks. Whenever they successfully make a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check, they take 1 point of damage. This damage may not be avoided, and cannot be healed. Upon their third check, they heal 3d6 damage and gain the effects of the Zone of Truth spell, only affecting their person, and cannot attempt any Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate checks for the next hour. This story lasts until the end of the encounter, if used during combat, or for one hour outside of combat. Activating this ability is a move action.
    • The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger grants all allies within 30 feet a +4 morale bonus to Will saves against Fear effects. In addition, all allies within 30 feet gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class and attack rolls. This effect lasts for 2 rounds. Activating this ability is a move action.
    • The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids: Upon activating this story, the Storysinger may force one enemy within 30 feet to make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 Storysinger level + Storysinging ability modifier) or focus on her. For the duration of this ability, if the enemy failed the save, they may not attack any creature but the Storysinger. If they successfully hit the Storysinger, their land speed is reduced by half for 1 round. Multiple hits reduce their speed by half again, and also refresh the duration of the movement speed penalty. This ability lasts for 4 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.


    Lesser Archetype Power: Starting at second level, the Storysinger gains the appropriate power for her archetype.

    Singer of Heroes (Ex): Starting at third level, the Storysinger gains an additional use of her Storysinging ability, and can play the following songs, which cost two uses of Storysinging to activate.
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    • Trusty John: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger must choose one enemy within 30 feet. If that enemy takes more than one action, or a single full round action, they take 1d4 damage, and must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 Storysinger levels + Storysinging ability modifier) or be Dazed for one round. This effect lasts for 3 rounds. Activating this ability is a move action.
    • The Good Bargain: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger must choose one creature within 30 feet. They take a -2 penalty on all Intelligence based checks, and for the duration of the story, whenever they fail a Knowledge based check, they heal 1 point of damage. In addition, all opponents within 10 feet of that creature take a -3 penalty to all Intelligence based checks. This ability lasts for 5 rounds. Activating this ability is a move action.
    • The Wonderful Musician: Upon activating this ability, all enemies may only attack the Storysinger. However, the Storysinger gains a +2 competency bonus to Armor Class, and any time an opponent attempts to attack the Storysinger, the Storysinger’s allies may move up to 10 feet towards the Storysinger, and all attacks made against the Storysinger provoke an attack of opportunity at a +2 bonus to the attack roll for allies. This effect lasts for 2 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.
    • The Twelve Brothers: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger may choose one ally within 30 feet. That ally may not take any actions for the next round, besides moving. If they do, all allies within 20 feet gain a +2 morale bonus to Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity, and Fast Healing 2. This effect lasts for 5 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.
    • The Pack of Ragamuffins: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger may grant choose one ally within 30 feet. That ally gains a +10 bonus to their movement speeds, and for the duration of this story, whenever they would move more than ten feet in a round, they deal an additional +1d6 damage on all attacks, and gain a +1 dodge bonus to Armor Class. This effect lasts for 4 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.


    Unite: Starting at fourth level, the Storysinger may unite allies with but words. Once per encounter, the Storysinger may grant allies a +1 competency bonus to attack and damage rolls made while flanking per ally flanking a single enemy. Allies also gain a +1 bonus to armor class per ally within 10 feet. This effect lasts 1d4 rounds, plus a number of rounds equal to one half of the Storysinger’s Storysinger levels. Activating this ability is a standard action.

    Moderate Archetype Power: Starting at fourth level, the Storysinger gains the appropriate power for her archetype.

    Mythsight (Su): Starting at fifth level, the Storysinger may use the Analyse Dweomer spell once per day, as a full round action. She is always considered under the effects of the Detect Magic spell.

