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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pokonic View Post
    All Dragons are Special.

    By that, I mean that there are so many traits a individual dragon may have, scale color means diddly squat.

    You see, when a dragon is in a egg, it grows by syphoning ambient magic from around it. This, along with local envrioment fectures, genetics, and random chance, tends to mean most dragons are easily spotted from crowds of other dragons.

    Also, dragons, rather than by scale color, see there "kind" as most of there extended family. For instance, the dragons of, say, the Emerald Forest are known for greenish, almost rootlike scale ridges on there belly and a tendancy to have poison-breath, while the family known as the Stonescales have distinct large, flat scales and tend to be more compact than most. Hence, a gathering of a extanded family might literaly consist of every creature with the Dragon subtype in the monster manual, exept there all vaugly friendly with each other and have roughly the same body traits.Scale color is usualy only useful in determining a individual dragons origin, roughly the same as telling which contanent someone's ancesters came from.Breath and powers gained from age catagories is even less useful for identification, because those are always influenced by where there egg was layed. A red dragon from the frozen north would still have a frosty cone of breath and has ice-related powers.


    As such, a pesudodragon from the local swamp have more in common with his half-fey (which would have been gained from being layed in a fey-controled area) three-headed white-scaled uncle who breaths poison who lives a few miles away than another pesudodragon who lives in the same swamp who, by contrast, has a fire-breathing Linnorm for a mother(who rightly sees the pesudodragon as a runt compared to a fellow sibling who looks almost exactly like her). It gets even more fun if said uncle and mother get together and have there own brood.


    Ahh, the fun I have had with my players with this.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt. Cookie View Post
    Is it just me, or do the Dwarven and Kobold out looks on life, love and work make it seem like they'd be natural allies?
    Right up until the stoic and almost habitually lawful Dwarves suddenly notice the practical joke traps, missing shiny stuff and mysteriously broken equipment left in the blissfully chaotic wake of Kobolds being, well, Kobolds...

    I could easily see them in a class system, Dwarves on top (so to speak...and ewww ) and Kobolds as the surfs and unskilled labourers as well as the specialists. Maybe even a split parliament of governance...actually, given enough thought that could work...I'm amused!
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veklim View Post
    Right up until the stoic and almost habitually lawful Dwarves suddenly notice the practical joke traps, missing shiny stuff and mysteriously broken equipment left in the blissfully chaotic wake of Kobolds being, well, Kobolds...
    I'm not sure where you're getting that at all... Kobolds actually tend to be very serious, and would never waste resources on jokes (at least, from what I gather in Races of the Dragon). They tend towards a Lawful alignment, not Chaotic, and would probably never sabotage a mine (unless it was a gnomish mine, in which case the irony would sate them for years).

    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt. Cookie View Post
    Is it just me, or do the Dwarven and Kobold out looks on life, love and work make it seem like they'd be natural allies?
    I'm fairly sure that RotD says dwarves and kobolds tend to get along well enough, and sometimes even work together on mutually beneficial projects (I don't feel like looking for a specific reference, though, so I might be way off). Kobolds tend to be Evil while dwarves tend to be Good, though, so the two aren't always the best of bedfellows and few alliances last long.
    Are any of my tables still broken?



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    Quote Originally Posted by TheKoalaNxtDoor View Post
    Stolen!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyndworm View Post

    I'm fairly sure that RotD says dwarves and kobolds tend to get along well enough, and sometimes even work together on mutually beneficial projects (I don't feel like looking for a specific reference, though, so I might be way off). Kobolds tend to be Evil while dwarves tend to be Good, though, so the two aren't always the best of bedfellows and few alliances last long.
    I would think that a accepting group of Dwarves/A niceish clan of 'balds would get along fine.


    Until Gnomes show up, forcing the Dwarves to pick sides in the inevitable conflict.
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    Default Re: Your Version of X

    Quote Originally Posted by Pokonic View Post
    I would think that a accepting group of Dwarves/A niceish clan of 'balds would get along fine.
    Oh, yes, probably so. Any sort of "converted" group (Evilish dwarves, Goodish kobolds) would likely get along excellently with the other.



