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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    A long weekend, you say? Math time!
    You're shortchanging the ships involved. A frigate making 10 knots can run off two hundred miles between one noon observation and the next. Now, 10 knots is a respectable speed, and it can't always be guaranteed, but it's far better than 5 knots. It depends on the particular kind of ship, and especially what era you're looking at.

    If you're basing sailing speeds on, say, the ships in Columbus' first fleet, keep in mind he selected those ships for their shallow-water sailing qualities, rather than their speed.

    Also keep in mind that ships on long voyages, such as Magellan's or the Manila treasure galleons, had to deal with tremendous fouling issues, which wouldn't be as much of a factor on proas or similar vessels. Much easier to haul out and clean off.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    ...if you sail for 24 hours a day, which is unlikely....
    Not sure where you're getting this. The Polynesians were just as adept navigating by the stars as by the sun--not to mention the feel of the waves beneath them. People do keep watch during the night, and it's not hard to set the tiller with Aldebaran to starboard.

    Besides, you don't exactly drop anchor in the middle of the Pacific.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Astral navigation and no reliance of charts would make them much better-suited for link usage in distance travel than most.
    Astral navigation is in the Planar Handbook.

    The Polynesians did use charts, just not paper ones. They developed complex cat's-cradle designs of string and shells which served as their maps, which they learned to weave from memory.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Really, that fast? *whistle*
    In one of John McPhee's best books, Looking for A Ship, he describes a merchant-marine seaman who learned the Russian alphabet on a ferry ride, by studying a calendar in the passenger cabin. He got off the ferry in a Russian port city and was reading street signs in minutes.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Polynesians
    I found a site that compared distance traveled by ancient ships divided by the time it took them to do so, as reported in various texts from ancient greece and other such places. I may be off by a few knots, but I don't think it makes all that much difference in the overall picture, they can do it in less than a week. I suppose they could stop for food and water along the coast once they get inland, though that may make the trip take that much longer. Still, I suppose they can sail out for a few months, since they don't have to be back until six months later.
    As for sailing 24 hours, it wasn't about navigating by sun/stars, it was about the navigator needing to sleep, since there's only the one. Hadn't thought about locking the rudder, but then, the last ship I was on had 2000 people aboard and a flight deck. Sail power is not exactly my area of expertise here.
    Let's say little reliance on charts. If they can remake the chart from memory, they don't really need the chart that much.

    Library
    I definitely like the idea of recording new-made amicqui's memories and recording/analyzing prophecies from them.
    Yes, yes, I get it, I was off on how long it takes to learn to read. Message received.
    Also, we really should decide if the reading and writing would be taught in commoner schools or just to nobles. Also, girls?

    EDIT: Waaaait a second. If it only takes a negligible amount of time to learn to read, how come it takes perfectly clever people months to do it in english? Kids are freakin info-sponges, how come reading's not just a week-long course, if it's as easy as you seem to indicate?
    Last edited by Admiral Squish; 2014-05-01 at 01:51 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Regarding polynesians

    The best way to illustrate that the polynesians could cross 500 miles is both easter island (2,075 kilometres (1,289 mi) away from nearest polynesian settlement) and New Zeeland (which is 1500 km (900 miles) east of Australia and 1000 km (600 miles) south of nearest polynesian settlement). So yes, they definantely could cross vast distances.

    However, both of those settlements were largely isolated from the rest of the polynesian sphere and as such it was not distances they crossed lightly. Which still calls into question if they could reach the mainland. It's another 2000 km from easter island and 3,200 thousand kilometers to California from Hawaii.
    On the other hand... that is shorter than the distance between Hawaii and Tahiti, and that's including a stop at the Marquesas. So odds are that yes, they could.

    As for Links... now things gets interesting. If there's a Link across oceania that means that by and large the cultures will keep trade contact. Though they're rather recent to the area (averaging on 1000 years presence, compared to the 2000+ the others will have in their regions) and thus will not have the Links mapped out, even in the furthest reaches will they have figured out that there are some at least. This however radically alters some of the islands... it means easter island is probably still settled (and maybe not as deforested). It means that the Maori probably has access to pigs (something they lost).

    And what does this mean for Australia and interior New Guinea? The polynesians won't be there, their life is not suited to the climate, but it could mean that the New Guineans, Polynesians and Australians swaps technology. Which means there's no telling what that'll lead too (it'd still be the world's youngest civilisations so nothing too crazy).

    But even so... the question we perhaps ought to ask ourselves first is: Do we want polynesian traders from Hawaii in Golden Gate and San Diego since a while back? If yes, then we simply decide they crossed the ocean with out without Links.
    Otherwise the spaniards, the dutch, the haiyuanren or the britith found them rather recently.

    Regarding the tlacopan library and writing
    I think that by now there'll be writing in Aztatlan and as such no hinderance to a massive library in Tlacopan. I'd say that they picked it up somewhere in the Dawn era, and that their writing is a artificial construct using the latin alphabet as a inspiration much like the cherokee one is. Some signs look alike from European ones (but sound snothing alike) and others are basically evolutions of their old logographs.

    Now... most of their population probably cannot read well, a few useful phrases at most. But most of the nobility, priests and higher army officials can. Reading is a skill like any other, and some learn quicker than others, it's just that getting lots of people to read is considerably more difficult.

    Circumventing the globe through links
    This sounds like an awesome adventure and just mapping the links sounds like a good plot hook. Let's not waste this by declaring it already happened. Besides... the era when people would do things like this for science is just starting.

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Polynesians1: This is true, but I don't know if the heads would have anything to do with links. Still, though, I'm not quite sold.
    Oh but i didn't mean the heads have anything to do with Links.
    I actually meant for the heads to be something else, and that would make Easter Island a very interesting place to visit. Not sure what they could be though.
    Some sort of constructs maybe? Or a vessel for the minds of great Polynesian Navigators that help guide their descendants over the seas?

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    2: I still don't know about Easter Island as the nexus. It's kind of a tiny, mostly-barren rock that's not even centrally located in the ocean. Besides that, if Pompeii was a great link-site due to a connection of earth, fire, and water, Hawaii fits that perfectly.
    Easter Island is mostly barren because they chopped down all the trees and then erosion washed away a lot of fertile ground.
    And the earth-fire-water thing isn't a reason for the links appearing right? Because i don't know any fire around the Cahokia site. I could be wrong though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Link-Boards
    Maybe it's not about links at all, maybe the boards have carvings that make part of the wave follow the board? So, a skillful surfer could ride the board into the wave, charge it, then break off with his mini bonded wave and use it to push his board around the islands of Hawaii quickly, as long as he can keep his balance and ride it.
    I may be a little fixated on hawaii.
    You mean like taming a wave? Getting a temorary wave as your 'animal companion'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Phoenixes
    I mean, agents of the inquisition make great baddies, but I like to think most of the Church organization is still mostly good, albeit perhaps guilty of doing nothing to stop the more extreme agents.

    Maybe we could combine them? Alchemist's fire will create a fused phoenix out of the parts represented by the ash, a twisted mockery of life that can't live and can't die as long as the alchemical fire burns. Pheonix fire, applied to a pile of phoenix ash will revive any phoenix that is wholly, or at least mostly, represented by the pile of ash, leaving the remainder that didn't belong to them. So, the phoenixes try to consolidate all the ash they possibly can, sweeping the thing with fire each time they merge some collections to see who makes it out, if any do. If they manage to collect all the ash in the world, the phoenixes would be reborn as a species. So, they're kinda not happy with the church for keeping it. The church keeps only a handful of these bottles, artifacts of great, but dark, power, under extremely tight control.
    I've been thinking about it today and you're probably right, it's probably a bit too evil to use an item like that.

    I also like your idea of a few phoenixes surviving and trying to bring back their species.
    If you do it like that i wouldn't have the church keep a handfull of the bottles against the Phoenixes' wishes. I'd have them be the ashes' guardians on behalf of the phoenixes. Anytime ash is being found both the phoenixes and the church swoop in and do whatever they can to reclaim it. The church is allowed the use of the Phoenix Alembics but only if they use them to recover ashes. And those ashes have been spread all over the world because Vesuvius blasted them very high and the wind spread them out. Maybe at the time the prevailing winds were eastwards and most ashes got dropped in France, England, Spain and from there on beyond the ocean to Vespuccia.
    I imagine the church and the phoenixes work so well together because there's a strong parallel between the death and rebirth of a Phoenix and that of Christ.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    You realize this is a great character concept right here?