    Tapestry of Mind (Su): Starting at fifth level, the Storysinger may weave a tapestry out of stories and illusions. By spending a full round action, and spending all of her Storysinging uses, and casting one [Figment] spell of at least first level, the Storysinger may create a vast, beautiful Tapestry. All creatures with an Intelligence 2 or lower within 300 feet are drawn to the tapestry, and take 2d4x2 minutes to reach it. All creatures with 3 Intelligence or above who see the tapestry, or even catch a glance, must make a Will save or be fascinated, as the bardic music ability. The DC for the will save for this effect is (DC 10 + 1/2 Storysinger levels + Storysinging ability modifier). The tapestry lasts for 1d4x10 minutes, or until the end of the encounter, whichever comes first.

    Greater Archetype Power: Starting at sixth level, the Storysinger gains the appropriate power for her archetype.

    Singer of Epics (Ex): Starting at sixth level, the Storysinger gains two additional uses of her Storysinging ability, and can play the following songs, which cost three uses of Storysinging to activate.
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    • Brother and Sister: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger must choose one ally within 30 feet. That ally gains a +3 competency bonus to Sense Motive checks, and whenever they successfully make a Will save for interacting with an Illusion, they heal 1d6 points of damage, and the Illusion is immediately dispelled. The caster of the Illusion, if they are within 30 feet of the Illusion upon its being destroyed take 1d6 damage. This effect lasts for 5 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.
    • Rapunzel: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger must choose one enemy within 30 feet. That enemy immediately falls prone, and must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 Storysinger level + Storysinging ability modifier) or become blinded. This effect lasts for 3 rounds. They take 2 point of damage every round that they remain prone, and take 2d4 points of damage when they try to get back up. Activating this ability is a move action.
    • The Three Little Men in the Wood: Upon activating this ability the Storysinger affects all allies and enemies within 30 feet. Whenever an ally successfully grants another ally a bonus via Aid Another or flanks with an ally and that ally successfully hits the flanked enemy, they heal 2 points of damage. Whenever an enemy fails to grant another enemy a bonus via Aid Another or flanks with an enemy and that enemy fails to hit the flanked enemy, they take 2 points of damage. All enemies take a -2 penalty to any check to Aid Another, and to attack rolls. All allies gain a +2 bonus to any check to Aid Another, and to attack rolls. This effect lasts for 3 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.
    • The White Snake: Upon activating this ability the Storysinger must choose one ally within 30 feet. That ally gains the ability to speak with animals, as the Speak With Animals spell. Three times during the duration of this ability, the ally may summon an animal from the surroundings, as a standard action. This functions exactly as the Summon Nature’s Ally II spell, but they cannot summon Elementals. They may use Charisma based skills with animals as if those animals were not of Intelligence 2. This effect lasts for 5 rounds. Activating this ability is a swift action.
    • The Three Snake Leaves: Upon activating this ability, the Storysinger must choose one dead creature within 30 feet. She reanimates them, as the Animate Dead spell. They count as technically living for all effects and purposes, including positive energy and healing, but they can be turned and controlled as if they were undead. They gain the evil alignment, and are just as disposed to attack the Storysinger’s allies as her enemies. At the end of the effect, the creature dies again, remaining in whatever physical state their body was in just before dying a second time. This effect lasts for 5 rounds.


    Archetypes

    Harmonist


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    Lesser Archetype Power: By spending one use of the Harmonist’s Storysinging ability, the Harmonist may grant two characters within 30 feet of herself the ability to share thoughts. Those characters gain Telepathy 100, but may only communicate with each other. In addition, they gain a +3 competency bonus to all attack and damage rolls made when within 10 feet of each other, and whenever one of them makes a full attack and hits with all attacks, that enemy provokes an attack of opportunity from the other creature. This effect lasts for 3 rounds, and the Harmonist may increase the duration by spending an additional use of Storysinging in order to increase it by one round.

    Moderate Archetype Power: The Harmonist gains a +3 bonus to all Diplomacy checks. Whenever she uses Aid Another with an ally, that ally gains an additional +1 bonus to the attempted roll, and the Harmonist gains 2 temporary hit points. If they succeed, then the Harmonist and that ally both gain a +1 competency bonus with the skill that they succeeded on for 3 rounds. Following successes stack, but do not refresh the ability. This ability may only be used on with ally per encounter.