    Since it occurs to me that I've barged into a conversion to contradict someone and haven't even posted on-topic yet... Here, have some of my X:

    • Goblinoids are to the Papionini tribe as humans are to the Panini tribe. Goblins have tails and bugbears have mandril-like facial markings.
    • Kobolds and true dragons are the same species, and all true dragons are female (think queen bee). Further, dragon/kobold color is a good indication of breath type (though not a guarantee), but not of alignment; both are passed down by lineage, while alignment is decided by the individual.
    • Gnomes are a client-race of dwarves; most (but not quite all) gnomes live in traveling family groups of mysterious and distrusted merchants (and the merchant's guards, of course... never mess with a gnomish caravan) that pay tithe to the dwarven empire.
    • Halflings are wild "savages," who engage in ritual cannibalism as a religious belief. They have almost no technology and use riding dogs to hunt, to pull carts, to ride, and to war. They live in plains areas and do their best to make sure fights take place in the waving fields of 6ft tall grass. My players now refuse to go anywhere near grass over 4ft high without a team of scythemen.
    • There are three kinds of elf (High/Arcane, Dark/Divine, and Wood/Nature), but the differences are entirely cultural. Any physical differences have to do with where the elf is born, as they magically take on the appearance of their environment at birth.
      • High elves live on swampy, foggy islands with lots of jutting stone, and have very pale skin, silver, pale gold, or gray hair, and usually have eyes like yellow/green moss or blue/black water.
      • Dark elves live in caverns, and have black, blue/violet, or dark gray skin, similar hair colors (white hair is rare, and often seen as an omen of greatness), and have eyes like precious stones.
      • Wood elves live in forests, and have rich, bark-like skin colors, any brown or blond colored hair, or sometimes hair like the surrounding foliage at the time of their birth, and eyes like the sky at the time of their birth.




    I'm working on more, but most of it doesn't strike me as very special at the moment.
    Are any of my tables still broken?



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  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Well, elves in my world tend to have roots in older kinds of elves.The old kinds still exist, but only in tiny, tiny handfuls, and are often secluded from there "lesser" kin.


    The Light Elves were a magicaly gifted race, and ruled over vast crystal cites. The Green Elves, the rulers of the southern reaches, had had ties to the varying gods of nature, and prospered with fantasticly powerful drudic circles running the show. Finaly, the Dark Elves ruled in the frozen north, and lived in great halls streching from the tips of the highest peaks to the very roots of the world.

    Then came the typical shattering of the Elven peoples. The Seelie blame the Unseelie, but then the Unseelie point out that they had not split up by then and were still, in perfect harmony, hating the Wild Hunt. As such, both blame Lolth on the whole debacle , but that leaves out the general conflict between the gods proper, with the whole Elven panthanon blaming the other side even as it blames the others (non-elven). Timat probably had a head in it too, words still out which one. In general, it was the colective actions of a whole slew of factors, with some sides getting the blame more than other.

    Neverless dispite the exact reasoning one goes down, the elven races split up nastly, with some from the same basic root race hating the ones from the same branch, so to speak.

    The most common decendent of the Light Elves were the High Elves, and it shows, for they are the main reason they are linked to the Fey. Often called Sidhe, because of there involvement on both sides of the courts, they are actualy less common on the Prime then there other cousins, because the vast majority only come onto it for business related to there powerful, immortal cousins. Some, in fact, belive there fey proper, and there not above not saying that they are not.

    The Sun Elves.... basicly moved into there parents houses and, after waiting for the straggelers to die, started paying the rent and took there identity for tax uses. As in, they are mostly limited to former Light Elf lands, and generaly claim to be there true decendents, not like those other elves, who deserve the raids, attacks, and higher taxs that they put on them. After all, they make only the most humane crusades against lesser races, unlike those dirty short dwarves and those silly humans!

    The Pearl Elves are not nice folk. Well, they trade with other races and rarely pirate, thats about it. The only sort of smile they make is that most commonly seen near calm, tropical waters, usualy associated with happy swimmers and the creature, usualy with a fin near it's head, that watchs them. Easily the most secretive of the Light Elven decendents, they are apparently based out of a single, forgotten Light Elven port in a otherwise unremarkable island chain, and have access to a large fleet of magical ships that can telaport across the sea....or move realy, realy fast. They are not above firing apon ships they think are too near there hidden location (or are too close to there own, or is more pimped out, or might, like, totaly have the shifty gnome fellow who the first mates wife cheated on) and attempts to magical track them down have all failed.



