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  1. - Top - End - #121
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    As for Neutralize Poison, I think there's a good case to be made for that to be a lower-level spell. Disease outbreaks are sporadic and unpredictable, but canebrake rattlesnakes and deadly mushrooms will be an almost daily threat for many people, and it only makes sense that more magical effort would be spent on counteracting poison.
    Good point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    As for how the disease is transmitted, I would stay with human-to-human contact to reduce the permutations involved. A disease transmitted from animals (zoonosis, plural zoonoses) can be incredibly deadly--just read the first chapters of The Coming Plague for examples of modern outbreaks--and, in game terms, represents a large number of additional threats that have to be managed by the GM, and which could easily derail a campaign.

    Also, you mentioned plants, but I can't think of any plants offhand which are vectors for serious disease. Typically a disease will have a reservoir in compatible hosts, either a human or mammal population, sometimes with a secondary host or vector from the invertebrate world. Again, modeling these in detail would involve a new subsystem, and a LOT of extra work for the GM.
    Plants was something that i forgot to remove from the sentence, so please forget i typed that.
    As for zoonosis, it's still a big problem now and it was a big problem in 1750. Maybe for every animal that gets (re)designed we add a short list of common diseases they carry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    And keep in mind that if the characters are moving from, say, Philadelphia to Iroquoia and later Cahokia, they themselves may become vectors of disease, with all the moral freight that may bear.
    Hence the quarantine person spell
    I do agree that it will need another name.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    The syntax in this sentence is a little odd, in particular the use of "might already," so I'm not at all sure what's meant here.
    I'm Belgian. My mother language is Dutch. In school we start learning French at age 11, German and English at age 14. I'm 28 now, school has been a long time ago and remembering three extra languages results in me getting confused from time to time.
    Perhaps it's a good thing i forgot most of my German

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Lord, another huge post!
    A note: As much as the non-english spellings of various places sounds good, I think we could safely refer to places by what they would be called in english, for the sake of speed and ease of understanding.

    Columbia Colonies:
    Portugal
    Hmm... If memory serves, one of the initial conflict points in the Tuniitaq region was going to be conflict over Newfoundland fisheries. Initially, the Vinlandrs allowed them in, and traded with the fishing ships, but when they started to over-fish and try to drive away the Vinlandrs who lived on the island, they struck back, launching raids on the coastal fishing settlements and stealing their supplies, eventually gaining enough cannon-power to mount on their ships in numbers enough to take on the full-sized ships and keep them out in the future.

    Spain
    Okay, so Spain controls the eastern shore south of Charleston.
    I'm still not sold on the Chesapeake, though. Yes, the armada was never defeated by the English, a fact mad possible by the fact that it never sailed in the first place. The defeat of the Spanish was such a big deal because they were the big dogs of the time, with money to burn on an enormous fleet of ships like that. The fact that Spain never had the money to do that in the first place would certainly not be lost on the British. In this timeline, the Spanish aren't rich, or immensely powerful.
    While the defeat of the armada was surely a great boot of confidence to the British, I'm certain that seeing their major rival states lose out over and over in the new world would surely grant them a similar boost of confidence, though spread out over a much longer period of time. Spain failing in Aztatlan, Portugal getting the boot from Brasilia, and such.

    New Orleans
    Here's a question that occurred to me. The city itself is a melting pot, but what about the surrounding area? Is it officially french, a mixture, or is the city itself all the foreign settlement Cahokia allowed?

    Knights of Malta
    A minor point: the original emblem was black with a white cross, but it was changed before they left the holy land to a red field with a white cross. Kind of the Bizarro version of the red cross symbol.

    Lodges
    Hmm... Well, I suppose I could see a sort of volunteer lodge dealie goin' on. They would probably be relatively few and far between, but if you know your way around you could probably make it to the next one in a long day's ride, at least along certain routes.
    Ooh, regarding the peasants keeping falcons: equipment idea. The falcon cages are all equipped with a special, very lightly magical, falconing glove, that lets the wearer direct the bird to a nearby lodge as with an animal messenger spell. I don't think these volunteer posts would be disciplined enough in their training to have them fly self-guided.

    Langues/Auberges
    This system works pretty well in my mind, though I think we could rearrange the auberges a bit. Also, can we just call them 'enclaves'?

    France's could be in the north, above Maine, as that's France's largest, contiguous area of settlement.
    England, as suggested, could probably be in Rhode Island.
    Spain's would probably be Cuba, or possibly in Florida.
    Portugal's auberge would probably have been in Brasilia itself, but was expelled like the rest of the European settlements.
    Netherlands' sounds fine in New Amsterdam.
    The papal state's auberge would probably be New Malta itself, though perhaps one of the nearby islands would work if they can't share.
    German/Scandanavian sounds fine in new sweden.
    Natives... This one's more of a challenge. I suspect they would put it in New Orleans, but this branch would be very widely spread around.

    Leadership
    A council of 12 around an extremely powerful leader? That just sounds ripe for all kinds of plot mischief.

    Moving to the New World
    I think there should be, at the least, one langue remaining in the old world, on Malta, in their traditional holdings. I could imagine them moving over, but I think they wouldn't just abandon the island they called home for 200 years.

    Membership:
    I think we should probably bump up those numbers if we want them to be a significant power. Granted, their use of ships is a pretty good force-multiplier, but that only applies at sea. Volunteers will only take you so far, there need to be enough knights to pose a credible threat in military terms. Maybe 1000 knights of justice, 5000 knights of obedience?
    What level do you think an average knight would be? High enough to start taking levels in a PRC?
    Also, what are the penalties for breaking the oaths? Would they be magically enforced, or mundane?

    Disease
    Heal:
    I definitely think that the heal skill should have a larger role in the game. I could certainly imagine making it a trained only skill, but I don't think it would be a knowledge skill. Firstly, it would work very differently than any other knowledge skills, which is its own issue. Secondly, the healing is less about your ability to learn than it is about judgement and accumulated knowledge, it seems more of a wisdom skill than an intelligence one. Estimating dosages, making calls about the course of treatment, and so on. This would particularly apply to this setting, where medicine's not truly a science yet.

    Magic
    I don't remember indicating we should raise the level of the remove disease spell, I do, however, remember discussing the idea that it would only work on specific diseases, so remove disease wouldn't just be a magical panacea, it would be a specific response to a specific disease, and it would not prevent reinfection. It wouldn't be separate spells for each one, but you would learn how to apply it to different diseases somehow.
    I will agree I think the poison one can stay low safely, as poison's a much more specific, immediate danger.

    Reinfection
    Speaking of reinfection, I think an important point would be that individuals who have already overcome a disease or were exposed to it as a child would be either more difficult or impossible to reinfect. On one hand, reinfection is boring for players, and it would be simpler to have the plague just be unable to affect those already recovered. On the other hand, in many cases, reinfection IS possible, just much more difficult.
    I'm thinking of either just saying it's impossible to be reinfected once you overcome a disease, or saying you get a +X bonus to resisting an infection of something you've overcome.
    A note: Overcoming it means surviving it naturally and fighting it off via fortitude save. So, while receiving treatment from a healer would still count as overcoming it, a disease removed by magic wouldn't grant said bonus.