    Greater Archetype Power: Once per day, the Harmonist may spend two uses of her Storysinging ability in order to harmonize all allies within 30 feet. They gain a Hivemind until the end of the encounter, and whenever an ally who is part of the hivemind successfully hits a target, all other allies gain a +1 morale bonus to attack and damage rolls made against that target. This ability stacks with itself, and successive hits refresh the duration of the ability. This effect lasts until the end of the encounter.



    Teller of Tales


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    Lesser Archetype Power: The Teller of Tales may spend a use of her Storysinging ability as a standard action, and force all enemies within 30 feet to make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 Storysinger level + Storysinging ability modifier) or be Fascinated, as the Bard song, for as long as she Concentrates. Every time a member of the Fascinated group is damaged, the Teller of Tales must make a Concentration check with a DC equal to the damage, or the effect breaks. Concentrating on this ability is a move action.

    Moderate Archetype Power: Any enemy who is currently under the effects of your Stories takes a -2 penalty to Armor Class, and takes an additional 1 damage from any melee or ranged attack.

    Greater Archetype Power: Once per day, the Teller of Tales may spend two uses of her Storysinging ability as a standard action, and force one target within 30 feet to make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 Storysinger level + Storysinging ability modifier) or be Dominated, as the spell. The Teller of Tales must spend a full round action each round in order to maintain control over the Dominated creature. If they Teller of Tales takes any damage at all during this time, she breaks concentration automatically and loses control of the Dominated creature. In order to maintain control over the Dominated creature, the Teller of Tales must speak or make a sound every round and direct the creature verbally. The creature does not necessarily have to understand the Teller of Tales in order to be Dominated. As soon as the encounter ends, this effect also ends.


    Chastiser


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    Lesser Archetype Power: The Chastiser may, by spending a use of her Storysinging ability, send a fear of the weird and supernatural into those who listen to her, as a standard action. All enemies within 30 feet must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 Storysinger level + Storysinging ability modifier) or become Shaken. All allies gain a +1 morale bonus to attack and damage rolls, the fear driving them to greater feats of martial prowess. This effect lasts for 2 rounds.

    Moderate Archetype Power: Whenever an enemy is affected by a Story that the Chastiser tells, they must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 Storysinger level + Storysinging ability modifier) or be Shaken for one round. Once an enemy is affected by this ability, they are immune to it until the end of the encounter.

    Greater Archetype Power: The Chastiser may, by spending two uses of her Storysinging ability, send a fear so strong into an enemy within 30 feet that they may not move. That enemy must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 Storysinger level + Storysinging ability modifier) or be stunned for one round. If they make their Will save, they are instead panicked for 3 rounds. Once an enemy has been affected by this ability, they are immune for 24 hours. Activating this ability is a standard action.



    Storyweaver


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    Lesser Archetype Power: The Storyweaver may, by spending a use of her Storysinging ability, create a [Figment] effect, as if casting the Silent Image spell. At Third level, this becomes as if casting the Minor Image spell. At fifth level, it becomes as if casting the Major image spell. This effect does not require the Storyweaver to maintain concentration for it to remain. This ability lasts for 3 rounds.

    Moderate Archetype Power: Whenever a creature interacts with the Storyweaver’s Illusions and successfully makes the Will save or has their Spell Resistance beat the Storyweaver’s caster level check, they take 2d6 non-Lethal damage. In addition, the Storyweaver’s Illusions, as long as they have not been interacted with by the enemy, can count as flanking that enemy as long as they are adjacent to that enemy.

    Greater Archetype Power: Once per day, the Storyweaver may, by spending four uses of her Storysinging ability, cast the Mirage Arcana spell, and create up to three [Figment] effects, as if she had cast the Major Image spell thrice. She must concentrate in order to maintain this effect, and any damage causes her to automatically fail concentration and remove the illusions. Concentrating to maintain this effect requires a full round action each round. The Storyweaver may only concentrate up to a number of rounds equal to the ability score used with her Storysinging ability. Activating this ability is a full round action.