    I could see these librarians involved in just this sort of thing--directly sponsoring a number of intelligent, resourceful travelers to roam, explore, and bring back all manner of books from the far corners of the world. Some of the younger librarians might do this themselves, sort of a Mesoamerican Indiana Jones approach.
    I like that a lot. The catch phrase could be "That knowledge belongs to the sun!"
    Meaning that they try to fill up those libraries because they think knowledge is just another form of power and those who die with a lot of knowledge in their heads will pass on that knowledge to the sun to help with the war.

    And i also like BRC's idea to get the Amicqui in on this, they have knowledge that the Mexica would want to make sure they never lose.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Races/Classes
    Okay, before we get way too far down the line, I'd like to hear if anyone had any thoughts about the two new races proposed, the reworkings of some of the old races, and the ideas put forth for the reworkings of those two classes. Anyone?

    Polynesians
    I think that, while there might be some Polynesian technology and goods in new world along the west coast, I don't think the two groups would be able to have really significant influences on each other. If the link only goes out once a year and only goes back once a year, the people who go across are going to be a very rare breed, leaving their families and communities to trade in distant lands for half a year. Then you have to account for the scarcity of link-using spellcasters, the numbers that get lost to storms and other ocean hazards (remember, sea serpents and kraken are things here), and some probably just end up getting lost (they were great navigators, but nobody's perfect, and links can be unreliable.) Overall, I don't think more than a few dozen would go through each year for trading.

    I think they would make in interesting flavor feature, but they shouldn't be a major presence, or even a huge influence. Perhaps the trade-link thing only was discovered relatively recently? Like, last 100-200 years? That would place their arrival in the new world after the chinese and the europeans, and their changes could be taken into account relatively easily from there.

    Aztec Writing
    I think the idea of them borrowing heavily from latin script seems unlikely. Even if they were trading peacefully with the europeans by then, I suspect they would probably be much too proud to actually use the same symbols as them. I imagine the priests would be determined to create their own symbols for the sounds. It's probably end up being somewhere between an alphabet and a syllabary, with most symbols being a single letter, but some representing unique sounds like tl, hui, cua, and such. Sorta like some european alphabets with the extra letters on the end. Or like german with umlauts.

    I think that this is an opportunity to show a little more of the positives of the Aztec government system. If we make reading and writing taught in all the schools, then by the time of the setting it will be all but ubiquitous. The universal education is an important aspect of Aztec culture, and this is a chance to show it off. I think it would also be helpful to players, as having the Aztecs lead the world in literacy would sort of force them to take a closer look beyond their preconceived notions of them.

    Circum-Linking
    This is definitely true. Perhaps a plot hook is in order?

    Easter Island
    Okay, did some more research here.
    The island is clearly inhabited in this timeline, by a relatively substantial population of natives, but in real timeline it was rapidly going downhill due to deforestation and the rats. The question is, do we still want it to be going downhill? Should they be able to save themselves? Or should their demise be accelerated to make the island more mysterious? Perhaps they cultivated their local link to evacuate the island as the ecosystem started to collapse, which inadvertently created the trade-link route.

    To clarify, the earth-fire-water thing is not what causes nexuses, but it was cited as a reason why pompeii was such a powerful nexus.

    Link-Board (Wave-Board?)
    Not really, more like taking a portion of that wave's energy. The board collects it then uses it to generate a smaller wave behind itself that propels the board forward. The motion of the mini wave keeps the board charged and sustains the wave, but if you fall off it loses the energy and you're now stuck paddling.

    Phoenixes
    Hmm... But wait, the Church was the driving force behind the extermination of magical beasts and arcane spellcasting through Europe. Why would they actively help out a magical creature, even if said creatures were generally good? In fact, now that I think about it some more, they might not go so far as to use the alembics as described, but they might be hoarding the ash in lots of little jars, to keep the pheonixes from being able to come back, since they're so hard to actually kill once they're back. In the new world, the phoenixes are racing agents of the Church to try to find the ashes that landed in the new world, enlisting the help of some native groups to try to restore their people. Plot hook!

    Also, another problem occurs to me. What about the oceans? An airborne particulate like ash would spread widely and settle relatively evenly. However, on land, the light particles might still be blown around, but as soon as they touched water they'd be absorbed by it and be unable to escape it. And since we don't have aquatic civilizations in this setting, they can't do any kind of large-scale ash-gathering on the ocean floor. Maybe we could say the ashes float, and are washing ashore in various places depending on currents.

    Adventure Librarian
    I do really like this idea. Not sure if I should make it as an NPC, though, or leave it to the player who calls dibs.
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  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Aztec Writing
    I think the idea of them borrowing heavily from latin script seems unlikely. Even if they were trading peacefully with the europeans by then, I suspect they would probably be much too proud to actually use the same symbols as them. I imagine the priests would be determined to create their own symbols for the sounds. It's probably end up being somewhere between an alphabet and a syllabary....
    This sounds just right to me.

    Sequoyah based his script on the Latin letters because they were the only alphabet he had to work with--but also because he saw his people hemmed in and oppressed by the European colonists. The Cherokee were very much subordinate to the growing political and demographic power of the colonists.

    The Aztecs, as I understand them in this setting, would be in a position of stable power and supreme self-confidence, and absolutely they'd want to develop their own "pure" writing, which they would likely claim was divinely inspired.

    If the priests wanted to create their own syllabary, then I think Hangul is the perfect model to follow here--a very logical, scientific approach to designing symbols to represent the sounds of their language. Like Hangul, the priests could get it done in a couple of years, and they could use the resources of the empire to disseminate the result throughout their domains.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    I think that this is an opportunity to show a little more of the positives of the Aztec government system.
    Don't underestimate the power of the Dark Side imperial edict.



    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Adventure Librarian
    I do really like this idea. Not sure if I should make it as an NPC, though, or leave it to the player who calls dibs.
    Dibs!

    You could probably work up a mid-level NPC as an example to aspire to, sort of a seasoned Indiana Jones type, and let the player be Shia LaBeouf.


  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Considering that the ashes can be buried and broken down as well as the absorbtion in water, a good solution could be that phoenix ashes are drawn to each other and to other phoenixes overtime, and so if a phoenix is in an area for a long enough time, it will draw all the ashes in the area. That will take many centuries though, and there is no guarantee that the ashes will reform, since they may not be all of the same bird. The other reason the birds formed from the Alembic is sickly is that it is the forced reincarnation of the ashes of many phonixes which does not go well.

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Races/Classes
    Okay, before we get way too far down the line, I'd like to hear if anyone had any thoughts about the two new races proposed, the reworkings of some of the old races, and the ideas put forth for the reworkings of those two classes. Anyone?
    Races:
    Awwakkakule, perhaps base them on the Homo Floresiensis? They are native to an Island in Indonesia and there are theories they went extinct only 12000 years ago. In Crossroads you could make so that they know magic and have a basic knowledge of the Link Spirals. That way they spread all over the world and are as varied and diverse as the cultures of Homo Sapiens. Mostly they prefer to remain hidden, their bigger cousins are a dangerous lot....
    Tuniit, i agree both Tuniit races are a bit confusing.
    Quetzal, are they playable or non-playable?

    Classes:
    No ideas for the rework of those two classes (i'm terrible with mechanics), but i do have one question: why is the bard class not available?