    Zoonoses:
    I don't think that EVERY animal needs to have a list of diseases. Typically zoonoses only occur in animals that live in very close proximity to humans for extended periods of time. I.E. cowpox, bird flu, black plague, and such. That's why Europeans had so many disease the natives were unprepared for, they raised animals, and the natives didn't really hang with animals, other than dogs.
    But even then, I don't think we need to make players roll every time they come in contact with animals or other people. I think we fill out the disease section appropriately, and indicate the sorts of things the players can catch them from, and it'll be fine. I don't think anyone wants to turn crossroads into oregon trail, where you have to worry about dying from dysentery every other week.

    Plague History
    Hmmm... With the change to using magic against disease, I'm not sure this would work as written, your version OR my version. The ability to treat the disease magically would only serve to delay the infection from spreading through the city or town. We would need a preventative.
    Here's a radical idea: What if the Natives invented immunization? I mean, It wouldn't be vaccination, it would work by a different method, but it would accomplish a similar goal. I think the word is inoculation.
    Healers notice that people who lived through the plague and survive are less likely to become infected. The spellcasters could use a variant of the contagion or epidemic spells to create an altered version of the plague in question, one that doesn't actually do damage to the host, though they may show some other symptoms. The weaker version has a lower DC, and it's close enough to the real disease that the body is trained to defend against it. The created disease is just as infectious as the normal version, and it would be spread along the trade routes and into other populations to create an immunization effect. Perhaps the cure-plague could have a specific, highly unusual symptom, that would allow people to identify people infected with the real thing and people with the weakened version.

    Hisatsinom
    History
    Alright, I'll accept they will remain independent of the league, though I suspect they're still being courted quite intensely. That could be a plot for players on either side of the line.

    Spiders
    ...Hmm. Would that mean that by having one as a companion/familiar, you would also have a spider swarm accompanying it?

    Also, it occurs to me that spiders spinning such large webs are likely going to be catching bird as well as bugs. Perhaps birds would be viewed as pests? I mean, they eat grain and corn, they poo indiscriminately... It could lead to some interesting changes in outlook.

    City
    I've been thinking that we need a picture of the city since it was first brought up. This is right up there with Cahokia, Jade Harbor, New Orleans, and Yellowtusk in terms of places we need pictures of.

    Mrr... all the online dictionaries I find are really, really sparse. I can't find a word for town, city, building, structure, spider, or web. I did find that there's one english-hopi dictionary that was published, and it's apparently very complete and detailed, but it's $300-600 for a copy.
    I suppose we can just refer to it in English.

    Hmm. 'The Web Below' sounds awesome, but perhaps a bit too grand for just one city. Perhaps the web below could refer to their road system?
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  3. - Top - End - #123
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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

    I don't remember indicating we should raise the level of the remove disease spell, I do, however, remember discussing the idea that it would only work on specific diseases, so remove disease wouldn't just be a magical panacea, it would be a specific response to a specific disease, and it would not prevent reinfection. It wouldn't be separate spells for each one, but you would learn how to apply it to different diseases somehow.
    I will agree I think the poison one can stay low safely, as poison's a much more specific, immediate danger.
    What's the current rule set for making a believable illusion? The reason for my question is that a way around the "no separate spells but still have to apply differently" is that it can be that one has to know exactly what one is dealing with the make the spell work, kinda like an effective illusion (As was done when I played 1E, hence my question about current rules). If you haven't seen it, or have a really good description of what to do, the spell fails, and maybe at most, buys the infected momentary relief. This means that there is a drive for expanding ones grasp of the healing arts both for a Heal skill as well as the spell itself.

    Reinfection
    Speaking of reinfection, I think an important point would be that individuals who have already overcome a disease or were exposed to it as a child would be either more difficult or impossible to reinfect. On one hand, reinfection is boring for players, and it would be simpler to have the plague just be unable to affect those already recovered. On the other hand, in many cases, reinfection IS possible, just much more difficult.
    I'm thinking of either just saying it's impossible to be reinfected once you overcome a disease, or saying you get a +X bonus to resisting an infection of something you've overcome.
    A note: Overcoming it means surviving it naturally and fighting it off via fortitude save. So, while receiving treatment from a healer would still count as overcoming it, a disease removed by magic wouldn't grant said bonus.
    How about drawing up a of contagion for diseases so that some diseases (like the cold) have high contagion rate, but a lower risk, while other conditions are always a risk after first infection, while others are more of a catch once, low survival rate, but afterwards there will be no problems afterwards. So you'll have two axis: Contagion, and Severity. This can be generalized to allow for custom diseases if one chooses to deal with Skinwalkers and other plague-bringers. (Do we have Skinwalkers in this setting?)

  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Lord, another huge post!
    Columbia Colonies:
    Portugal
    Hmm... If memory serves, one of the initial conflict points in the Tuniitaq region was going to be conflict over Newfoundland fisheries. Initially, the Vinlandrs allowed them in, and traded with the fishing ships, but when they started to over-fish and try to drive away the Vinlandrs who lived on the island, they struck back, launching raids on the coastal fishing settlements and stealing their supplies, eventually gaining enough cannon-power to mount on their ships in numbers enough to take on the full-sized ships and keep them out in the future.
    They have carribean colonies not too far away, doesn't that work? Close enough to be a presence in harbours, but when it comes to colonisation they have Brazil, Goa and Macau to contend with and that's far more lucrative than Newfoundland.

    New Orleans
    Here's a question that occurred to me. The city itself is a melting pot, but what about the surrounding area? Is it officially french, a mixture, or is the city itself all the foreign settlement Cahokia allowed?
    I don't think Cahokia could root out french settlers in southern Louisiana even if they wanted to. So I'd say it should be french.

    Disease
    Heal:
    I definitely think that the heal skill should have a larger role in the game. I could certainly imagine making it a trained only skill, but I don't think it would be a knowledge skill. Firstly, it would work very differently than any other knowledge skills, which is its own issue. Secondly, the healing is less about your ability to learn than it is about judgement and accumulated knowledge, it seems more of a wisdom skill than an intelligence one. Estimating dosages, making calls about the course of treatment, and so on. This would particularly apply to this setting, where medicine's not truly a science yet.

    Magic
    I don't remember indicating we should raise the level of the remove disease spell, I do, however, remember discussing the idea that it would only work on specific diseases, so remove disease wouldn't just be a magical panacea, it would be a specific response to a specific disease, and it would not prevent reinfection. It wouldn't be separate spells for each one, but you would learn how to apply it to different diseases somehow.
    I will agree I think the poison one can stay low safely, as poison's a much more specific, immediate danger.