    Folklorist


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    Lesser Archetype Power: The Folklorist may, by spending a use of her Storysinging ability as a standard action, gain a +4 bonus to any Knowledge check made to identify a monster, and gains a +1 bonus to all attack and damage rolls made against creatures who have been identified by the Folklorist this encounter. For the duration of this effect, they may use any Knowledge skill untrained. This ability lasts for 3 rounds.

    Moderate Archetype Power: The Folklorist gains a +3 competency bonus to all Knowledge checks involving creatures upon whom she has used her Storysinging ability in the concurrent encounter. She gains the Lore ability, as Bardic Knowledge but using her Storysinger level instead of Bard level.

    Greater Archetype Power: Once per day, the Folklorist may, by spending two use of her Storysinging ability as a standard action, know everything about all creatures within 50 feet. She gains Telepathy out to 50 feet. She knows the thoughts of all creatures that she can speak with Telepathically, and automatically makes any Knowledge checks that she attempts to find information about those creatures. This effect lasts until the end of the encounter, or for one minute, whichever comes first.


    Spell List


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    0th: Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Daze, Detect Magic, Flare, Ghost Sound, Lullaby, Mage Hand, Mending, Message, Prestidigitation, Read Magic,, Resistance.

    1st: Alarm, Charm Person, Comprehend Languages, Erase, Hideous Laughter, Hypnotism, Identify, Lesser Confusion, Magic Mouth, Silent Image, Sleep, Unseen Servant, Ventriloquism.

    2nd: Alter Self, Calm Emotions, Darkness, Daze Monster, Detect Thoughts, Enthrall, Heroism, Invisibility, Minor Image, Mirror Image, Rage, Scare, Silence, Suggestion, Tongues, Whispering Wind.
    Last edited by unosarta; 2012-03-16 at 07:27 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lix Lorn View Post
    NOTHING is simple. NO EXCEPTIONS. No, not even that.

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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by The Anarresti View Post
    So, when you do get your Blackwoods game up and running, what game system do you intend to use? Thief, Warrior, Mage?

    I will definitely be using WRM, but I was planning on using E6 for a long while. WRM is just exactly the way I envision the setting; it was really no contest, no matter how much I enjoy E6.

    Unosarta, thanks a ton for that class! I'm exhausted, but I'll give it a read through bright and early tomorrow morning. Just to make sure, you submitted it to Gnorman's thread too, right?
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    Unosarta, thanks a ton for that class! I'm exhausted, but I'll give it a read through bright and early tomorrow morning. Just to make sure, you submitted it to Gnorman's thread too, right?
    Hahaha, no problem. It was fun. I have not submitted it to his thread yet, but I will go do that right now...
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    The Class looks good! I'm start off by saying that I have next to no idea what a balanced class looks like.

    That said, it looks pretty good to these eyes. It's got a lot of nice flavor (especially that capstone ability!), but I find myself wondering about something:

    Mythsight: Constant effect Arcane Sight seems kind of powerful. It fits the subtlety of the setting just fine, AS is a pretty powerful ability, right?
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    The Class looks good! I'm start off by saying that I have next to no idea what a balanced class looks like.

    That said, it looks pretty good to these eyes. It's got a lot of nice flavor (especially that capstone ability!), but I find myself wondering about something:

    Mythsight: Constant effect Arcane Sight seems kind of powerful. It fits the subtlety of the setting just fine, AS is a pretty powerful ability, right?
    Oh, that is a good point! I was pretty much trying to port a few class features over from the original, which had permanent Greater Arcane Sight, and I just put it at the lower one. I forgot that AS is a third level spell. I will probably just give them a constant Detect Magic. The ability isn't supposed to be that powerful at all, so that would make much more sense.
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    NOTHING is simple. NO EXCEPTIONS. No, not even that.

  20. - Top - End - #140
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    "The River" now has a "Factions" section. Check it out.

    *Disclaimer* I wrote it while I was under the influence of a commendable amount of alcohol, so any criticism you have would be great.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Not much I can see, problem-wise, apart from a few typos (although commendably few given the amount of alcohol you said you were on at the time).