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Polynesians
    I think they would make in interesting flavor feature, but they shouldn't be a major presence, or even a huge influence. Perhaps the trade-link thing only was discovered relatively recently? Like, last 100-200 years? That would place their arrival in the new world after the chinese and the europeans, and their changes could be taken into account relatively easily from there.
    This is what i had in mind when i posted the idea. Not a major presensce, but interesting mysterious traders that appear on the coasts of Fusang, Aztlan and New Spain (they still own Panama, right?)
    It's something different from the Big Five and i feel like there should be more of these smaller cultures that aren't sucked up or being sucked up by the Big Five. They bring great flavor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Easter Island
    Okay, did some more research here.
    The island is clearly inhabited in this timeline, by a relatively substantial population of natives, but in real timeline it was rapidly going downhill due to deforestation and the rats. The question is, do we still want it to be going downhill? Should they be able to save themselves? Or should their demise be accelerated to make the island more mysterious? Perhaps they cultivated their local link to evacuate the island as the ecosystem started to collapse, which inadvertently created the trade-link route.
    They're kidnapping Cahokian druids and forcing them to help with the deforestation problem. And the rats. The Easter Islanders only have a few aquatic druids, and Cahokian druids are the best at keeping forests alive.
    But their last kidnapping was 20 years ago and the five druids they kidnapped all died. Now they must either make the perilous journey across a vast continent to do the kidnapping themselves or hire an Aztlan raiding party at a great cost.
    Instant plot hook for both sides, either to do the kidnapping or to bring home a kidnapped druid.

    Link-Board
    Sounds good, but is there a Hawaiian word for something like this?

    Adventure Librarian

    There is a movie trilogy called "The Librarian" (1, 2 and 3) that is kinda something like this. Only the library is more into gathering ancient artifacts of great power. But i suppose "The Museum Curator" just doesn't sound sexy

    Aztec Writing

    Does all of this mean that players with an Aztlan character get Literacy as a bonus at first level?
    Oh, and here's a link to Amatl, the paper the aztecs used.

    Phoenix

    Well, if Phoenixes are magical beasts of earth and fire (wich is why they were able to blow up Vesuvius) that could explain why the ashes didn't fall in the water: they hate water so badly that even in death they refuse to fall into it.
    That would probably translate into a weakness to water based spells.
    Last edited by Steckie; 2014-05-02 at 05:52 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    Does all of this mean that players with an Aztlan character get Literacy as a bonus at first level?
    I'm not too familiar with the Crossroads language system, but if there's universal state education then this would follow. It's certainly a way to demonstrate how the Aztec system can provide valuable benefits on a personal scale.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    [Homo floresiensis] are native to an Island in Indonesia and there are theories they went extinct only 12000 years ago.
    As someone who has read the original papers, and attended some of the first presentations at anthro conferences, I can guarantee you that this "species" is still thoroughly in contention. Neat to think about, but the science is very much unresolved. I would stay away from basing a race too closely on this particular hominid.

    About the awwakkule more generally: on the face of it, there's nothing wrong with having a halfling-like race in the Crossroads setting...except you then become one step closer to just about every other campaign setting. Dragonlance has the kender, Forgotten Realms has the hin, Athas has their little psycho barbarians, etc. etc. To me, it detracts from the intriguing alternate-history feel. But since Admiral Squish has already designed them in detail, I assume they're already integrated into the setting?

    Also, in the third post of this thread, they're described as "a race of small fey," but in their detailed writeup they're given the humanoid type and explicitly described as not being spirits. Not sure if the mention of fey is meant to be an update on their type, or just an informal indication of how they're viewed by most human cultures.



    Originally Posted by Steckie
    But i suppose "The Museum Curator" just doesn't sound sexy....
    You would not believe the assistant curator I met when I was working at the National Museum in Paris. One of the three most gorgeous women I saw in all of Europe.

    .
    Last edited by Palanan; 2014-05-02 at 10:07 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    As someone who has read the original papers, and attended some of the first presentations at anthro conferences, I can guarantee you that this "species" is still thoroughly in contention. Neat to think about, but the science is very much unresolved. I would stay away from basing a race too closely on this particular hominid.

    About the awwakkule more generally: on the face of it, there's nothing wrong with having a halfling-like race in the Crossroads setting...except you then become one step closer to just about every other campaign setting. Dragonlance has the kender, Forgotten Realms has the hin, Athas has their little psycho barbarians, etc. etc. To me, it detracts from the intriguing alternate-history feel. But since Admiral Squish has already designed them in detail, I assume they're already integrated into the setting?
    I agree with you completely, the small races are overused in a lot of campaign settings. And usually they're all very similar. I would prefer not using one of those small races as well.
    But like you said, they were already designed so i assumed they were a given. That was the reason i proposed the Homo Floresiensis, at least they appeared in history and that makes them a bit more likely.

    I didn't know there was still that much debate about them, so i'm going to take your word on this.


    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    You would not believe the assistant curator I met when I was working at the National Museum in Paris. One of the three most gorgeous women I saw in all of Europe.
    Sure she might be gorgeous, but if you saw a movie poster with "The Assistant Curator 2", would you step into the movie theatre?

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    Aztec Writing
    I could definitely see something like that. Strictly representational characters, so there's no silent letters or weird spellings, which would make the adoption process that much faster and easier.
    ...Now I kinda want to know what it would look like. Aztec art has a very distinctive feeling, characters designed in that style would be really cool!

    Education
    I was thinking that different schools of education could be culture feats, but that was before we started the writing discussion. Maybe it could just be that characters with the Native (Mexica) culture can read and write the language for free. Maybe both.

    Librarian
    Alright, a mid-level librarian NPC. Got it.
    Though, I don't think anybody's gonna wanna play the idea if they have to be compared to Shia LeBeouf.

    Phoenixes
    Hmm. I think we do need a mechanic to draw the ashes out of wherever they've settled, but I don't think the phoenixes can afford to wait hundreds of years in one area for ashes to reveal themselves. Maybe some sort of ash-magnet?
    Maybe... a large enough fire, such as a brush fire, a torched city, or similar, will draw any phoenix ashes in the area to the surface to be gathered. There's significant evidence the natives regularly used fires to control the environment, from clearing underbrush in forested areas to maintaining grasslands as grasslands. The phoenixes learn about this and start hopping from fire to fire to collect the ashes of their brethren.
    Also, phoenix ash should be recognizable as not dirt. Maybe it sparkles, like ruby dust, or something.
    And one more thing, how do the phoenixes gather it with beaks and talons? Maybe they need humans to do it? Or maybe they can pick it up some other way, like collecting it on their tails.

    Race Remakes
    I'll talk about little people below.
    Both tuniit races?
    Quetzal are playable now, and they will remain playable after the remake. I'm basing the idea off the Vision Serpent idea.

    Bard
    I did not actually think of bard.
    You know, I've been toying with the idea of a bard remake with skill-based magic songs instead of spells since before I started the crossroads projects...
    For now, I'll put bard on the official classes list, and cross the remake bridge later.

    Polynesians
    Ahh, well, we're on the same page, then! Marvelous.
    But yes, there are a few non-empire-allied groups, the only problem with them is where/how do they fit into the setting info? Do they go under beyond the new world?

    Easter Island
    Ooh, now that's fun.
    I'm imagining an island full of both regular rats and dire rats, who are starting to turn on the villages as the forests shrink away. Really adds a level of desperation to the plotline.
    Though, why kidnap, rather than hire? The traders are probably makin' pretty good bank, and kidnapping a druid is an extremely challenging prospect, what with all the magic. What's to stop one from calling up a storm in anger and riding a dolphin to shore when they wake up on a boat in the middle of the pacific?

    Link Boards
    Hmm... Let's see...
    Nalu 'Aihue. Essentially it means wave-thief. You would also indicated the kind of board, Alani for the regular kind of traditional board, or Ono for the supersized ones for royalty.
    Also, apparently ancient boards were like 17-24 feet long, and had no fin. The things I learn with this project.

    Little People
    Huh, they're humanoid. Weird. I could have sworn I was gonna make them fey. Well, I suppose that's just one more thing that's easy enough to fix.

    But yeah, the idea was to make them fey and incorporate the nearly-ubiquitous ideas of little people that can be found all through the world. Menehune, Awwakkule, Mannegishi, Pukwudgies, Brownies, Pixies, Knockers, Leprechauns, and so on and so forth.

    As to little people making the setting more similar to other ones, I just don't know. I mean, these myths are very widespread, and can be found in almost every culture of the world, it would seem strange to NOT do anything with them. But then, if the people don't really like the idea of them, there's not much point in making them, either.
    Perhaps they could be made, but not as one of the main races. We could just put an 'as characters' sections on the bottom of various little people monsters?
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Okay, here's some more stuff that's occurred to me.