    Reinfection
    Speaking of reinfection, I think an important point would be that individuals who have already overcome a disease or were exposed to it as a child would be either more difficult or impossible to reinfect. On one hand, reinfection is boring for players, and it would be simpler to have the plague just be unable to affect those already recovered. On the other hand, in many cases, reinfection IS possible, just much more difficult.
    I'm thinking of either just saying it's impossible to be reinfected once you overcome a disease, or saying you get a +X bonus to resisting an infection of something you've overcome.
    A note: Overcoming it means surviving it naturally and fighting it off via fortitude save. So, while receiving treatment from a healer would still count as overcoming it, a disease removed by magic wouldn't grant said bonus.

    Zoonoses:
    I don't think that EVERY animal needs to have a list of diseases. Typically zoonoses only occur in animals that live in very close proximity to humans for extended periods of time. I.E. cowpox, bird flu, black plague, and such. That's why Europeans had so many disease the natives were unprepared for, they raised animals, and the natives didn't really hang with animals, other than dogs.
    But even then, I don't think we need to make players roll every time they come in contact with animals or other people. I think we fill out the disease section appropriately, and indicate the sorts of things the players can catch them from, and it'll be fine. I don't think anyone wants to turn crossroads into oregon trail, where you have to worry about dying from dysentery every other week.

    Plague History
    Hmmm... With the change to using magic against disease, I'm not sure this would work as written, your version OR my version. The ability to treat the disease magically would only serve to delay the infection from spreading through the city or town. We would need a preventative.
    Here's a radical idea: What if the Natives invented immunization? I mean, It wouldn't be vaccination, it would work by a different method, but it would accomplish a similar goal. I think the word is inoculation.
    Healers notice that people who lived through the plague and survive are less likely to become infected. The spellcasters could use a variant of the contagion or epidemic spells to create an altered version of the plague in question, one that doesn't actually do damage to the host, though they may show some other symptoms. The weaker version has a lower DC, and it's close enough to the real disease that the body is trained to defend against it. The created disease is just as infectious as the normal version, and it would be spread along the trade routes and into other populations to create an immunization effect. Perhaps the cure-plague could have a specific, highly unusual symptom, that would allow people to identify people infected with the real thing and people with the weakened version.
    Fun fact: They did. Inoculation in various forms was discovered by multiple cultures independently. It's just that the english and french were the first to actually start applying that knowledge en masse.

    It's just that inoculation means you use an actual contagion and it only works for viruses like smallpox. It's a very flawed method, but it works. Only, in 1750 that method has not been adopted yet. It's 48 years left, which leaves the europeans just as devestated by the disease as the natives that survived the 16th century.

    One thing to note however, that the big killers of the time: measles and small pox (and for the natives, chicken pox), are both primarily children's diseases that occasionally flares up as epidemics in immunologically naive populations. Which is to say that most PCs should be survivors of said disease and thus immune. Not being immune sounds like the perfect flaw to take.

    Malaria is the disease that's most likely to afflict the player characters.. Closely followed by dysentery and then... syphilis (and not the "nice" modern version, but rather a horrible disease that truly invoked fear). Maybe Tuberculosis. Plague falls more in the category of plot element than something random that's likely to occur, being infected by it during an epidemic is pretty much a death sentence anyways.

    Cholera is not yet an issue and neither is influenzea.
    Last edited by Aux-Ash; 2014-05-20 at 12:26 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Knights Hospitaller

    (I'm learning a lot of interesting stuff while researching these guys, i never knew they were this awesome.)

    Auberges
    I quite like the name Auberge actually. But i don't know how it sounds in English, i've got the French pronunciation in my head. Enclaves sounds a bit....generic. And remember that the Auberges are the same as the lodges, so those volunteers are manning the Auberges.
    The locations of those Auberges are just the main Auberges. The ones where the leaders of the Langues reside.
    So while the Native Auberge is probably in New Orléans, there are several other Auberges in native territory.

    Moving to the New World
    If the Pope took over Malta in a peacefull way by merging the Knights with the rest of the Church, they wont have much left to do there. Then it's a small step to move to the New World completely. And why spend money tending their holdings in Malta?
    I would also have the interesting effect of the first Euro-Vespuccian nation without any holdings in the Old World. Kinda like the colonial revolters but without an actual revolution.

    Membership
    I'd stick to the 500 Knights of Justice and 3000 Knights of Obedience.
    But you do have point that we should up their numbers. That's easy though: they need sailors, archers, musketeers, cannoneers,... Basically a group of combatants and non-combatants that helps them stay the naval power they are. About 7000 of them maybe?
    Historically the soldiers were called Serjeants-at-arms, can't find anything about the sailors and things like that. We could call all of them Serjeants-at-arms, things might start to get difficult if we make too much kinds of combatants and non-combatants.

    Diseases

    Remove disease
    If you build the spell so that you apply it to diseases you know, does this mean you're planning to add some sort of book for diseases?
    Kinda like a spellbook where you add diseases you know and you are able to learn x diseases per level. And each culture has a list of diseases they automatically have in their book, but they're able to start learning the diseases of other cultures in some way.
    Maybe research in books? Contact with a patient? Getting the disease yourself?

    Heal
    I don't agree actually.
    Measuring dosages and making calls about the treatment is somehting you should learn about, not something you just guess.
    And while currently we don't think of the way they treated diseases back then as a science, it was still something that was studied. And passed on to the next generation. They got the knowledge they had through trial and error, one death or survival at a time.
    Sure they made mistakes that stuck in their culture because they didn't have the techniques we have, but these people weren't stupid.

    That's why i think it's better as a Knowledge skill. People get trained in medicine, they don't just start giving herbs in random quantities and hoping they have effect. They learn the knowledge of the previous generations and apply it. If they're good they expand on that knowledge.

    Hisatsinom

    Spiders
    I wouldn't give a swarm to the animal companion spiders.
    Why not make the mundane spiders into a species native to the Grand Canyon and the Grand Canyon only. They don't venture outside of the canyon, but the magical ones do. They might even be an imported species to help manage the mundane spiders?

    Roads

    Ooh, the Web Below for their road network is a much better idea as giving that name to the city.
    Historically they built roads up to 30ft wide. Maybe in Vespuccia this road network is part of their strength. Cahokian, Fusangese and Mexica traders all have to pay tolls to use the roads, but they gladly do so because it's the safest and fastest way to travel.
    But you need a guide though. The 'Web Below' is not just a name, it's roughly shaped like a web and that makes for some real confusing roads. Without a guide a non-Hisatsinom person travelling the roads would probably get lost really quickly.
    Last edited by Steckie; 2014-05-20 at 02:10 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    The Knights

    A few thoughts

    First of all, I imagine that the Native Auberge is probably more wishful thinking than a proper fully-fledged Branch. There isn't that much of a converted native population, especially since, IIRC, a lot of native converts would practice Catholicism alongside their traditional beliefs, and the Knights probably require a bit more orthodoxy then that.
    I'm not saying the Native Auberge does not exist, but it would have very few members.

    Plus, if Knights of Justice MUST come from Nobility, how does that work with Native societies that don't fit into a european-style model of nobility?