    However, my new thread here contains my campaign world. If you would be so kind as to look it over and post a comment, that would be most appreciated.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I want to create a world that is full of possibility, and one of the best ways to handle it is by creating a bunch of stories that haven't yet been finished.
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    Now witness the power of this fully operational railroad engine.

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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    So, I wrote another story. This one involves more fantasy-children's tale elements, but it was still really fun to write. I am thinking I want to make Johan a thing, that I can continue to write about. I don't know the direction that I want to take him, but it will be interesting.

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    Johan and the Gnolls

    This story starts as all of the great ones do; once upon a time there was a little boy. He would grow into a large boy and then a man, in time, but for now we care with only his young self. They called the boy Johan, and Johan was the son of a blacksmith. As you must be thinking, “not a very illustrious position,” and “why would such a lowly person be the subject of our story?” Well, Johan would not stay a young boy for long, and in time grew to be the greatest man in his land. But when he was young, Johan was bullied and picked on. He grew up in a small village outside of the royal lands surrounding the capitol. He was slight, and a rather thin boy. The other children in his village would thrash him mightily, and seeing as his mother had died many years ago, he had no one to go to. His father would look at him and give him a pitying look, and say that he should deal with his problems himself. He felt constantly alone, and would spend much of his time in the woods, quietly crying. It is there that we find him on this day.

    The woods were full of terrible monsters, so Johan would hide in the trees, high up away from where any of them could touch him, afraid but preferring the danger to his life in the village. The animals of the forest would find him and play with him. He found it much more comforting than the squalid squeals of the town children. The animals instinctively loved . It just so happened that there was a fearsome band of gnolls who were terrorizing the village in which Johan lived. They would come every week, and demand food and money, or else they would slaughter the whole village. There was no doubt in any of the villager’s minds that they would easily be able to kill them all. Of course, they would come at midday, the exact time when Johan wanted least to be in town, near the other children. He never saw the gnolls, and was otherwise completely unaware they existed.

    The day that we come upon is the fast day, and all of the villagers were in the church, praying and fasting. Johan would not step a foot inside the church, for that is where his mother died. He stayed in the woods that day, away from the general stillness and silence of the town. It is in the woods that he came upon a seemingly abandoned camp. The fire had been recently stamped out, and although the sun was still low in the sky, there were signs that the occupants of the camp had been drinking. Johan was wary, and heard the crashing in the underbrush several minutes before it actually came upon the camp, and was able to climb into the trees. He found a nest of squirrels and a sparrow living up in the tree, and started to play with them while watching the camp below. The gnolls, a creature that Johan had previously never seen came into the camp, all uproariously drunk except for what Johan thought was the leader. He was tall, silver-haired, and hideously scarred. His right eye was cut out, and not even covered. His visage was horrifying, but what unnerved Johan was the way that he casually leaned back against a tree, next to the corpse of some large woodland creature, inefficiently butchered and lain bloody against the tree, and how he held the creature’s head, examining it with precise and vicious eyes.

    It was with those eyes that Johan was spotted. The leader looked up to the tree, and growled something long and low before looking away quickly. Johan assumed that he was looking at something lower on the tree, right until he was forcibly pulled from the tree. They threw him on the ground, and were about to stab him when the leader held up his hands. There was an instant hush that settled around the monsters. The leader pulled a dagger, and advanced towards the little boy, cleaning his fingernails with the dagger, the blade easily twice as long as Johan’s face. The gnoll licked the blade and the rubbed the spittle onto Johan’s face. He sniffed the red flesh of Johan’s bruised face which had been struck upon falling from the tree. He shuddered slightly at the smell, either of pleasure or horror, Johan could not tell.

    “I know what you want,” said Johan, his voice cracking and stuttering from fear.

    “Do you, little boy?” The gnoll’s breath smelled like raw garlic and blood.

    “Y-you w-want to eat me, a-and th-then kill all of the p-people in the v-village.”