    Penetration:
    This is the rough draft of the weapon quality I mentioned before:
    A penetration weapon more easily overcomes the armor and hide of its targets. When attacking an enemy with a penetration weapon, it can ignore certain kinds of armor and certain values of natural armor, effectively reducing the target's armor class against the attack. There are three types of penetration, which indicate different amounts of armor and hide they can pierce. The types are Light, Medium, and Heavy. The table below indicates what kinds of protection each type can ignore.
    Light Medium Heavy
    Armor Light Armor Light or Medium Armor Light, Medium, or Heavy Armor
    Shields None Light (including bucklers) Light or Heavy (but not towers)
    Natural Armor +3 or lower +6 or lower +9 or lower

    Notes: Weapons made from adamantine or obsidian gain penetration (light). If they already possess the penetration quality, it's value increases by one step, from light to medium to heavy.
    Adamantine armor it treated as one level heavier for the purposes of penetration. Heavy adamantine armor cannot be ignored by penetration weapons.

    Obsidian/Hardened Obsidian
    Obsidian weapons are a thing, and one of the monsters in the call to brew thread reminded me that we really need to come up with the stats for this material. so, here's what I have.

    Obsidian is a black, highly reflective volcanic glass that can be easily flaked into some of the sharpest edges in the world. Natural obsidian is somewhat fragile, but with a bit of magic, it can be hardened until it's just as durable as any other material. Obsidian can't be used to make bludgeoning weapons or armor, but it creates dangerous edges and points on slashing or piercing weapons.
    Obsidian weapons have their critical range increased by one, and gain the penetration (light) property. If they already have the penetration quality, the value increases by one, from light to medium or from medium to heavy. Unfortunately, obsidian is rather brittle, and weapons made from it gain the fragile quality, unless made of hardened obsidian.

    Type Weapon Value
    Obsidian +500 VP?
    Hardened Obsidian +5000 VP?

    Sky Iron
    Since I'm already here...

    Sky iron is the word used to describe the iron-like material that makes up meteorites. The unique composition of the material, tempered by the fiery descent to earth and its long existence in space (though the scientific has yet to realize the true origins of them), makes it highly unusual and uniquely magical. Some even claim it to be alive. Sky iron's exact appearance varies by the meteor it emerged from, usually a dark gray, light gray, or bronze-like color. Sky iron can be used to make any item that would normally be crafted from iron or steel.

    Sky iron is inherently magical, and is treated as such for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. Sky iron items never rust, tarnish, or dull, and will even heal themselves at a rate of 1 HP/day if damaged or broken, though a broken item must have all the pieces present to heal.
    Sky iron is indeed alive, though it requires magical energy to make itself able to communicate freely. A sky iron item starts with intelligence, wisdom and charisma scores of 10, gaining a +1 bonus to all three scores equal to its effective enhancement bonus. It can communicate emphatically with its wielder, see and hear out to 30 feet, and cast a single 0-level spell determined by the DM at-will. Sky iron items can have any alignment, though all items made from the same meteorite have the same alignment initially. Sky iron items have special abilities and powers determined by the DM. Each time the weapon is enchanted, they can gain new abilities and qualities up to the total new value of the enchantments. For example, if a sky iron sword were empowered with a +1 enhancement bonus, the DM could add new abilities with a total cost of up to 2000. If later upgraded to a +2, the DM could add new abilities as long as the total value of the abilities is less than 8000. The intelligence, wisdom, and charisma bonuses gained from these enchantments do not count against the value of new abilities.

    Making an item from sky iron increases its value by 2000 VP.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Okay, here's some more stuff that's occurred to me.

    Penetration:
    This is the rough draft of the weapon quality I mentioned before:
    A penetration weapon more easily overcomes the armor and hide of its targets. When attacking an enemy with a penetration weapon, it can ignore certain kinds of armor and certain values of natural armor, effectively reducing the target's armor class against the attack. There are three types of penetration, which indicate different amounts of armor and hide they can pierce. The types are Light, Medium, and Heavy. The table below indicates what kinds of protection each type can ignore.
    Light Medium Heavy
    Armor Light Armor Light or Medium Armor Light, Medium, or Heavy Armor
    Shields None Light (including bucklers) Light or Heavy (but not towers)
    Natural Armor +3 or lower +6 or lower +9 or lower

    Notes: Weapons made from adamantine or obsidian gain penetration (light). If they already possess the penetration quality, it's value increases by one step, from light to medium to heavy.
    Adamantine armor it treated as one level heavier for the purposes of penetration. Heavy adamantine armor cannot be ignored by penetration weapons.
    Right... Why are we doing this at all?

    In 1750, the age of armour is all but over. The industry of producing them is vanishing throughout Europe and China, the last few battles involving heavy armour on a large scale ended some 100 years prior to our setting's timeperiod. It was primarily a battlefield thing that by and large never even reached the new world save for a brief period under the spanish conquistadors.
    Even -if- the locals picked up the idea and started making them, they're now facing columbians and fusangese that have weapons that more or less ignore their armour.

    Even ignoring the lore explanation, every single party is going to have pistols and muskets...the weakest of which probably fall on the "medium"-level in your table. Sure, there'll be bows and such as well... but do we really need to build an armour penetration system? It's not as if armour is going to be very useful most of the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aux-Ash View Post
    Right... Why are we doing this at all?

    In 1750, the age of armour is all but over. The industry of producing them is vanishing throughout Europe and China, the last few battles involving heavy armour on a large scale ended some 100 years prior to our setting's timeperiod. It was primarily a battlefield thing that by and large never even reached the new world save for a brief period under the spanish conquistadors.
    Even -if- the locals picked up the idea and started making them, they're now facing columbians and fusangese that have weapons that more or less ignore their armour.

    Even ignoring the lore explanation, every single party is going to have pistols and muskets...the weakest of which probably fall on the "medium"-level in your table. Sure, there'll be bows and such as well... but do we really need to build an armour penetration system? It's not as if armour is going to be very useful most of the time.
    Yes, you have a point. There will be very little or even no armor in warfare, in battles amongst humans. But you're forgetting a major aspect of the setting. Humans aren't the only threats out there. In our world, mankind largely tamed the wilderness and there are few animals that can really threaten a human with a gun. But in this world, we haven't tamed it, and there are monsters out there. Ferocious beasts with teeth and claws, and savage giants in the wilds that wield axes, clubs, and bows. Yes, armor would be in a rapid decline, but it still has its uses, and the group that would probably use the most armor is adventurers. Even if they were to shun heavier suits, a fine chain shirt or a breastplate might well save one's life against the fangs of a dragon or a warrior's blade.

    And it's not as though the natives would have to learn the techniques of the invaders to make armor. It wasn't often depicted, but it did exist in north america when the settlers arrived. Leather, cotton, wood, bone, woven reeds, and sometimes even copper were all used in armor to protect warriors in battle and during hunts. Hide or wooden shields, too.

    EDIT: Oh, and another point: This isn't going to be on everything, it's a weapon quality like trip. Crossbows, atlatls, guns, and some weapons made of special materials will have it, but it's not going to be a ubiquitous by a long shot. If people don't like it, they don't really have to use it.
    Last edited by Admiral Squish; 2014-05-04 at 02:56 PM.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    But yeah, the idea was to make them fey and incorporate the nearly-ubiquitous ideas of little people that can be found all through the world. Menehune, Awwakkule, Mannegishi, Pukwudgies, Brownies, Pixies, Knockers, Leprechauns, and so on and so forth.
    If you want to keep the "little people" aspect, I would recommend kicking the size down a notch (from Small to Tiny) and changing the subtype to fey. Most of the names I recognize in your list are considered fey in 3.5 anyhow, and it would both preserve the feel of what you had in mind while avoiding the inevitable overlap and comparison with standard halflings.

    You might also give them a couple 0-level SLAs, general to the race rather than tied to specific clans, just to enhance that sense of their being slightly otherworldly.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Sky iron is the word used to describe the iron-like material that makes up meteorites. The unique composition of the material, tempered by the fiery descent to earth and its long existence in space (though the scientific has yet to realize the true origins of them), makes it highly unusual and uniquely magical.
    Hm. In this setting, does all meteoric iron fall into this category?