    The Green Elves left a colorful heritige, and none meets that so much as the Forest Elves, who are the other most commonly seen elf in the world, so much so that other's are unsure what another means by the word elf if it's not in buckskin and bark armor and is swinging a bow around. In general, good druids, bad hosts, and worst guests.

    The Wild Elves are restricted to the sandy wastes, and they like it that way. They tend eat other creatures who get too close to there lands, and probably think a horse is some sort of hornless goat. The Wild Hunt gets a lot of new recruts from these scattered folk.

    The Snow Elves are odd folk. Being in the southern pole, they mostly fish, fish, and talk about fishing. They also deal with merfolk quite a bit. Otherwise unremarkable Inut-like elves, who have natural talents at ice magic. They also worship horrific forgotten gods of the ice and frost who are athema to most of the world, who provide them with pesudonatural whales and other twisted sea life in exchange for there worship for nightmare eternal. That might have been important.



    The most common decendents of the Dark Elves are, as one would guess, Drow (who call themselves Shadow Elves, but then quickly say something along the lines of "O-oh man, did I realy just say that?! Pffahahahah!"). They live in underground citys, in the traditinal Underdark, but Lolth is mearly the main god they have in this case. In fact, there are plenty of non-Loth worshiping drow, but they tend to be pius folk no matter what god suits there fancy. They never quite loose the black-leather-spider-motif fashion sence, however, which might make it odd for the local LG cleric of Bahmut to see his the local chapter's head clad in a dominatrix suit and with Tentical Rod in one hand.

    The Dusk Elves are strange. Some claim there somewhat tainted by the Plane Of Shadow, but those people tend to end up dead. In essance, there fabled theives and sneaks who live in every super-city, and there surrounding areas. Theives Cant is there only contrabution to the world, and most secret theives guilds in such cites count a few strange members with tanned skin and head-wraps amoung there members who eat lunch together and hardly talk outside there little group.

    The Moon Elves are often thought to be decendents of the Light Elves, which is odd, because anyone who spent a few moments with one would swear that the white-haired pretty boy with skin somehow paler then there locks was some Devil trick to convice others that the gods, in fact, did not exist. Combining the reputation of Drow with the appearance of a angel, they are racist, rude, otherwise nasty, and generaly hateful elves of the lowlands. Tending to brood in ill-kept keeps by themselves, they see other elves worthy only as slaves and other races only worthy of the dinner pot, and keep massive slave rings around to keep themselves supplies. As for how they somehow survive with plenty of LG paladins prancing about, they are, unfortunatly for the world, gifted with surpremely good charisma. You would think the bright red eyes and pale skin would tip creatures off.
    Last edited by Pokonic; 2012-10-13 at 10:51 PM.
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    My elves (well, at least one type of community of them; I try not to do one race=one culture) are celtic/germanic/slightly comanche indian in nature. Fantastic horsemen who steal cattle, and some of the wilder groups carry off women and children. They have a high sense of honor, and incredibly complicated blood fueds, with complex courtesy and manners that have to followed. Certain things that don't seem like a big deal to most races are types of things that cause elves to go into a murderous rage, and declare you and all of your family permenant enemies of his family. Calling someone a horse thief is the utmost insult to honor, and will generally result in a full scale division of the clan, with every family expected to pick a side in a bloodfued against the families of the other side that could go on for generations. And those are elf generations.

    Dwarves are more the norse mythology types, being untrustworthy, tricky, and always have alterior motives. They are known for their honesty, if only because they always twist their words to allow as many loop holes as they can. They are fervently religious though, but in the inquisitorial, burn non-believers intolerant style.
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    There are no outer planes, only the elemental planes, which each embody a philosophy as well as a metaphysical element. In addition, the planes are actually sentient, and the primary gods of the setting. The material may also be sentient, but if so has been dormant since the beginning.

    Humans aren't a separate species outright, but actually a crossbreeding between elves and celestials (outsiders). Thus you have a spectrum: elf, half-elf, human, aasimar, celestial. As a result, humans/half-elves/aasimar are the only ones who can natively use divine magic, because they have the connection to outside planes, though other people can make pacts with elemental spirits (spirit shamans) or have one of the planes intervene on their unknowing behalf (favored souls).

    Elves are a race of refugees, exiled to about a half-dozen hidden cities after conflict with humans. They are numerically few, but mke up for that with psionic power that they use to, among other things, compress steam into small spheres and use it to power machinery.