    The gnoll laughed. “No, the current arrangement is far too lucrative for anything so vulgar. We simply want a little added element of... terror added to your little hamlet. We will burn the church at sundown, kill the priest, maybe a few townsfolk too, if we get hungry. But first we have to remove one little problem element...” The gnoll shouted at the others, and they lifted up a great big pot, and set it over the fire that had been stoked while Johan wasn’t watching. The pot was filled with stream water, a few fish live fish (presumably from the stream, gnolls aren’t exactly the most discerning of creatures), some carrots, onions, and a huge pile of salt. They were making a stew of him.



    As is par for the course for gnolls, they had forgotten one key element. In the excitement to boil the little boy stew and get some good grub before they went to burn the church, they did not look around for spies. The squirrel and birds that Johan had been playing with watched the whole scene with trepidation. They knew the blood thirst of the gnolls, and the hunger that drives many of their schemes, and knew they would need help. They went to the gathering place of the animals, and called the badger, the owl, the fox, the fieldmouse, and the deer.

    “What are we doing here?” asked the badger. He was in the middle of his midday-nap, and had no patience for idle chatter.

    “It looks like squirrel and sparrow have some news for us, badger, so why don’t you just sit down on that slick little rump of yours and listen to what they have to say,” said fox. He was smooth and sly, and none of the other animals really liked him. Johan had found him funny and interesting, and had become quick friends.

    Squirrel and sparrow were panting, and they had to wait a few seconds to get their breath back before they could tell the animals of the events in the camp. “Some... gnolls... took Johan... boil... stew...” Squirrel managed to squeak out.

    “The gnolls are making stew with Johan? I thought gnolls hated humans?” said fieldmouse. She was not altogether that smart, and took many of her ques from squirrel, who was her close friend.

    “No, dummy, Johan is making a stew out of gnolls. And good for him, too, I say! Those gnolls are quite mean, and they deserve what they get.” Said deer. She was quite self-sure, and thought she always knew right.

    “Shush, all of you! We must let them speak and hear what they have to say.” Shouted owl. Owl was patient and wise, and knew that squabbling could only take up more time that was precious if their friend was in trouble.

    “The gnolls... have taken Johan... and are boiling him into a stew. We must.. hurry!” Sparrow gasped, and then fell onto the forest floor, dead tired from their flight over, fast asleep.

    The animals went as quick as they could to the camp where Johan was. They found the gnolls still fussing with the pot, but some of them, including the leader, were gone. They had no way of defeating the gnolls still there, but they could see that Johan was still alive. Fox flipped into the clearing, ran up to one of the gnolls still in the clearing, and scratched him on the face, slicing through his eyes. The gnoll screamed, and started thrashing, trying to hit the fox. The gnolls, not being very smart creatures, leaped up and started chasing the fox around. The fox ran circles around them, and led them out of the clearing. The badger and deer tried tipping the cauldron over, but it was too heavy. The fieldmouse jumped up on the cauldron, and starting splashing water on the flames. Although she could only get a little bit of water onto the flames, they hissed and sizzled, and the other animals realized what they had to do. The badger helped the deer up onto the pot, and the deer took a deep mouthful, and sprayed it onto the fire. It immediately went out.

    Johan stumbled out of the pot, and upon seeing his animal friends, cried out joyously. He thanked each of them personally, and then asked where fox was. The other animals confessed that the fox had led the other gnolls away.

    “Oh no! I hope he is okay,” shouted Johan, grabbing his drenched head and casting his eyes downward.

    “Don’t worry, Johan, I am sure he will be fine. None can outfox the fox. In the meantime, aren’t you forgetting something?” Said the owl. When Johan looked at him with confusion, he continued, “What happened to the other gnolls?” Johan jumped up with fright upon remembering that the gnolls had said that they were heading towards the town to burn the church down.

    “Oh no! We have to stop them!” He cried.