    I like the idea of meteoric iron being worked into powerful weapons--there's a great precedent in The Silmarillion--but I'm not as keen on the notion that all sky iron is intelligent and alive, with mental stats and etc. Among other things, this implies there are intelligent asteroids orbiting out there, which is a little funky for the feel of this setting--and it also suggests there would potentially be a lot of these items floating around, given how many meteors come down over time.

    This is very much personal taste, but my own preference would be for an "ordinary" sky-iron with superior properties--in particular for hardness, rust resistance, overcoming DR, etc.--plus a very small fraction of these bolides in possession of further qualities, perhaps as a result of where they landed, or even of having been used in some ancient ritual, etc. etc. As a player, I would want the option to choose between "simple" sky-iron, with its purely metallurgical benefits, and the much more complex version involving self-awareness and additional powers.

    (The latter, I would think, would be quite a bit more expensive, probably more than you've listed in your example.)

    Originally Posted by Aux-Ash
    Right... Why are we doing this at all? ...In 1750, the age of armour is all but over.
    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Yes, armor would be in a rapid decline, but it still has its uses, and the group that would probably use the most armor is adventurers. Even if they were to shun heavier suits, a fine chain shirt or a breastplate might well save one's life against the fangs of a dragon or a warrior's blade.
    I have to say I agree with both points here, but especially with the idea that armor still has its uses. A certain scene with Frodo in Moria illustrates the point rather well.

    Also, I may have missed it before, but how does armor enchantment interact with muskets, weapon penetration and the like? I'd think something with a deflection bonus would have some effect on musket balls, at least.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Leather, cotton, wood, bone, woven reeds, and sometimes even copper were all used in armor to protect warriors in battle and during hunts. Hide or wooden shields, too.
    Do you have a citation for the copper armor? The others I've read about, but I've never heard of copper being used that way, at least not in Eastern North America.

    .
    Last edited by Palanan; 2014-05-04 at 03:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Little People
    Hmm... You know, I was wondering how I was going to get the little people of the legends up to small size. A lot of them were only like a foot, foot and a half tall in the legends. Tiny actually would fit better. Though, I will admit I am concerned about their viability in that case. Two sizes down means most weapons are going to have very, very low base damage (1d3 for an arrow), and I believe tiny characters can't reach beyond their squares. Still, there are ways around that, and it certainly would set them apart from other small-sized races.
    I think they would certainly have to have some magical abilities if they are to be viable characters. I believe I can make it work.

    Sky Iron
    Mostly, I based the precedent on Willamette meteorite, which was believed by the Clackamas tribe to be Tomanowos, one of the sky people descended from heaven in the form of a mass of iron. The idea the iron was alive descended from that.
    As to the price point, if you add up the costs of the basic abilities and the 0-level at-will spell, it's only supposed to be 1500 more expensive than the base price of the item. I didn't want to make players pay too much in advance for abilities that can only be unlocked by further expenses. I suppose the potential for growth is worth a bit more, though. 3000?

    Now, regarding some being regular and some being intelligent. I don't know, honestly. for the player a sky iron weapon's no more complex than a regular one, the DM is the item's voice, determines what abilities get unlocked when, and so on. The player doesn't even have to spend any unusual amounts of money, the intelligent item just gets new abilities worth parallel to what they spend on it anyways. There are ego issues, but that's just a roll every once in a while.
    I suppose if other people also support the idea, I could divide it into the two types of material, one 'simple', the other intelligent.

    Armor
    Enhanced armor doesn't change the armor's type, no. However, other armor bonuses like deflection, dodge, or magical effect like inertial armor or such would still apply. Also, there are the itemless bonuses which would still work.

    As to the copper armor, seems I was mistaken. I found an image of armor covered in little metal disks and thought copper, but it turns out it was one made with little Chinese coins. There was this one mysterious skeleton found with a big brass disk on its chest, but it disappeared in a fire way back when.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Phoenixes
    Hmm. I think we do need a mechanic to draw the ashes out of wherever they've settled, but I don't think the phoenixes can afford to wait hundreds of years in one area for ashes to reveal themselves. Maybe some sort of ash-magnet?
    Maybe... a large enough fire, such as a brush fire, a torched city, or similar, will draw any phoenix ashes in the area to the surface to be gathered. There's significant evidence the natives regularly used fires to control the environment, from clearing underbrush in forested areas to maintaining grasslands as grasslands. The phoenixes learn about this and start hopping from fire to fire to collect the ashes of their brethren.
    Also, phoenix ash should be recognizable as not dirt. Maybe it sparkles, like ruby dust, or something.
    And one more thing, how do the phoenixes gather it with beaks and talons? Maybe they need humans to do it? Or maybe they can pick it up some other way, like collecting it on their tails.
    Large fires to collect the ashes: i love it! But there should be a Phoenix present at the fire to draw out the ashes and collect it, ashes collected by others are usually stumbled upon by accident.
    And yes, it should be pretty recognizable.
    The phoenixes could collect it with their tails, that sounds good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Race Remakes
    Both tuniit races?
    From what i read in the previous thread i came under the impression that there was a race of 'true' Giants living on the north pole and that the Tuniit were their descendants when they interbred with humans. Or are they the same race, just born from a different race of parents? That would be very weird.
    It's also possbile i'm not remembering this correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    But yes, there are a few non-empire-allied groups, the only problem with them is where/how do they fit into the setting info? Do they go under beyond the new world?
    Iroquis Confederacy. Anasazi cliff cities. Maya city states. Russian Alaska. Those are some i can think off and there are probably some others we will stumble across while work on various area's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Easter Island
    Though, why kidnap, rather than hire? The traders are probably makin' pretty good bank, and kidnapping a druid is an extremely challenging prospect, what with all the magic. What's to stop one from calling up a storm in anger and riding a dolphin to shore when they wake up on a boat in the middle of the pacific?
    Cahokia is the center of the world. Why would a druid willingly leave the greatest city or the surrounding plains to go live on some Island in the middle of the ocean?
    Besides, Cahokia needs those druids to make Ironwood and to maintain their own forests. Protecting their Ironwood monopoly is important.

    Little people:

    I support Palanan's suggestion, making them tiny would be a nice solution. I like that a lot better than including small races.
    It fits a lot better with the legends about little people as well.

    Merlinic Wizards:

    So, i had some time this weekend and decided to do some research into Merlin and the history of England to see if i could find something to build a basis for the merlinic wizards. And then i was struck with some inspiration and i started typing. And well..... i typed a lot.
    But don't worry, my wife is pregnant and due in about three weeks so after that i wont have that much time anymore to build these huge walls of text.

    Anyway, here's what i have so far:

    Spoiler: Biography of Merlin:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin
    Dissecting a rat to predict the future is almost as stupid as disecting your own poop for the same reason
    The Merlinic Order was founded somewhere in the 6th century by a Welshman named Myrddin Wyllt, or as he is more commonly known outside of Wales: Merlin.
    The origin of the Order is mostly shrouded in myths, but most scholars agree that he was born somewhere around the year 540. He had a twin sister named Gwendydd who would become a powerfull arcanist of her own.

    Not much is known of his early life, he was most likely a hedge wizard travelling the countryside, telling fortunes and casting minor spells. His sister was more like a true wizard, studying the arcane arts in Roman tradition.
    Following the Roman tradition meant that she had to either serve a local noble or become one herself by marrying another noble. Most Roman patricians were either arcanists themselves or descendants of arcanists. In Roman tradition being a wizard meant serving the local patrician and if you were strong enough rise through the ranks to serve a patrician higher up the social ladder.
    Gwendydd chose the second option and married Gwenddoleu ap Ceidio, king of Arfderydd (an area around Hadrian's Wall). She was able to get Myrddin as the new court bard, he wasn't a great singer but his skill with magic, languages and writing was enough to make him very usefull.
    Myrddin followed his new liege around and with him he was present at the Battle of Arfderydd at Arthuret. There his brother-in-law was killed and Myrddin went mad from the carnage he saw. He fled into the forest and lived among the animals for a while until his sister, who had married the new lord of Arfderydd, dragged him back and almost forced him to start working again.