    Orcs are also psionically active, but are a nomadic race of horsemen with no organized society. The red horses actually do go faster, because they were bred to.

    Dwarves are Dwarf-Fortress-style dwarves, except not played up for laughs. Every species native to the material can at least dabble arcane magic, but dwarves are far and away the experts.

    Gnolls and minotaurs are the same species - males are minotaurs, females are gnolls. They're actually highly intelligent, and uniquely capable of using incarnum, shaping the souls of their ancestors into equipment and constructs.

    Lycanthropes are the direct result of the rain god (rewnewal, growth, ferocity) mucking about with a small group of humans and leaving them to thrive or die as he is wont to do.

    Lizardman are a primitive race in the thrall of Yuan-Ti, whom they worship and fear. Yuan-ti are native to the shadow realm, which is the cosmological inverse of but identical to the material realm, and thus cap tap into that power and become shadowcasters.
    Last edited by Agent_0042; 2012-10-14 at 12:26 PM.
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  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent_0042 View Post
    The red horses actually do go faster, because they were bred to.
    Add some go fasta stripes to 'um and den dey goes real fast!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent_0042 View Post
    There are no outer planes, only the elemental planes, which each embody a philosophy as well as a metaphysical element.
    This sounds really quite cool; Please expound on this. If it would get into any fobidden-forum-topics, please message me a summary.
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    Griffon

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    Default Re: Your Version of X

    Ah, where to begin...

    Northern peoplesI have a race of short humans who live on the northern icy coasts of Norbayne (my central continent) who hunt from their canoes and are excellent watermen, despite the horrid conditions and their sub-standard equipment. These are guys who row out in canoes and kill whales by diving in and spearing them in the eyes. They then hitch up hundreds of canoes and drag the carcass back to land.

    Northern peoples, raiders, dogmenOff the coast of Unterguardt, (my northern continent) lies the isle of Varr, populated by a kingdom of dogmen who are feared across the world as pirates, reavers and raiders. Think a six foot tall dogman viking Jack Sparrow. They view all of life as a game and they love to play, meaning they're absolutely fearless. Death is just another game to them, one that everyone must play eventually.

    ElvesThe western edge of Norbayne in covered by the Wardenfells, a vast range of forested mountains inhabited by the Danann. They are sort of like "elves," but they're very catlike, exclusively carnivorous. They raid the other lands for sacrifices and food. Yes I have a playable race who might decide to eat the rest of the party.

    Wood elves, halflingsThe southern climes of the Wardenfells are the lands of the Leathe, a race of diminutive possum-people, seen as a delicacy amongst the Danann.

    There are many other races, including the remnants of a minotaur empire which once stretched across Norbayne and their Hill Dwarf slaves, the Geardarr.

    I also have a southern race of poison-dart frogpeople, the Loschain. They aren't playable but they can show up.

    Anyway, I guess if anyone's interested, HERE'S a link to the Norbayne board over on my forum where it's being worked on.

    Cheers,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zireael View Post
    I got rid of alignment entirely, it's a world where there are no words for good, evil, chaos or lawful. Everything is grey.
    "In the name of Light and Darkness, In the name of democracy and the Dragon's Grandmother and all things that are, I charge you to avaunt and haunt us no more!"

    That's approximately how any creature in any of my worlds would react to the discovery of the existence of that world, before looking up the Snarl to tear it to peices. As far as they/I am/are concerned, there is nothing, including Hell, that is remotely as horrible and bad as the world I think you're discribing. Just a fair warning.

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    Elves:

    They aren't all that pretty. There eyes heads and hands are too big but they have almost no noses. They are very androgynous and they have the ability to change gender.

    They are imortal fae creatures who are by normal standards insane. Seriously they are afflicted by the whole fae obsessions of no gifts, keeping absolutely to the exact word of a promise but never the spirit, never telling a lie but never reveling the truth, being really nasty when offended and not seeing anyone but themselves as real people.

    Most of what you think are elves are intact half elves. They stand somewhere between classical elves, half elves and this lot. Whilst they can and many do change genders very few of them have anything like any real control over it.
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    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReaderAt2046 View Post
    "In the name of Light and Darkness, In the name of democracy and the Dragon's Grandmother and all things that are, I charge you to avaunt and haunt us no more!"