    The owl nodded his beak, and flew over to Johan, picking him up gently with his claws. He lifted him clear over the trees, and took him to the town. They saw the rampaging gnolls heading through the forest, and flew past. The owl dropped Johan off in the town, and told him to let the townspeople know.

    “But what can they do? There is no guard, and no one to stop the gnolls!”

    “You will have to think of something.” The owl touched Johan’s forehead with his beak, and flew off to the forest. Johan stood in the center of town, thinking.



    When the gnolls arrived in the village, they were surprised to find the townspeople having a feast right in the center of town. There were luscious steaks, pounds upon pounds of potatoes and carrots, glazed with sugar and honey, and huge roasts of pork and chicken. A barrel of cider had been pulled out of the church cellar and brought to the table, where it was on tap for all to drink. The table of the feast had quite a few seats open, and the villagers quickly offered the seats to the gnolls, who were understandably famished. The leader was wary, but at the insistance of his men and of the townsfolk, he sat at the table.

    The gnolls tucked in, eating quite a lot more than the villagers. While the gnolls were eating, Johan and the squirrel were running around under the tables, and tying their feet to the chairs. When the gnolls finished, and began to try to extort more from the village, the sparrow and the owl started pecking out their eyes.

    Johan, after driving off the gnolls, was held in universal esteem. The whole village treated him like a hero, and the children all wanted to play with him. However, he remembered their slights and threats, and knew better than to try to be friends with people such as them. He stayed in the forest with his animal friends.

    While the gnolls were unable to see, the villagers deposited them on the outskirts of town and sent them off on their way. The gnolls were robbed and stolen from, eventually reaching the head of the Bandit King’s lands, in the Bracken. They told the Bandit King of the young boy’s actions, and the Bandit King found himself intrigued. However, that is a story for another day, and another time. You children behave yourselves, and I might tell that story tomorrow. Now, the story is over and the hero has made the day better, and it is time for us to go to bed, for sleep is fleeting, and I am in need of a good solid mattress if I am to continue telling stories.
    Last edited by unosarta; 2012-03-17 at 09:42 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lix Lorn View Post
    NOTHING is simple. NO EXCEPTIONS. No, not even that.

  23. - Top - End - #143
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Do the river nobles have hard-and-fast inheritable titles, or it is more of an informal, shifting nobility?
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Anarresti View Post
    Do the river nobles have hard-and-fast inheritable titles, or it is more of an informal, shifting nobility?
    I imagine the nobles at the top are inherited titles, but lesser nobility can come to earn their title. For instance, the Lord of Three Rivers might be a direct descendant of the semi-mythical founder of the city, whereas one of his advisers might have become a lord by distinguishing himself as a trader.

    However, this isn't information that I will publish. By maintaining the vagueness common in fairy tales, I leave the proverbial ellipses that allow for greater creativity at the table. "Leaving the option open" has become a very major theme of this setting.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Update:

    The section on "The Elder Kingdom" is up! It's short and sweet, which is exactly how I want it. In my mind, this is the sort of place that one hears about over the course of several adventures before actually visiting. Half-remembered stories and tantalizing rumors are the best way to go about setting this place up.

    Next up, I'll be posting some info about magic in the setting. Because I'm trying to stay system-neutral, I'm going to try my hardest to describe the dichotomy in system-neutral terms. That might be posted as early as this evening!

    After that, I think the second post in the thread will transform into a collection of tales. I may end up posting them here, spoilered, in their entirety, rather than linking to them on my blog.
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  26. - Top - End - #146
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    What about the magic makes it difficult to explain without including system terms?

    Also, the inclusion of possible ToB groups in the Elder Kingdom makes me quite happy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lix Lorn View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by unosarta View Post
    What about the magic makes it difficult to explain without including system terms?

    Also, the inclusion of possible ToB groups in the Elder Kingdom makes me quite happy.
    It's not really that it will be difficult, it was just a disclaimer, I guess. At first I thought about describing magic two different ways: from the perspective of the players, and from the perspective of the characters. At this point, I think I can accomplish what I need to by describing it from the POV of the characters for the benefit of the players, but we'll see.