    Weirdly enough, Myrddin seemed to have found some sort of inspiration while hiding in the forest. He tested the at the time dominant way of divination by cutting open animals and found most of the ways divination was performed to be just plain wrong. In fact, he was able to disprove all animal-based divination he tested. This disproving of current theories was the first true innovation in divination magic that had happened in a couple of centuries. He is also credited with inventing the scrying spell, the Stone Tell spell and the Clairaudience/clairvoyance spell. Unfortunatly for Myrddin many of his innovations were not accepted during his lifetime and he only received the respect he earned after his death.

    After Gwendydd dragged him back to her husband's castle, Myrddin started to study wizardry and the Roman tradition. But while he was very good at the magic once he put his mind to it, he very quickly became dissatisfied with the Roman traditions of having to serve a lord or become a lord. He felt like he could do more if he were to directly serve the populace and not the lord. He felt that most of the magic he could perform in one day was wasted in doing spells for political purposes.
    And the lords would use this magic for themselves and not to serve the people they vowed to serve.
    After his sister died in childbirth along with the child Myrddin became the court arcanist. This made him even more dissatisfied with the Roman arcane tradition. Every time he wanted to do something for the populace, he was forced to waste his magic casting spells for the king.

    Eventually he had enough. He gathered his pupils and left Arfderydd to go back to Wales. Along the way they stopped several times to help people along the way. And then they stopped some more. And then they took a detour because they heard people needed help. Eventually they ended up in Stonehenge. And Cornwall. And then at Yorkshire. His group of pupils kept growing and he did eventually make it back to Wales only to leave again two months later.
    He kept on travelling through the British isles and performing what he considered to be his duty. He had the gift of magic and it was his duty to distribute that gift among those who need it.
    There were some other rules to it, but this would later become the basis for the 'Merlinic Oath'.

    He reportedly died the 'Threefold Death' when a local lord and his men was angered by his refusal to perform magic for him. He chased down Myrddin until he fell from a cliff where he was impaled on a stake left by fishermen, and died with his head below water.


    Spoiler: History of the Merlinic Wizards:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac Newton
    One must study and understand the laws of nature and physics so that one can learn how to break those laws with magic.
    After the death of Myrddin his pupils spread out and started gathering pupils of their own. And those pupils would again spread out and gather new pupils. That cycle went on for a long time.
    At the time of the Viking conquest of large parts of the British Isles the Merlinic wizards numbered somewhere between a third and half of the total arcanists present on the Isles.
    When the Vikings first heard about the Merlinic Wizards, their Skalds absolutely loved them. Very quickly a number of poems about the wizards started to become enormously popular in Scandinavia.
    Following that the Merlinic Oath started to be used all over Scandinavia. The Vikings even spread the oath into Normandy, Spain, Sicily and Russia. Even in the Byzantine Empire the oath was known, although the Byzantines usually mocked the oath.
    At the time of the Danelaw about two thirds of the arcanists in the Isles were Merlinic wizards, a number that would only increase when William the Conquerer took the English throne.

    But the success of the Merlinic Wizards didn't last. When John, King of England made England into a tributary state of the Papal States, one of the concessions he had to make was a ban on Merlinic Wizards working for the government. And a full support for any Papal wizard to do his work.
    This led to a serious decline in Merlinic Wizards, a lot of them abandoned their oath and started working for the church.
    The Black Death partly changed that again. When the plague appeared in southern Italy and France in 1347, the Papal States called every able Wizard to help them battle the plague. Most of the high level wizards were put on boats and sailed to Mediterranean Europe where they were put to work battling the plague. By the time the plague reached England in early 1349, most of the Papal wizards were abroad battling the plague. The populace cried out to the king to save them from the plague and he was forced to call on the Merlinic Wizards.
    Their efforts were most likely equally unsuccessfull as the efforts of the Church, but this increased their popularity immensely.

    That popularity only kept on growing, even after the Black Death ended and the Papal wizards returned to England. They were seen as cowards who wouldn't help their country while the Merlinic wizards were seen as true patriots. This lead to renewed conflicts with the Pope in the following decades.
    When Henry VIII became king of England and renounced the Pope he reached out to the Merlinic Wizards to fill the gap left by the Papal wizards he expelled.
    After his death, his daughter Mary tried to return the country to Catholicism and burned several Merlinic Wizards as Protestants. Her reign was a difficult one and people celebrated in the streets of London the day she died.
    Elizabeth I, who took the throne, re-established the Church of England with the full support of most Merlinic Wizards. She found the balance between puritans and catholics and declared the Merlinic Wizards and all wizardry as a secular matter. This made the order independant from any religious interference and give them a great deal of freedom.
    While the Merlinic Wizards were firmly cemented in British politics, outside of the Isles the started to lose influence. Only in Scandinavia they were able to keep part of their power, but continental Europe south of the Baltic coast was mostly free of Merlinic Wizards.

    The Merlinic Wizard John Dee, advisor to Queen Elizabeth, was the first arcanist to describe the higher amount of magic in the New World when he was sent on an expedition to act as a diviner.
    He is the one that established the tradition of using the scientific method to research arcane matters.
    This way of looking at the arcane only became more and more important in the Merlinic order.
    But mundane sciences were not looked down upon in England and in 1660 the Royal Society was founded to provide advice to the Crown in scientific matters while the Merlinic Order remained the chief advisor in arcane matters. This would very often lead to tensions between the Order and the Society. And those tensions lead to confusing and conflicting advice to the crown.
    Sir Isaac Newton put an end to this. He was a powerfull Merlinic Wizard who dabbled a bit in mathematics, optics and physics. His work in the mundane sciences lead to him becoming a member of the Royal Society. In 1703 he became president of the Royal Society and he started working towards uniting the Merlinic Order and the Royal Society into one single body that united both. Scientists and arcanists needed to work as equals, they needed to use the same methods. The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural and Arcane Knowledge was born.
    This didn't mean that all Merlinic Wizards joined the Royal Society, most of them remained free to help the populace as they saw fit. But those that joined were expected to study both the arcane and the mundane sciences.
    Newtons view on the Merlinic Oath also leaned closer to the Roman tradition. He (and the Royal Society with him) see their vow to help the populace as a vow to help the government help the populace. The unaffiliated Merlinic Wizards see their vow as a vow to directly help the populace. This is a common dispute between Merlinic Wizards, but most agree that using both these explanations is what makes the Merlinic Wizards so successfull.


    Spoiler: The merlinic oath:
    Show


    The Merlinic Oath changed a lot through the ages. Things were added and removed. Things were forgotten and remembered again. But this is the oath as it is now:

    - A Wizard may not harm a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm unless harming one human will make it so that other humans will not be harmed.
    - A wizard attempt to help non-wizards in any way he can unless helping a non-wizard will result in harming another non-wizard.
    - A wizard robot protect his own life because he is a valuable asset to the people. But a wizard must be willing to give up his life to prevent non-wizards from coming to harm.
    - A wizard must protect humanity as a whole over everything else. In some cases it is needed to harm one non-wizard to save many others.
    - A Wizard will study the arcane as best as he can so that he can better help non-wizards


    Sidenote: for my Merlinic Oath i took inspiration in the three laws of robotics from Asimov's stories.

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    A wizard robot protect his own life because he is a valuable asset to the people. But a wizard must be willing to give up his life to prevent non-wizards from coming to harm.
    The influence from Asimov certainly shines through.


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    Phoenixes
    I don't know, if the pheonix has to be present to draw out the ashes, how would anybody but pheonixes get them?

    Okay, I think I got an idea. It's not fire specifically, it's heat. The phoenix ashes react to heat. If they're warmed by something, such as a fire, they will be attracted to the source of the heat in a magnetic fashion. Now, under normal circumstances, phoenix ashes just look like slightly glittery ash. But when heat is applied, they change color. When it's hot enough to start to pull, it's yellow, which is warm to the touch. As the heat increases they go through yellow, orange, red, blue, and finally pure white. White is when it's hot enough to start a rebirth reaction. Anything after red is just too hot to handle unless you've got some sort of heat resistance. When the fire has passed an area, the phoenix comes in, looks for unusually colored spots, then runs a wing or their tail over it. The phoenix's heat is enough to draw the ash into the feathers, but not enough to start the rebirth. For that, they have to put the ash in a pile and blast it with fire until it does white. It's possible for non-phoenix fire to start a rebirth reaction, but it's difficult to create quite that much heat by mundane means.