    That's approximately how any creature in any of my worlds would react to the discovery of the existence of that world, before looking up the Snarl to tear it to peices. As far as they/I am/are concerned, there is nothing, including Hell, that is remotely as horrible and bad as the world I think you're discribing. Just a fair warning.
    I don't really agree. In ALL of my worlds, morality is a concept invented by sentient beings. (there are reasons why they are usually similar to each other and in RL; game theory reasons)

    Then again, I tend towards a fantasy system that is rather hard. There simply isn't a way I can make high-level concepts such as Good, Evil, People, Location, One Object work in my settings without totally destroying it.

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    As far as they/I am/are concerned, there is nothing, including Hell, that is remotely as horrible and bad as the world I think you're discribing. Just a fair warning.
    \


    Why do you think it's so horrible?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zireael View Post
    \


    Why do you think it's so horrible?
    4 reasons:

    1. All evil desires are only the corruption of good desires. Or to put it another way, the pleasures of hell are still pleasures, and pleasure simpliciter is good. Thus, evil contains within itself a form of good.

    2. In order even to exist, evil must have intelligence, power, and free will. All of these are, in and of themselves, good.

    3. It is impossible to be evil (that is, break the law) without acknowledging and knowing the law you break.

    4. Corruption can never cause a creature to become completely without good, for then the creature would have become incorruptible, and to say that corruption can make a creature better is a logical contradiction.

    In summary, all four of these reasons show that a completely evil world must still contain some remnants of good. A world completely without good and evil would hence be far, far, worse. To put it more poetically, "the shadow implies the light it is not, but in a world where there is no light and no darkness, the light cannot even be known from its opposite."

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReaderAt2046 View Post
    3. It is impossible to be evil (that is, break the law) without acknowledging and knowing the law you break.
    But breaking the law isn't evil, necessarily. Moreover, all the reasons you posted are based upon a very particular worldview and some strangely circuitous reasoning.

    I believe you might be slightly confused by what Zireael meant. I don't think he meant that there are no good or bad people/actions in his setting, but rather that the concepts for such things are nonexistent, since any action or mindset could be seen as good/evil/lawful/chaotic by different people. And that such concepts in his setting would be restrictive and nonsensical from a game mechanic point of view.

    But I could be wrong.
    Last edited by Inglenook; 2012-10-16 at 01:05 PM.

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    The details differ from setting to setting, but in my worlds if dragons exist at all, they're invincible. You meet a dragon, you either run or you die. Doesn't matter how many class levels, epic spells, ancient artifacts of plot, or even gods on your side. You meet a dragon, you run or you die.

    In one setting I've worked with before, dragons actually reproduce by destroying worlds. They let a plane grow into a healthy, prosperous civilization over centuries, then they come in, lay waste to everything within seconds, and a new dragon is born out of the ruins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by historiasdeosos View Post
    But breaking the law isn't evil, necessarily. Moreover, all the reasons you posted are based upon a very particular worldview and some strangely circuitous reasoning.

    I believe you might be slightly confused by what Zireael meant. I don't think he meant that there are no good or bad people/actions in his setting, but rather that the concepts for such things are nonexistent, since any action or mindset could be seen as good/evil/lawful/chaotic by different people. And that such concepts in his setting would be restrictive and nonsensical from a game mechanic point of view.

    But I could be wrong.
    Several things to say here. First to deal with paragraph 1: I meant (and should have said) the moral law, the set of rules defining what is right and what is wrong.

    On the second paragraph:

    1. I'm pretty sure saying that "There is no concept of good or evil in this world but there are good and evil people in this world." is nonsense.

    2. A world where there is no concept of good or evil is exactly what I hate and fear.

    3. I know that I may be misunderstanding Zireael's works, and I hope that I am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReaderAt2046 View Post
    1. I'm pretty sure saying that "There is no concept of good or evil in this world but there are good and evil people in this world." is nonsense.
    Untrue. Take a look at the Pirahã tribe in the Amazon. They have no cardinal or ordinal numbers and it takes an extreme amount of work to teach them anything beyond the idea of "a few things" and "a lot of things". They also have no concept of social hierarchy. A culture of pragmatic agnosticism, which is pretty unique for a "primitive" tribe. An extremely strange sleep schedule. All their color words are based on something that has that color (the closest thing in English being the color "orange", which was named after the fruit).