    Another thing to consider, in the middle ages Knights were always nobles because of the immense cost associated with outfitting a Knight. You needed a trained warhorse (Probably more than one), Armor, Weapons, plus various servants, men-at-arms, ect to accompany the Knight into battle, plus a lifetime of training.

    However, that definition of Knight is going to be less relevant in the New World, as are titles of Nobility, especially with a band of neuvo-riche plantation owners, merchant captains, and explorers. Outfitting a modern Knight is a much less expensive affair: A good Horse, a sword and some light armor, a high-quality musket and pistol, plus some powder and shot.
    I also wouldn't hold the Knights to any hard numbers in terms of membership.

    Lets re-evaluate the New Knights a bit.

    Knights of Justice: These are the true Knights, they pledge a lifetime of service to the order, taking vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Usually they come either from Old-World Noble families, or from especially wealthy new-world families.
    These Knights usually bring a considerable amount of wealth with them when they join the Order. They can usually be found captaining ships, working in New Malta, or leading especially important quests. While the requirement that you must be of noble birth isn't technically a rule, you need to bring a considerable amount of wealth with you to become a Knight of Justice.

    Knights of Obedience: These Knights are generally less-wealthy than Knights of Justice. A big difference is that a Knight of Obedience does not donate all their wealth, nor do they automatically pledge a lifetime of service. A Knight of Obedience pledges twenty years of their life to the service of the Knights (Although upon reaching that mark, most of them choose to pledge another twenty). Most adventurer-Knights are going to be Knights of Obedience.

    Knights of Obedience can be seen undertaking quests, manning important lodges, serving as officers on ships, and carrying out important tasks for the Order.
    A knight traveling alone, or with a small adventuring party, is usually a Knight of Obedience.

    Knights of Obedience also make up the backbone of the Order's infantry and marines. They may sometimes serve as common sailors, but are usually being groomed for more important work. As the Order is largely nautical, they have limited need for a large ground force (Maybe a few soldiers to accompany Knights of Justice around, or guard Lodges).

    Traditionally, a Knight of Obedience will spend the first few years of their service as a Marine or Soldier. If they distinguish themselves during that time, they may become an officer, be given some minor administrative or diplomatic role, or given leave to become a Questing Knight, traveling the New World carrying out the Knight's mission.

    Occasionally a Knight of Obedience, upon completing their twenty years, may become a Knight of Justice, upgrading their oath and pledging the rest of their natural life in service to the Order.


    And then there are the "Sworn Men". These are not Knights, although many of them seek to emulate the Knights in their behavior, they swear no oaths besides obedience to the order. They are the common soldiers, sailors, and servants of the Order. Like any soldiers, they are paid a wage for their service and may leave the Knight's service after a few years. For the most part the Sworn Men are drawn from the same population of sailors that crew pirate ships, merchantmen, and the navies of various powers in the new world. It's not unusual for captured Pirates to swear they were serving under duress, and pledge a few years of service to the Knights in exchange for mercy.

    If the Knights expect to run into some major ground conflict, they may raise an army of Sworn Men to serve as ground forces, however this is rare.
    Sworn Men are sometimes referred to as "knights" in reference to the order they serve (as in "A ship full of Knights arrived in boston three days ago)", but individually they are not Knights, and are not treated as such.

    Finally there are Volunteers, not members of the Order at all, simply people who dedicate some time, effort, or resources to the order. These are people who keep the lodges, send reports to the Knights, ect ect.

    So, your standard PC Knight is likely a Knight of Obedience (Knights of Justice are usually too busy to go joining up with random adventuring parties, and Sworn Men are not Knights) who, having served a few years as a marine on a pirate-hunter, has been given leave to either go on a specific quest, or to wander the land defending Christians, slaying monsters, righting wrongs, keeping an eye out for threats, and making sure everybody likes the Order.

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  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Maybe research in books? Contact with a patient? Getting the disease yourself?
    I would say all of the above, as they all provide insight into how to cure the disease. Maybe an idea is that a high level healer who has seen similar diseases (ex. cowpox to smallpox, so can cure cowpox but not small pox) has half effectiveness at healing smallpox, and 1/4 effectiveness at healing a disease they do not recognize?

  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    First of all, I imagine that the Native Auberge is probably more wishful thinking than a proper fully-fledged Branch. There isn't that much of a converted native population, especially since, IIRC, a lot of native converts would practice Catholicism alongside their traditional beliefs, and the Knights probably require a bit more orthodoxy then that.
    I'm not saying the Native Auberge does not exist, but it would have very few members.
    I agree, they would have very few members.
    But the Natives exist and are a lot more powerfull than they were in our history. And the Knights have sworn an oath to protect all christians, so that means they must even protect the newly converted Natives. However those Europeans are a bit arrogant so they don't want those Natives in their Langues and their Auberges. So they create a new Langue for the Natives. They lump all Natives in there regardless of language, etnicity or culture, while the Europeans are grouped by language and nation of origin.
    The price they pay is that the Natives have 1 vote on the council of 12 surrounding the Grand Master. Doesn't give them much power, but the Knights feel like they've upheld their oaths.

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    Plus, if Knights of Justice MUST come from Nobility, how does that work with Native societies that don't fit into a european-style model of nobility?

    Another thing to consider, in the middle ages Knights were always nobles because of the immense cost associated with outfitting a Knight. You needed a trained warhorse (Probably more than one), Armor, Weapons, plus various servants, men-at-arms, ect to accompany the Knight into battle, plus a lifetime of training.
    I'm actually envisioning the Knights of Obedience to be common men that can grow into Knights of Justice if they serve well and are very talented. They would then become minor nobles (a noble is a knight, thus a knight is a noble).
    That would make the converted Natives that become Knights of Justice (a rare occasion) into European-style nobles, and so would their offspring. The Natives probably wouldn't care much about the nobility.

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    Knights of Obedience: These Knights are generally less-wealthy than Knights of Justice. A big difference is that a Knight of Obedience does not donate all their wealth, nor do they automatically pledge a lifetime of service. A Knight of Obedience pledges twenty years of their life to the service of the Knights (Although upon reaching that mark, most of them choose to pledge another twenty). Most adventurer-Knights are going to be Knights of Obedience.
    I prefer making them pledge for life. The Knights are a proud order and any man who isn't willing to spend his life on the order shouldn't bother trying to join them.

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    Occasionally a Knight of Obedience, upon completing their twenty years, may become a Knight of Justice, upgrading their oath and pledging the rest of their natural life in service to the Order.
    Like i stated above, i agree with this.
    I wouldn't let them choose to become a Knight of Justice though, they would have to be handpicked by the Pillier of their Langue orr somebody else on the Sovereign Council.
    This effectively makes them a minor noble.

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    Great stuff about the Sworn Men.
    I like this a lot.
    What would their official name be? Sworn Men sounds a bit generic. I suggested 'Serjeants-at-arms' earlier, but that might resemble the military rank of sergeant too much and make things confusing.
    Squires of Saint Croix?
    Soldiers of St John?