    Tuniit
    Ahh, I understand the point of confusion. The Tuniit are the larger-than-human descendants of the Inupasugjuk. They're not both referred to as Tuniit.
    The confusion I was referencing was that the Tuniit is regarded as the name of the culture and the large people.
    Hmm... You know, there are plenty of other giants to be found in native american myth. Maybe this race could do with a bit of a generalization too. The Tuniit would still be the largest group of them, but it would allow for players south of canada to play big guys, too.

    Non-Empire Groups
    Oh, I'm fully aware of the groups in question. I'm asking more along the lines of where would they go in the formatting. If they're not allied with any of the larger empires, where do they fit into the posts? The Iroquois League, for example. They're not part of the cahokian league, they're not part of columbia, and they're not part of tuniitaq. Where do I put them? Do I mention them as an aside in one of the empires, do I put them in the 'beyond the new world' post, even though they're part of it, do I add another post to the front page?

    Druid-napping
    I just don't think kidnapping a druid of that power level is very practical, though. You'd probably have to keep him in an AMF to keep him out of the fight, then the moment you let him use his magic to help you, you're opening yourself to him going ape on you. A druid who is strong enough to help reforest the island has a wide variety of ways to ruin your day. Control weather to summon a storm on the island. Summon Nature's Ally to call in armies of dire bears or similar. He can probably find his way back home over the sea with know direction and find the path. He could hitch a ride on an sea creature, or even wild shape into something that can swim those distances.
    The easter island traders might not be able to hire a really high-level one, but I bet they could borrow a 5th-level druid from one of the lesser mound families for a pretty good price. All they really need is plant growth, after all, and maybe something to kill rats.

    Little People
    Alright, that's some more support for tiny little people. Honestly, it does make sense, I keep finding references to the little people that are pretty clearly in the tiny size range. Knee-high, 12 inches, 18 inches, 14 inches, two spans... So on and so forth.
    I'm getting a bit frustrated trying to find the original form of a lot of these guys. I mean, in original form fairies were tall, winged, angel-like creatures, and dwarfs were never described as short until after christianity arrived.
    Oh, that brings up another question: Should elves, dwarves, and gnomes (the original mythological forms, not the modern takes) be options? It may invite some confusion...
    And one more question: Should I rename the types of little people, or use original names? I mean, translated, 'yunwi tsunsdi' just means 'little people'. Renaming might allow me to combine a couple of subtypes of similar nature together into bigger groups.

    One last thing: I'm thinking about giving pixies a VERY limited form of flight. The basic idea is they can only get about ten feet off the ground, which would be in reach of medium creatures below them, and they can glide as they fall if the ground opens up beneath them or they go over a cliff or something. I don't really know if I should make an exception to the no flying rule, though...

    Merlin's Tale
    I definitely like this story. I haven't checked any of the details, but it looks pretty solid. Very cool.

    Merlinic Oath
    Not so sure on this, though. I think I was looking more for something like the hippocratic oath than the three laws of robotics. What you have there sounds very strict and specific, the hippocratic oath is a little more fluid, something that would likely be very important in the magical arts.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Merlinic Oath
    Not so sure on this, though. I think I was looking more for something like the hippocratic oath than the three laws of robotics. What you have there sounds very strict and specific, the hippocratic oath is a little more fluid, something that would likely be very important in the magical arts.
    I agree with this.

    The Three Laws were designed as a safeguard for industrial products that operated according to binary logic. The Three Laws (which became the Four Laws) were intended for practical safety, but also to provide the customers of U.S. Robotics with a necessary sense of security, a sense of trust that every situation had been covered and the robots were perfectly safe.

    This was certainly not the case in practice, and much of the intellectual and moral challenge of the robot novels is in how the robots themselves work through the constraints and implications of the Three Laws, and eventually develop the Fourth (or Zeroth) Law on their own.

    But I agree that these really feel out of place when adapted as a professional oath for humans, whose conflicts and motivations are far beyond those of most positronic brains. This is especially the case when applied to magic--it doesn't really fit, and as written they're a clear takeoff on Asimov, which would sharply contrast with the mood and feel of Crossroads overall.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Oh, that brings up another question: Should elves, dwarves, and gnomes (the original mythological forms, not the modern takes) be options?
    Meh. I don't really see the need.

    What makes this setting so interesting to me is the detailed take on alternative-history cultures. There will be enough interesting human options to keep most players happy for quite a while--and adding any form of elf/dwarf/gnome would only detract from the setting's unique feel. All the vividly imagined human cultures make for a wild, spicy gumbo, but too many standard fantasy races would spoil the soup.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    And one more question: Should I rename the types of little people, or use original names? I mean, translated, 'yunwi tsunsdi' just means 'little people'. Renaming might allow me to combine a couple of subtypes of similar nature together into bigger groups.
    I'd say keep as many of the original names as possible, to preserve an authentic flavor, but feel free to combine where necessary. If certain wee folk from certain legends have unique traits or abilities, I'd say retain those, and combine others when they're not so distinct. After all, it only makes sense that different human cultures might have a variety of names for a widespread kind of little people who are essentially the same across a region or a continent.

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    I do not think that Elves and Dwarves should be used in this setting as PCs, since they can be either quite gamebreaking, or they cannot really progress far due to limitations. They work better as creatures that have been driven underground and not easily found except by powerful PCs, and even then, go with caution.

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    I say no elves, dwarves, Orcs, ect.

    This is a Magical Alt History setting.


    I don't think Druid-Napping is practical, same with Druid-hiring unless the Easter Islanders have somthing very valuable.

    I find it more likely that Easter Islander druids are trying to reforest their island on their own, going to great, perhaps even desperate lengths to gather the power necessary to power a ritual. Easter Islanders could be traveling the World, seeking way to boost their power. Maybe they're trying to decipher the ritual that the Scarred Monks use to draw power from burning spellcasters and magic items, or the secrets of Mexica Blood Magic, maybe they're trying to figure out how the Cahokians were able to forge an alliance with the spirit of the Great River.

    Stealing a powerful spellcaster, especially a Cahokian one, is probably beyond the Islanders. But they could try to uncover the secrets the Cahokians used to keep their ecosystem going.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Phoenixes

    Okay, I think I got an idea. It's not fire specifically, it's heat. The phoenix ashes react to heat. If they're warmed by something, such as a fire, they will be attracted to the source of the heat in a magnetic fashion. Now, under normal circumstances, phoenix ashes just look like slightly glittery ash. But when heat is applied, they change color. When it's hot enough to start to pull, it's yellow, which is warm to the touch. As the heat increases they go through yellow, orange, red, blue, and finally pure white. White is when it's hot enough to start a rebirth reaction. Anything after red is just too hot to handle unless you've got some sort of heat resistance. When the fire has passed an area, the phoenix comes in, looks for unusually colored spots, then runs a wing or their tail over it. The phoenix's heat is enough to draw the ash into the feathers, but not enough to start the rebirth. For that, they have to put the ash in a pile and blast it with fire until it does white. It's possible for non-phoenix fire to start a rebirth reaction, but it's difficult to create quite that much heat by mundane means.
    Sounds good to me.
    So if the prevailing winds at the time of the Vesuvius eruption were eastward, then a lot of Phoenix ash will have spread to Vespuccia. Meaning that there will most likely have been a Phoenix migration eastward after the discovery of the New World. If there's a phoenix population in Vespuccia there are some questions to answer:
    1) How many phoenixes are we talking about? Most of them got killed and their ashes swept away on the wind. There should probably be a limit on how many phoenixes there are now. What i had in mind is that about 4 of them survived Vesuvius. They were able to revive a few of their kin, but not much. Let's assume that things go really slow and they are able to revive about 1 phoenix every century. That would give us 21 living phoenixes.
    Does that sound good?
    2) Where do the phoenixes live in Vespuccia? Rocky mountains? Death Valley? Yellowstone?
    3) Thunderbirds, how do they react to Phoenixes?
    4) Do they have humans or other creatures to help them?

    Non-Empire Groups
    I'd add another post. That shows people who read the front page clearly that they're not part of one of the Big Five.

    Elves/Dwarves/Orcs/....

    I vote against using these races as well. That would take away the uniqueness of the setting.