    We're the same species on the same planet, but the way that we perceive the world is vastly different.* Now imagine people from what's more-or-less a different universe, and the idea of them not having a concept for our understanding of good and evil isn't too farfetched.

    To use the numbers example above: Our concept of numbers is something we take for granted, but it's not a given. We could recognize examples of good and evil in Zireael's world even if the people in that world have no concept of it, just like we can recognize how many mangoes a Pirahã tribesman is holding when they themselves can't.

    [stonedphilosophymajor] Perception is reality, maaaaan. [/spm]

    * Unless you're a Pirahã tribesman posting here. In which case … congratulations! And welcome!
    Last edited by Inglenook; 2012-10-16 at 02:11 PM.

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    Default Re: Your Version of X

    • 4 types of elves. High elves are mostly stereotypical, but notably have unisex names. Drow elves are the most commonly evil race. Twilit are a cross-breed between them, that neither parent race particularly wants. And aquatic elves are often forgotten. To be honest, I just included them so the one ocean would have underwater city-states
    • Dwarves are like stereotypical elves, in that they're vain and xenophobic, but are master craftsmen not master wizards
    • Gnomes have a massive trading empire
    • Halflings live in some rolling hills and are vaguely Incan-inspired, but with Irish hospitality
    • Humans aren't nearly as common as in some settings, but are still the dominant race
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    Everyone knows frying pans are actually weapons that people repurpose for cooking
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    I have invented a new pronoun. is to be referred to as V/vim/vis/vis/vimself instead of he/him/his/his/himself or she/her/her/hers/herself

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elimu Marimech View Post
    [*]Halflings live in some rolling hills and are vaguely Incan-inspired, but with Irish hospitality
    So they tell dirty jokes, get you drunk and dance a lot before they ritually cut out your heart and mummify your corpse with herbs and smoke?
    All I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Veklim View Post
    So they tell dirty jokes, get you drunk and dance a lot before they ritually cut out your heart and mummify your corpse with herbs and smoke?
    I meant it more in terms of they have runners and stuff going through the hills...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Razanir View Post
    Everyone knows frying pans are actually weapons that people repurpose for cooking
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    I have invented a new pronoun. is to be referred to as V/vim/vis/vis/vimself instead of he/him/his/his/himself or she/her/her/hers/herself

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    OldWizardGuy

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    There are nomadic elves in my setting inspired by the Hebrew tribes from Genesis. They have strong family but are very open to strangers and are very skilled clerics. They have specially curved swords that allow them to hook onto there opponents weapons (yes I got that from barsoom) and are skilled archers.
    P.S. sadly the states for the lizard folk variants were lost in my most recent computer change.

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    I have twists on nearly everything in my campaing world "Whiteleaf", though not as major as some of what's been mentioned here. But of all my revisions, I think what I'm proudest of are my Demons.

    In my home city of Minneapolis, we have these sewer tunnels or utility access or something under the streets of downtown, with rickety-looking grates in the sidewalk which let you look down into these underground spaces. When the flow of traffic on the street is such that you have to walk on one of these grates, it can be a pretty vertiginous experience. I thought about how precarious it feels to not be able to trust the solidity of the ground under your feet, and it hit me - that's how the Abyss should feel. The home of Chaotic Evil beings should be a place where the most fundamental experience of a sane and ordered world, the solidity of the ground, can betray you at any moment, making it impossible for you to ever feel safe.

    Thusly, in my setting, the Abyss isn't 666 or more different planes; it's just one incredibly gigantic cavern with hundreds of mile-wide ledges surrounding an immense Pit. And at every moment, any spot anywhere on those ledges might crumble away, and there might be nothing underneath but the Pit, which is the absolute end of existence. Every creature in the Abyss knows this; the demons can all feel the Pit underneath them, clawing at them with the gravity of annihilation. Their surroundings always feel fragile and grainy, especially for demons that are large and powerful; a goristro or something shakes the ground when it walks, and while it dares not show weakness, its mind is constantly near paralyzed with terror as it worries that the next hoofbeat is going to send it plunging through the floor. Legions of demons live in the Abyss, some of them ruling gigantic empires, but even the most powerful of them is constantly afraid for its existence, having marinated in that fear for so many centuries that it's no longer conscious of it anymore. Even the greatest demon lords is theoretically capable of having its entire empire hurled down to destruction without a second's notice; spawning avatars and conquering dominions are ways of trying to secure safety, but they are never going to be totally effective.