    A few questions:
    1) Female Knights? Historically there are female Knights in several countries, but never a lot of them. Are there some in the Knights Hospitaller?
    2) Saint John the Baptist is the patron saint of the Knights. Do we want to do anything with him?
    3) The 'Right Hand of the Forerunner' is a holy relic in posession of the Knights. It's supposed to be the right hand of St John, the hand he used to baptise Jesus. They also own a splinter of the True Cross and the icon of the Madonna on Mount Philerimos.
    Three holy relics, would they take these to the New World with them? And are we going to do anything special with them?
    4) The Knights had a code that prevented them from raising arms against fellow Christians. Do we want this in the game?
    Attacking a fellow Christian is probably out of the question, but i can't find anything on self-defense, so i don't know how their policy on that was.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Steckie View Post
    A few questions:
    1) Female Knights? Historically there are female Knights in several countries, but never a lot of them. Are there some in the Knights Hospitaller?
    2) Saint John the Baptist is the patron saint of the Knights. Do we want to do anything with him?
    3) The 'Right Hand of the Forerunner' is a holy relic in posession of the Knights. It's supposed to be the right hand of St John, the hand he used to baptise Jesus. They also own a splinter of the True Cross and the icon of the Madonna on Mount Philerimos.
    Three holy relics, would they take these to the New World with them? And are we going to do anything special with them?
    4) The Knights had a code that prevented them from raising arms against fellow Christians. Do we want this in the game?
    Attacking a fellow Christian is probably out of the question, but i can't find anything on self-defense, so i don't know how their policy on that was.
    I'm not sure the "sworn men" would have any official title, they're just soldiers, sailors, or servants to the Order. Internally they're probably just called "Soldiers" or "Sailors" or whatever. "Squires" implies an official title they would not have. You could go with "Servants" "Acolytes"
    You wouldn't say "Select fifty Sworn Men and sail for Cuba", you would say "Select fifty soldiers and sail for Cuba". The term "Sworn men" or "Knight's Men" is probably an unofficial term used by outsiders. As in "I met a Knight's Man in New Amsterdam who told me XYZ".

    Another term that might work is "Maltese". Since the Knights don't operate out of Malta anymore. You could say "I met a Maltese Sailor in New Amsterdam".

    They're probably evenly split between people who believe it's a great honor to serve the Order, and mariners who see the Knights as just another flag to fly under with wages that spend as well as anybody's.

    Female Knights, in the interest of improving game play opportunities, I'm going to say yes.
    The Relics are probably powerful magical items, I imagine that the Knights kept them, although if they were lost somehow in the New World (perhaps a Link Miscalculation?) That could be prime plot-fodder, as the Knights travel around questing for their lost relics.

    As for "Don't raise arms against a fellow christian", I think we may need to No True Scotsman that. For example, the Knights are battling pirates and rogue inquisitors.

    The Oath remains, but with a decent understanding that it only applies to "Real" Christians. Pirates, Brigands, Power-Mad Rogue Inquisitors and the like are fair game (power mad inquisitors still in the church's good graces are only to be decapitated and/or disemboweled under the most extreme circumstances).

    Plus, the Knights may take it upon themselves to defend Christians from other Christians if need be. They try to stay above politics and preserves lives, but I could see them intervening to protect civilians on both sides during a war between the Spanish and the English.

    I would wrap it into their role as Defenders of Christendom.
    Last edited by BRC; 2014-05-20 at 04:24 PM.

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

    Maltese.... not sure, that would give the impression they're from Malta. And that the center of the order still is on Malta, wich isn't true.
    Maybe Oathless? The ones that work for the Knights but didn't take any oaths. Even a chambermaid on Saint Croix is an Oathless.

    All the other stuff sounds pretty good. Female Knights would probably receive a lot of discrimination and mysoginist remarks, but as long as they do their job right they are Knights.
    Well, Dames actually, that's how female Knights are normally called. Chevalière if you want to go French. Or Equitissa if you want to go Latin.

    That brings me to another point: what language do the Knights use?
    Historically they were very deeply rooted in French language and customs, but the times have changed and there are a lot more nationalities in the order. I wouldn't go with French anymore.
    Maltese is a seperate language, we could use that. Every Knight that joins the order knows his own language but is obliged to learn Maltese and Latin as well. Latin to use during religious duties. And Maltese to use during every other duty. By using that language you can basically communicate with every Knight, his origin doesn't matter.

    I've mentioned earlier that there are two bioluminescent bays on Saint Croix.
    The largest, Salt River Bay, seems like a nice place to put the headquarters of the order. Coincidentally it's also a place where members of a Columbus expedition came ashore during one of his trips.
    There's an idea i have for this bay: the Knights have somehow (south vespuccian biomancers? Cahokian druids?) been able to breed the creatures that have the bioluminescense for their own uses.
    The fortress they've built in Salt River Bay (needs a new name) is a huge stone fortress that glows in the dark, they can see most enemies coming even when it's dark.
    They've added the bioluminescense to their ships. The captain has a special magic item that gives him the power to illuminate his ship. Every time a Knights ship goes into battle, they light up. This is especially intimidating during night attacks.
    It has happened that a watchman stares out in the dark, feeling a bit bored until suddenly a huge ship lights up. 10 seconds later a dozen other ships simulatneously light up as well. Then the cannonfire starts. And the Knights use an onboard trebuchet or catapult to fire a fluid that contains bioluminescense onto the fortress they're attacking, temporarily lighting up the whole place in an eerie glow. Finally the landing parties come ashore and start killing the defenders.
    It's mostly intimidation, but it's pretty usefull as well.

    Other ideas:
    Bioluminescent torches?
    The cross on their chest is made in a bioluminescent fabric, when they go into combat it starts glowing? This would work better if their tabards become black again instead of the red they've adopted.
    Last edited by Steckie; 2014-05-21 at 06:21 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by AtlanteanTroll View Post
    Just a general question of sorts, how well do you think this world would play with E6?
    You know, you might be onto something there!

    So far, everything we've designed has been done with Lv. 20 as the capstone, but if we're going for gritty realism and a relatively low-magic setting that doesn't conflict too much with actual history, then the E6 (epic at Lv 6) would be an elegant solution. There would be no need to worry about high-level spells changing history too much, because they wouldn't even exist.

    Plus, E6 worked pretty well for Mangles' Stralia setting, if you're familiar with it: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...etting-(PEACH)

    I guess the only problems are that we'd have to redesign/shorten a lot of classes we've designed, and a lot of monsters would have impossibly high CRs as a result.

    ...well OK, now that I think about it, those are actually some pretty severe changes we'd have to make. So maybe we just leave 20 as the definition of "epic". But I DO like the idea of someone running an e6 variant-campaign in the Crossroads universe!