    Long story short: I'll be laying out magic in terms of either "sorcery" or "works of faith."

    While I was kicking around the idea of using 3.5 (before I found E6 and--eventually--WRM), ToB was one of the major things I wanted to accommodate. I love the mechanics involved, and it fits in with a lot of wuxia stuff flavor-wise. Theoretically, the Sentinels, Spearwood Brothers, hunters, and even town watch could all use ToB disciplines.

    I think you may be thinking that the "Nine Swords" are an homage to ToB, though, and they're not. While they would almost certainly use ToB disciplines if the table decided to include that book, that's not the reason why I named them what I did. Nine is an auspicious number in Chinese culture (as the largest single digit, AND as the result of 3x3, since 3 is another auspicious number for them), and I've included it in a lot of this setting. It's not something that you would notice without seeing all of my notes, but 9 and its multiples are everywhere. For example, every region's population density is based on [a multiple of 9 people/sq. mi.].
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    UPDATE:

    The magic section is posted! It's a rough draft at this point, because I'd like to give it another read tomorrow and decide if that's everything I need to cover on the subject. Theoretically, the first post should now be a guide containing everything a player needs to know to create a character in this world.

    The second post will eventually be reformatted to include all the information a character might possess, including a collection of all the Tales of the world. This is something that I will likely add to as the world evolves, i.e. as I run campaigns in the world, and will be pretty sparse to begin with.

    The Third post will be advice for GMs about elements to emphasize to truly represent the world, as well as a collection of recommended homebrew, variant mechanics, etc.

    I've got fourth and fifth posts in case I need any buffer room, but I don't think they'll be necessary. Hurrah!

    Now that I've "finished" the first, I welcome the opportunity to have it torn apart by all of you fine hooligans. Does it flow easily from subject to subject? Is it clear and easy to understand (while maintaining a level of narrative intrigue, of course)? Does it seem like an exciting world that you just can't wait to play in?
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I would edit the sorcery blurb to allow for the possibility of male hedge wizards. There's no reason for the village witch to be only female, or if there is, that's the individual DM's decision. Heck, the village witch could be a young person, or could even be an empty, haunted stump that people throw money into to beg for favors.
    EDIT: I'm also a little bit confused about Koss. Are people from Koss Riverfolk or Woodfolk? They're obviously not Elderfolk. And is Koss itself a whole, unified kingdom?
    Last edited by The Anarresti; 2012-03-19 at 09:28 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Anarresti View Post
    I would edit the sorcery blurb to allow for the possibility of male hedge wizards. There's no reason for the village witch to be only female, or if there is, that's the individual DM's decision. Heck, the village witch could be a young person, or could even be an empty, haunted stump that people throw money into to beg for favors.
    Good point, thanks! It's been changed.

    EDIT: I'm also a little bit confused about Koss. Are people from Koss Riverfolk or Woodfolk? They're obviously not Elderfolk. And is Koss itself a whole, unified kingdom?
    Good question, and for some reason I'm having a really hard time enunciating my thoughts here. I keep erasing what I've written, only to erase it again!

    Koss and the Blackwood are two separate, comparably-sized regions. With that in mind, the people of the Blackwood would be separated into Wood, River, and Elderfolk. The people of Koss, on the other hand, would be separated into their own, unique groups (specifically, Winterfolk and Summerfolk), but I haven't elaborated on that because cultural things like that get boiled down when you travel to a different place. It's the same idea that a Oregonian and a Mississippian are very different to U.S. Americans, but both are just "Americans" to, say, a German.

    I have this grand meta-plan in mind to eventually elaborate on the entire continent, visiting each of the regions in turn as though they were their own setting. With that in mind, I ended up deciding to leave out the section on Koss that I had thought to write for this setting, because it was straying from the task at hand: realizing the Blackwood. There are a few Kossians that make their way into the Wood (just as there are a few Cerians), but its not enough to warrant spending more time on them than I already have with their respective Tales. If people want to play them, they'll just have to wait for the next "Splatthread!"
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