    Demons are ultra-hedonists, because they don't believe they have a future; they will do anything for the chance to invade some higher plane further away from the abyss, and once there, they sate all their most debased urges nonstop at any cost, other than when faced with the immediate threat of someone sending them back. Within the Abyss, there is one and only one law: never push anyone toward the Pit. Because when a creature falls into the Pit and is annihilated, Abyssal superstition holds that every sympathetic connection to that creature remains - now belonging to the pit, and tying everyone that the victim ever knew to the pit, making it more likely that they in turn will fall, possibly bringing those they know with them in turn. Thusly, those who break the one Law, by causing or helping to cause a fall into the Pit, must suffer the worst of all punishments: being ignored. Everyone in the entire Abyss recognizes the criminal as Marked, and they will go the other way as soon as it shows up; they will never help it in any way (by Abyssal standards, torturing or killing someone counts as "help", since they consider all life experiences to be good ones, by contrast with the Pit), they will never risk forming a connection to it, because they know both that isolating it makes it more vulnerable to the Pit (karmic justice in the only form they recognize it) and that they need to not have a connection to it in case it does fall in, lest they risk being next.

    Having been spawned by Chaos and trapped in the worst place imaginable, demons are defined by one trait above all - insane hyperfecundity. While they desperately want to escape the Abyss, no sane reality will take them in, because they are all like living plagues that infect their surroundings with rot and madness. Spawning children of some sort is a survival mechanism, since the more demons there are, the better the chances that one of them will fall into the Pit instead of you. Redemption is impossible for them, at least without changing species; they live their entire lives in a state of such adrenaline-fueled madness, and are so driven either to escape the Pit themselves or to create spawn who might survive if they don't, that there's no way for them to "dial it down" when they get to a safer world...just being able to exist without an immediate fear of annihilation is such a relief to them that it's like a euphoric drug, and makes them get very "touchy-feely" with their surroundings in a way that has nothing to do with consent, sterility, or not crushing anyone's bones.

    And if there's one thing that demons fear, it's a Paladin - of Slaughter. Because such individuals are directly empowered by the Abyss itself, and exist only to annihilate anything they believe shouldn't exist, which is pretty much everything eventually, but demons (because they spend all their time doing anything and everything to try and exist) are at the top of that list.

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    OrcBarbarianGirl

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    I *really* like that idea behind the state and the style of being demonic, and I want to incorporate that into my current campaign-thinking. That *fits*.


    Back to thread-

    Orcs are what comes of torturing Sidhe with iron until there is no unburned soul or body left. They were the experiments of the Ancient Empire that first brought civilization into the wilds where the Sidhe reigned supreme, and their go-to soldiers for the longest time. They are resilient, long-lived unless killed, and their souls are refused from both the Summerlands Underhill and the humans' Hall of Heroes, so they reincarnate again and again- and what's more, they need not always be born to do so. It's a secret of certain necromancers and other illegal magicians that one can create a Pit, with offal and corpses and lots of special alchemical juice, that will grow new orcs in a matter of months. (Certain dwarven factories are rumored to be doing just that in order to keep up a steady supply of cheap workers).

    They are grungy, angry, soul-weary, and mostly want to be left alone after having broken free of the dying Empire. Often bullied into soldiering for one great warrior's cause or another (and forcibly made via Pit when they cannot be persuaded), they endure because they must. No one is on their side, so they are on no one's side unless forced to be.

    Further, most of the orcs people see are the male warriors. Females are rarer, more organized, and rarely let themselves be seen unless they are capturing resources from outsiders. They are statted as hobgoblins, and while they are more often fighting defensively that sending out raiding parties, they are ruthless and efficient at both.

  27. - Top - End - #57
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    My version of Devils are also extremely different from that in core - instead of just being random hellscapes full of monsters, the Nine Hells are each dedicated to a particular Deadly Sin (with Pride having calved off two additional sins, Vanity and Hypocrisy - because, you know, it was clearly three times as special as the others to begin with, and is still far and away the best *wink*). The nine hells are "stacked" the way they are because they serve as a barrier between the Abyss and the mortal plane; the devils were originally angels (not yet specialized into Archons) who stationed themselves there as a bulwark against the ravening demon horde, and turned toward Evil as it became more and more apparent that their mission was utterly impossible and they had to accept corruption to even begin to stem the tide. Thusly, while Demons are evil by nature for understandable reasons, Devils are intentionally evil for the sake of "necessity".