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    Disease
    Inoculation
    Figures Wikipedia wouldn't mention the Native Americans coming up with it.
    That would reinforce my idea's validity. The contagion-created disease would spread among the population along the same vectors the normal one would, infecting everyone and letting their bodies fight it off naturally without actually threatening their lives, though it would probably still be somewhat unpleasant. The magic contagion creates immunity ahead of the waves of plague, as long as it could be moved along fast enough. The process of developing the mystical version of the plague seems like it would take some time, but it could certainly be accomplished considering the density of Vespuccian spellcasters.
    Overall, I think it would be a very interesting change to history, it would explain the pre-contact population levels of the Vespuccian heartland and the reduced impact of imported diseases on the east coast and through mesoamerica.

    Remove Disease
    I wasn't thinking personal experience or a separate 'book' of spells. Honestly, I hadn't really figured out the exact details of how it would be handled. I don't want it to be that you just know all of them, but I also don't want you to have to a spell known slot on each distinct version, either.
    Hmmm... this is spinning off a tangent of ideas. I shall put them below!

    Reinfection
    I'm not sure if adding axises of contagion/severity is strictly necessary. I mean, we're probably getting too deep into the details of catching diseases at that point. I think we should be fine with a blanket rule regarding reinfection.
    I think it would be easiest to say you get a sizable, but not impossible-to-overcome, bonus to saves against a disease you've already overcome. +4?
    But then... Maybe it would be easier to go the other way? I mean, by 1750 everyone's been exposed to the main diseases already, there wouldn't be any more rolling plagues that are yet to come. Perhaps being naive to the disease would instead inflict a penalty to saves against it.

    Heal
    Yes, you have to learn the principles, but remember, this is an era before really precise measurements were possible. Particularly using natural ingredients, which vary widely in potency and concentrations. And it's not all about medicine, either. You need to make judgement calls constantly when caring for a patient long-term, and even first aid is often a matter of judgement. There are rules to follow, yes, but there's a LOT of play in those rules. Even in modern medicine, it's about keen observation and making decisions, and I'm certain it would only have been more important in these days.
    I still say it's wisdom, but making it trained only would certainly be a good change.

    Columbia
    Portugal
    The Caribbean is more than 1000 miles from Newfoundland. From the islands Portugal will control, it's probably closer to 1500.
    I'm just saying, the Newfoundland fisheries are pretty much out of the European game at this point, thanks to the Vinlandrs.

    New Orleans
    Well, if it's a mound builder city they're gonna need their own farmers and laborers. Perhaps the area should be mixed. I doubt the french citizenry would be too eager to help build mounds.

    Knights Hospitaller
    Auberges
    Maybe we should clarify the language a bit. A sizable fort run by actual knights (probably knights of obedience), would be an auberge. A lodge is a volunteer house that has food, equipment, and shelter for knights on the road, and serves as a relay station to send messenger birds along to proper auberges.

    Moving to the New World
    I thought it was more that the knights joined up with the papal state. The pope never took over, they just lent their support to his military campaigns. And sort of became his naval force. I think the knights would remain on Malta, though they would likely yield their other holdings, simply out of interest in maintaining their tradition. Malta itself probably wouldn't be that big of an operation anymore, but they would need at least a little bit of a presence in the old world to continue to recruit more noble membership.

    Membership
    So, 500 knights of justice, 3000 knights of obedience, and 7000 'enlisted'. Alright, gettin' better.
    I like the term 'Maltese' coming to mean people associated with the knights. it would probably be unofficial, though.
    Officially... I think they would probably just be referred to as sailors, soldiers, cannoneers, and so on. Though, I do like the term 'Sworn Men'. to refer to them as a whole, or perhaps more officially 'Sworn Men of St. John.'
    I think would could make the whole knight of obedience-> Knight of Justice process merit based, if only for the sake of being able to make it a proper prestige class.
    Female knights... I think it would be awesome to see these characters, but I'm not sure if it would be historically accurate to have them actually see combat. I have found stuff about females being admitted to knightly orders, but I'm not sure if they actually suited up and rode out.
    Here's a question: What's their policy on non-humans? I mean, they may not be as rabidly anti-magic as the inquisition, but would they accept a witchblood, or a trollkin? What about native nonhumans, like tuniit or spirit-born, or even little folk.

    Relics
    I think the relics could certainly be powerful artifacts! I don't quite know what they would actually do, but they have all the makings of impressive ancient relics.

    Knights v. Christians
    More or less as BRC said, I think they wouldn't aggressively attack any christian people, but they wouldn't be against fighting them in self defense or in the interest of protecting other groups of christian people.

    Language
    I dunno, in such a case being a knight would require you to speak three languages, meaning a minimum level of 8. Well, unless we make learning latin a feat or something.

    Bio-luminescence
    I don't think they would have gotten to breeding them or modifying them, but they certainly could be harnessed. I could imagine there being vials of the glowing water providing light for the fortress, or working as torches, and I also like the idea of 'painting' land targets with a trebuchet-shot full of the glowing water.
    However, I think some of the other stuff is going a little overboard. A glowing castle would just make for a great target from the sea, and it would actually make it harder to spot other ships approaching in the dark. Glowing ships also provide clear targets. And the glow of the little cross on the tabard would be pretty soft, like candle-light, not very useful.

    Hisatsinom
    Spiders
    Hmm. I dunno, that still means they would have control over the spiders while in the canyon.
    Maybe the two don't interact. Maybe the little spiders just make webs and can be controlled by certain spells, and the big guys are just semi-domesticated tarantulas. Maybe the big ones make the anchor chords the little ones build off and reinforce. Maybe the big guys are divine in nature, sacred animals that are a gift to the hisatsinom, but have nothing to do with the web-spinners.

    Roads
    I don't think the road system would be spider web shaped in any major way, it would just be an organic development of roads through the area. It just kinda sorta resembles a web if you look at it right, and the name followed.
    I think the roads would have initially arisen as normal roads, but when they started this brisk trade business between the three empires, they started charging tolls for the roads. I don't think there would be guides, the roads would probably be relatively easy to navigate, but I think there should be the option to hire some native escorts to ensure you reach your destination. With all this trade traffic over easily-identified routes, bandits could easily be a problem.

    City
    Still could use a name for this place.
    AHA! Researching the battle of horseshoe bend, I think I found the native name for the place: Tohopeka. It was the name of the native camp there at the battle, and I can't find any other name for it.

    Spell Versions
    Well, here's the promised tangent.
    We're going to be making three different spell books at the moment, so this is an opportunity to rework some aspects of spells. This was inspired by the remove disease spell, but I think it could also be applied to other things, too.
    So, taking remove disease as an example. You would learn the remove disease spell, but there would be different versions that apply to different diseases. When you first learn it, you get one. Cholera, for example. If you want to learn the one for Typhoid, you would have to find a text that describes it or learn it from someone else who knows it, the same way you would normally add spells to your spell book/prayer book, though they wouldn't take up spell known slots.
    This could easily be applied to other spells, as well, and could be used to describe cultural differences between spells. Like, one culture's version may do more damage, but the other culture's lasts longer, or has a rider effect of some sort. Some cultures just may have access to better versions of certain spells due to increased research on the subject. Like Cahokian ironwood, or Hisatsinom wind walls. We could even roll a mechanic into it that allows you to upgrade a spell to the next level. So, there's no longer summon monster I-IX spells, you'd learn I, then when you got the chance to learn a new spell level, you could upgrade it and count the lower-level options as lesser versions, learning a new spell in the old slot instead.