    Druid-napping

    Alright, you've all made good points against druid-napping.
    And i like BRC's take on it. Easter Island spies leaving their trusted Island to step onto unknown land in search of the means to save their home.

    Merlinic Oath

    Well i wrote the oath as a bit of an afterthought. And you're right, they're probably too strict and too similar to what Asimov wrote. And that might indeed contrast the mood of this setting too much.
    I just hope you all like Merlin's biography and the history of merlinic wizards. Just remember that nothing is set in stone yet, i can still change a lot of stuff.

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    If you want the phoenix ashes to be captured by other parties, how about phoenixes molting 3 times before reincarnation, and the feathers can be used to create heat resistance and allows one to easily detect and gather ashes.

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    The only elves I can think of that might be applicable to the setting are the faery folk of celtic legends, with changlings and such, not the tolkien elves, and their orc counterparts. And weren't dwarves a form of elemental creature once, like sylphs and trolls and salamanders?

    I'd be more inclined to include things pertaining to the classical elements than to be influenced by popular fantasies.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    The Sidhe and other Celtic and Germanic myths were used as inspiration for Tolkien myths, and whoever wants to sort out the mess resulting from those stories are in for a swift descent into madness. I believe that dwarves were somewhat elemental in that they reproduced by carving a statue and using magic runes, not by biological means.

    As for how Thunderbirds view Phoenixes, they don't really like them, since I feel that they differ from each other in that Thunderbird is lightning versus fire, but that they are tolerant of their presence, since it's kinda hard to fight something that explodes in flame if you kill it, then comes back to life

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Merlinic Oath
    I suppose what we should do is figure out exactly what we want to see in the oath, rather than saying what we don't like about this version. Once we have a list of things to include, we can write the proper oath from there.
    It's definitely got to make casters use their magical abilities for the good of the people.
    There should be a bit about respecting fellow arcanists and possibly something about sharing knowledge and spells?

    Little People
    I feel I should reiterate:
    I'm NOT talking about Tolkien races. I'm referring the the original forms of the myths, for dwarfs, elves, and gnomes. I have no idea how orcs got brought up. They would be options under the little people race, not full races of their own. I'll drop the refrences, though. I was having a hell of a time sorting a concrete vision of them out of the mess of wikipedia, anyways. And gnomes were elemental in origin, not dwarves. They were first described by Paracelsus in a book on alchemy.
    Anyways, I've been working on the little people quite a bit and I've sort of settled on a compromise. About 10 different types of people, each with a couple examples from different cultures. For example, maker folk are little people who are exceptional craftsmen and builders. Menehune, leprechauns, and yunwi tsundi are the listed examples for them. They get mending and identify as SLAs, they get bonuses to appraise checks, craft and profession checks to make or build something, and a special ability that lets them complete any project they're working on in a day by working 24 hours straight, but they're exhausted for 24 hours afterward.

    Phoenixes
    1) I think 20-24 would be a good number. Theoretically, there would be an acceleration through the years as they gather more and more ash together, increasing the likelihood that any singular phoenix will be represented wholly by the pile.
    2)Hmm. I think the small number of them would mean there wouldn't really be any one area where they're common, but there would have to be some place where they could stockpile the ashes. Since there are so few of them, there would likely seek out some place where they could enlist the help of some other human or magical guardians, and it would have to be somewhere beyond the reach of the church.
    3) I think thunderbirds would react to phoenixes the same way they would react to any other large avian. Keep in mind, thunderbirds are of animal intelligence, they don't really have agendas beyond their instinctual drives.
    4) That probably depends largely on the players in question and their first impressions. I mean, any tribe would likely be angry if they first encountered a phoenix as it lit a farm on fire, or it scared off game in a the middle of a hunt. But they would likely be more friendly if it came bearing a gift of magic feathers and spoke the language already.

    Non-Empire Groups
    Okay, let's see who's on the list. The Haida, The Great Basin, the Iroquois, The Russians... The Anasazi were gonna be disappeared, so they're not in it. I don't know if other mesoamerican states get put into here, considering the aztatlan region described in the first post is made up of all those little nations. Where We Do Not Hunt, maybe?

    Druid-Napping
    Alright, that seems to settle it.
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    Alright, long-time lurker, but I thought I might have something to add about Phoenixes (Phoenicies? Phoeni?)

    As someone earlier suggested, it would make sense for the Phoenixes to be allied with the church, given the strong historical symbolism. Just because the church hunted most magical creatures doesn't mean it went after all of them. And this would tie in with the Phoenixes' ash quest; the church would be guarding the ash for the Phoenixes, as they need somewhere safe to store them.

    Also, it would make sense if the Phoenixes were allied with the Church that has tight control over arcane magic, given that runaway arcane magic literally killed/ prevented rebirth of the majority of their race.

    Just my two cents, anyways.

    As an aside, perhaps deep within the Rome Archives lie documents detailing what exactly happened at the Vesuvius Incident.

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Merlinic Oath
    I suppose what we should do is figure out exactly what we want to see in the oath, rather than saying what we don't like about this version. Once we have a list of things to include, we can write the proper oath from there.
    It's definitely got to make casters use their magical abilities for the good of the people.
    There should be a bit about respecting fellow arcanists and possibly something about sharing knowledge and spells?
    Well it kind of depends, do you like the biography of Merlin and the history of the wizards i typed out? There's stuff in there i'd like to use, but i don't know if people agree with what i typed out.

    A few thoughts about what could be in it:
    - charming/mind control/ mind reading is forbidden (this one will probably get broken a lot)
    - helping people with magic comes before political spellcasting.
    - an arcanist will take an apprentice as soon as he's able.
    - neutrality and something akin to doctor-patient confidentiallity for arcanists
    - breaking the oath will result in bad stuff (if people find out at least), but probably not death since any arcanist is valuable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Non-Empire Groups
    Okay, let's see who's on the list. The Haida, The Great Basin, the Iroquois, The Russians... The Anasazi were gonna be disappeared, so they're not in it. I don't know if other mesoamerican states get put into here, considering the aztatlan region described in the first post is made up of all those little nations. Where We Do Not Hunt, maybe?
    What's in the Great Basin?
    WWDNH fits more with Tuniitaq i think. The Mammutcha are listed under them i think?
    Other than those, i don't have much. Only the Mayan city states.

    And i was hoping we could maybe reconsider the Anasazi?
    Here's why: They're a whole people that mysteriously disappeared, supposedly through some sort of powerfull magic or great knowledge of Links (i think?).
    Every setting out there has the ancient civilization that either mysteriously disappeared. Or the one that was vastly more powerfull than anybody in the present but somethow managed to get destroyed and people are now looting their tombs. Oh, and the tombs have been left mysteriously untouched and unlooted for centuries.
    It's been used a lot and i was hoping we could avoid it here.

    If you let them live they could be a great non-empire group.
    Think about it, they're smack in the middle between three big players of the Big Five (Fusang, Aztlan, Cahokia). All three of them would LOVE to annex those cliff cities and the surrounding area, but the cities are amazing fortresses. And if one of the three tried an invasion the others would quickly intervene. Great potential for conflict.
    The Grand Canyon is there, we could have them build an amazing city there. Have players help the Anasazi who are trying to build the greatest capitol a nation can ever have. In a cliff in the Grand Canyon.
    The cliff cities can be a great supply point for expeditions into the Rocky Mountains.

    What you have now is just another dungeon like there are thousands in other settings. Only this one is in the side of a cliff.
    What you could have is a vibrant civilization wedged between three great nations that is making more of the amazing buildings they had in history.

    Edit: A small question.
    Percussion caps weren't invented yet. This means that firing a gun in wet weather can range from tricky to impossible.
    Will this affect gun use in the setting? Will players be unable to use a gun while it's raining? Will a fog cloud spell prevent somebody from shooting a gun (provided they see you in all that fog....)?
    Last edited by Steckie; 2014-05-08 at 02:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Is this of interest to use as a dungeon?

    The idea behind this would be that Cleopatra and Mark Antony's son fled with followers to the Americas. My understanding of the other research into this, (I only used the above link since it was a quick link not a good one) is that current ideas is that it is feasible to have happened, but is not proven.
    Last edited by Mith; 2014-05-08 at 04:48 PM.

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