    The Hell of Wrath is the "bottom" and "smallest" layer, because it serves as the main battleground for halting demon invasion and thus is built to serve as a choke point. When your enemies number in the millions to start with and can give birth during the battle to produce instant reinforcements, you really need a way to control the terrain in order to use your superior tactics to make up for the lack of numbers. Therefore, hate-filled souls who want only to destroy what they consider acceptible targets are prized recruits, transformed into the most powerful diabolic warriors and tasked with the utterly impossible job of holding the line against invading demons. It's a meat-grinder job where failure is the only option; they try to reduce escaping demons to weak, stealth-optimized forms (small, insubstantial, or otherwise not optimally destructive), but inevitably some slip through and begin trying to wind their way through the planar channels to the Material.

    Further "up", the planes of Hell are designed increasingly less to fight the demons who have slipped through (as those who get close are more likely to make a beeline for the Material, rather than stop in the "weaker" hells to damage the infrastructure of the diabolic army), and more to gather the power needed for the war effort. You see, thanks largely to the influence of the Fae Folk, who as CG omnibeings like to grant people's happy wishes, human(oid) emotion is the most powerful energy source in my universe; the wellspring of all creation is the Dreamheart, which is powered by people's creative energies, and its opposite the Abyss is a "release valve" designed to limit Creation's growth by snuffing creativity out. (Both are functions of Chaos, while Law is a protective shell around reality; thusly the Devils stand between the Abyss and the Prime, while Archons stand between the Prime and the Dreamheart, making sure villains from the Material can't get into Heaven and gum up the works). The Fae set this up in the Dawn Times before they had really encountered the Demons, let alone figured out how nasty they were, and so they had no idea that the future-Devils were going to figure out a heinous application for their method. Emotions were a source of power, alright - but negative emotions turned out to be the strongest. So Hell was created as, essentially, a gigantic battery to extract the power of people's most severe terrors, hatreds, agonies, and other aversions.

    The topmost layer of Hell is devoted to Lust, and seems pleasant enough at first glance; its primary purpose is recruitment, designed to lure corruptible souls into accepting something that seems like perfect joy, but has a few teeeny flaws in it which eventually lure the target to their doom. Every Hell is like this to varying extents, but Lust has the subtlest version; doomed souls may linger there for years or centuries believing they're in Heaven (or more precisely its CG equivalent Arcadia, which the Elves call Arvandor), not recognizing that their depravity is being harvested for energy while their psyches very gradually break down. Of course, not everyone succumbs; "day passes" to Lust are a great way of winning eager low-level peons who play critical but almost-invisible roles in the web of schemes Evil has engineered. But those who reside in Lust long enough will succumb to ennui at best, and more likely an eventual moment of "oh god what have I become" when they're presented with the one taboo they thought they'd never break, and realize that it's the only thing that does it for them anymore. (Exactly how wrong this should get is up to the GM; he should pick the most transgressive thing he isn't utterly unwilling to have in his gameworld, and save that for this moment.)

    Regardless of the Hell and the methods involved, it's always about producing this breakdown - get the victim to give in to the sin more and more, with less and less hesitation, until his psyche is down to just a single wire-thin pillar of moral decency, which is then precipitously snapped. The concentration of energy thus unleashed is ultimately what fuels all of Hell's war machines, and is the only thing that can possibly counteract Chaos, since it is rooted in Chaos itself - the fountain of creativity never runs dry, so concentrating it into a firehose spray produces a devastating amount of force, without letting it flow out in every other direction along the path of least resistance. By cutting off every creative outlet except one, and then blocking that one almost completely, you guarantee it will explode with incredible force, and that explosion can be harnessed. The methods for accomplishing this are designed and administrated in the central three Hells (at least one of which is from the Pride trinity, though I don't recall the details, I don't think all three of them are); Asmodeus himself is somewhere in this bureaucracy, though he intentionally leaves someone else supposedly in charge, all as part of his own cardinal Sin.
    Last edited by willpell; 2012-10-22 at 05:37 AM.

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