    E6
    I think e6 would be a perfectly valid way to play this, but I think we should continue to stick with the classic E20 for the basis of the game.

    EDIT: I am SO GLAD for the autosave feature in the new layout. I was done with everything but the Hisatsinom stuff when I accidentally closed the window. That would have been thoroughly unpleasant...
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    You know, you might be onto something there!

    So far, everything we've designed has been done with Lv. 20 as the capstone, but if we're going for gritty realism and a relatively low-magic setting that doesn't conflict too much with actual history, then the E6 (epic at Lv 6) would be an elegant solution. There would be no need to worry about high-level spells changing history too much, because they wouldn't even exist.

    Plus, E6 worked pretty well for Mangles' Stralia setting, if you're familiar with it: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...etting-(PEACH)

    I guess the only problems are that we'd have to redesign/shorten a lot of classes we've designed, and a lot of monsters would have impossibly high CRs as a result.

    ...well OK, now that I think about it, those are actually some pretty severe changes we'd have to make. So maybe we just leave 20 as the definition of "epic". But I DO like the idea of someone running an e6 variant-campaign in the Crossroads universe!
    When everything is all said and done and the project is finished, I'd definitely find it fun to participate. (As either a player of GM.)

    And to arbitrarily weigh in on Heal, I think it's much better suited to being a Wisdom based skill. As Admiral Squish said, the art of healing really isn't a science yet. Plus, the way someone from Fusang, someone from Cahokia, and a Columbian immigrant from Europe are all going to take wildly different approaches. Approaches, that frequently, will resemble nothing like our current medicine.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Spell Versions
    I like this idea!

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

    Hey guys, just wanna drop a link here, I've posted the very barest-bones version of the Runecaster over in the homebrew forum, I hope you'll all swing over and weigh in.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Knights Hospitaller

    Membership
    Merit-based promotions will probably be easier to use ingame. Every Knight starts out as a Knight of Obedience, the best ones become Knights of Justice eventually. Do you still want them to become minor nobles when promoted to Knight of Justice?
    We could still have Knights that come from nobility back in Malta.
    I like Sworn Men of St John better than just Sworn Men as an official title. The full title will probably only get used on official occasions.
    Non-humans: as long as they're Christian and they are good enough to become Knights, i don't think they will object much to including a non-human. They will probably discriminate, make racist remarks and be complete ***** about it, but in the end they are forced by their oaths to protect fellow Christians and to let fellow Christians that meet the criteria join the Order.

    Language
    What if we give every character that has a Papal education (monks, priests, Knights, Inquisitors,...) Latin as a bonus language?
    After all, in 1750 Latin is the official language in the church. All masses are done in Latin, even those for commoners. All Europeans will probably have a base understanding of spoken Latin. And if you get a Papal education you will need to learn Latin so you can perform masses.

    Bioluminescence
    You probably have a point about the fortress and the ships.
    Perhaps it's just the Maltese Cross on the sails of the ships can glow when the captain activates it? And the glow of the Maltase cross on the armor can be as bright as we want it to be.
    This would mostly be intimidation though, not much use beyond that. If the Maltese Cross lights up, it means things are going to get dangerous.
    The Knights are an army of badasses, they have a great reputation, they're well trained and they will beat you down if they feel you deserve it.
    If they light up their cross it means they're about to show you why they have that reputation.

    Oh, and while i'm on the subject: i'd love for the Knights to be combat pragmatists. Sure they have their knightly oaths, but they will stab you in the back if it will give them an edge. Their main oath is defending all Christians. If that means doing a pre-emptive surprise attack on a pirate's nest, so be it.
    I'd also love them to be famous for their nightly attacks. That would fit great with the bioluminescence. They are great fighters during the day, but facing them during the night is almost a certain death warrant. The last thing you see is a Maltese Cross flaring up, and a sword reflecting that light coming straight at you.

    Hisatsinom

    Spiders
    Is it that bad that the Hisatsinom can partly control the spider swarms in the Grand Canyon? It's only one place where they are that powerfull. The mundane spiders don't leave the canyon, not even the magical ones can force them out.
    That would make the Hisatsinom very powerfull inside the Grand Canyon, but everybody around them knows that and avoids the Grand Canyon if they can.

    Spell Versions

    About the cultural spells: are you going to put a limit on the amount of cross-culture spells one character can take? Savvy players will quickly find a way to get all the most powerfull versions in their spellbook.
    If a wizard wants to cast a Remove Disease: Cholera spell, does he have to prepare that specific spell in advance?
    What effect will this have on spontaneous casters?

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    If a wizard wants to cast a Remove Disease: Cholera spell, does he have to prepare that specific spell in advance?
    What effect will this have on spontaneous casters?
    My understanding is that there is one healing spell, but it is only effective against diseases you have encountered or have sufficient knowledge to counter. So you start off with Cure Disease: Cholera, and at the next opportunity, you can gain another disease, say Typhoid. So you can now combat two diseases. At least that is my understanding of this subject.

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    I could definetly see the Knights as combat pragmatists. The typical Knight is much more likely to be a swarthy cutlass-and-pistol wielding Marine or a frontiersman than a towering figure with heavy armor and a greatsword. They're not used to glorious pitched battles on open plains so much as brutal ambush attacks out in the wilderness.

    The Knights of Legend may have rode boldy towards their enemies, banners waving in the air. But the Knights who survive to TELL the legends are only doing that because they've got a hired band of Cahokian Sharpshooters hiding in the bushes.

    as for Bioluminescence during Nighttime Attacks, That is an awesome image.

    I could see the Knights getting a ship into position, then lighting up the cross on the sail. Perhaps they even magically enhance the light, using it to blind their night-adjusted foes.

    Or just as an intimidation tactic.

    You're on watch on your pirate ship, you think you see a ship out in the gloom.

    Suddenly, three Crosses light up, illuminating three ships with guns trained on you.
    The Knights are here, it is already too late.


    What do Knight's do with captured pirates? Hang them? Turn them over to the authorities (For hanging), imprison them? Sentence them to years of hard labor on St. Croix?
    Last edited by BRC; 2014-05-23 at 08:41 AM.

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

    Sorry for the long silence; I'm having a devil of a time keeping up with this thread, now that I'm forcing myself not to look at it while I'm at work.

    Looks like there have been a TON of new developments while I was gone. I feel like there's not even that much to add, honestly. You guys are so smart and so well-informed on so many subjects, I can hardly think of an idea of my own to throw on the pile. But I'll weigh in on the major points.

    Knights Hospitaller
    I'm really glad that someone came up with this idea, because I was honestly worried that since the only Church organization we'd fleshed out was the Scarred Monks, that the Church would be painted as a major villain in this setting. Which is something we definitely don't want! Kudos to Steckie for bringing them up!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Augusta View Post
    Maryland would be a great place to set up (I can't believe I didn't think of this before). It is an English colony for Catholics.
    Good point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Augusta View Post
    New Orleans could be the Lange for Christianized natives, as the city is a blend of Euro and Native culture.
    Ooh, good point! I concur! I'm actually surprised that Christianized natives hadn't come up yet.

    Spanish Chesapeake Colonies
    While this would have been cool, I think that the crowd is right: the garrison would be completely surrounded by the English, difficult to protect, and Spain wouldn't have the outrageous wealth it was accustomed to in our own timeline to support them from afar. Maybe if Crossroads took place about a century earlier, the PCs could've played a role in its founding and growth...

    Hisatsinom City
    I am loving this idea to death, and I'd be happy to try my hand at drawing it up, if someone wants to use MS Paint to tell me where all the different neighborhoods are. (But maybe first I should finish the "Aztatlan in the 1750s" map that Aux-Ash sent me a writeup for a few months ago, huh? )

    Speaking of maps, I've been thinking that I may have to redraw the Tuniitaq map. Nouvelle France should be on the Columbia map, and I feel like Mammutcha would be one of the "unaffiliated" areas. Plus, where does Novorassi fit in, since it's neither Chinese nor European nor Native? (Oh, and I'm working on a rough map of all the five major regions plus the unaffiliated ones in MS paint. I'll let you guys know when it's done.)

    I really like the idea of a North Vespuccian Silk Road! I suspect that their use of silk would strain their relations with Fusang, but they still might want to trade for the other's particular brand of silk. Is silkworm thread very different from spider-silk? Would one of them be stronger or more durable, or less beautiful when woven, than the other?

    I totally want to play a wizard with a sentient, extremely-cuddly tarantula familiar, who has absolutely no idea why it seems to freak out everybody else.

    "The Web Below" makes more sense as a name for their road system, I agree. Maybe that could be the name the call their own nation? If they're used to roads, then travelling beyond them would be like walking off the edge of the world. It would be Where the Sidewalk Ends, in a literal sense!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steckie View Post
    Without a guide a non-Hisatsinom person travelling the roads would probably get lost really quickly.
    I like this idea, too.

    Heal as a Skill
    I like where you're headed with this. And you're right, Heal is pretty useless as it's written in the books. I like the idea of rolling Heal to learn more about diseases, and the idea that it should be trained-only.

    Your spells look good, too! I think 8th level might be too high for remove disease, though. It's one of the most useful and in-demand skills a spellcaster could learn, so they'd learn it early. Plus, 8th-level characters are too rare to change the course of history like we need them to in order for this setting to work. But I definitely want to give all three of your spells a full writeup.

    Palanan is right, your ideas for more-dangerous diseases might require a whole subsystem. I'm willing to donate my time and energy to making that happen, but we want to be careful with it: diseases are not fun for players to have, and forcing them to constantly deal with them, while more realistic, could easily bog down a campaign in minutiae of calculating infection and immunity. Still, I think it's worth discussing in a serious way!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mith View Post
    If you haven't seen it, or have a really good description of what to do, the spell fails, and maybe at most, buys the infected momentary relief. This means that there is a drive for expanding ones grasp of the healing arts both for a Heal skill as well as the spell itself.
    What if your ability to cast healing spells was tied in some way to your talent with the Heal skill? It would make sense that a wizard who faints at the sight of blood wouldn't be able to heal you as effectively as a shaman who has decades of experience with medicine and the healing arts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mith View Post
    How about drawing up a of contagion for diseases so that some diseases (like the cold) have high contagion rate, but a lower risk, while other conditions are always a risk after first infection, while others are more of a catch once, low survival rate, but afterwards there will be no problems afterwards. So you'll have two axis: Contagion, and Severity.
    Sounds like the basis of a disease subsystem to me! Though BRC (I think it was BRC?) was right when he pointed out that players totally would weaponize their diseases. Then again, that's not impossible with the current system, either, so we wouldn't really be bringing up anything new.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mith View Post
    Do we have Skinwalkers in this setting?
    We do, in fact. They're a prestige class for Native characters. But there doesn't appear to be a link to them in the main page...

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Disease
    Heal:
    I definitely think that the heal skill should have a larger role in the game. I could certainly imagine making it a trained only skill, but I don't think it would be a knowledge skill. Firstly, it would work very differently than any other knowledge skills, which is its own issue. Secondly, the healing is less about your ability to learn than it is about judgement and accumulated knowledge, it seems more of a wisdom skill than an intelligence one. Estimating dosages, making calls about the course of treatment, and so on. This would particularly apply to this setting, where medicine's not truly a science yet.
    As for "wis-based vs. int-based", why don't you as Mom for her opinion in the matter? She's been a nurse for almost twice as long as either of us has been alive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steckie View Post
    As for zoonosis, it's still a big problem now and it was a big problem in 1750. Maybe for every animal that gets (re)designed we add a short list of common diseases they carry?
    I've actually been thinking that we should redo a lot of the Animals of the Americas list to give them actual Pathfinder statblocks. That would be a HUGE project, but I guess it'll have to happen eventually. Anyone who wants to help out with that is welcome to try their hand!

    Fusang
    I'm actually a little sad to see the conversation on Fusang come to an end (at least for now), since I did all this research on cool places for the players to visit while they're in the neighborhood. It's not really much related to cities or settlements, mostly interesting locations like Mount St. Helens and Crater Lake.

    [This post is pretty enormous already, so I'll just post a list of the locations-of-interest after I get back from camping.]

    By the way, before we move completely off Fusang, we never decided on a very important detail: where are the borders of Fusang's provinces, and what are the primary industries of each? I feel like it would be impractical for them to just follow the straight-line borders of the modern states of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California, and kind of arbitrary besides. So where do we draw the new borders, and how many provinces are there?

    Mavakith, do you have any thoughts on this?
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  20. - Top - End - #140
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    As for "wis-based vs. int-based", why don't you as Mom for her opinion in the matter? She's been a nurse for almost twice as long as either of us has been alive.




    By the way, before we move completely off Fusang, we never decided on a very important detail: where are the borders of Fusang's provinces, and what are the primary industries of each? I feel like it would be impractical for them to just follow the straight-line borders of the modern states of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California, and kind of arbitrary besides. So where do we draw the new borders, and how many provinces are there?

    Mavakith, do you have any thoughts on this?
    Well, I've read your whole post (as my lurking self often does here) and I have two things to respond to!

    1: You and Squish are brothers? I had no idea!

    2: Well for borders, we could go a natural route. For me, I tend to look at the map and break it up into chunks. Then I figure which chunks they would definately have, and which chunks they would definately not have, and which chunks would be contested or go either way. The border goes along the middle of a contested region, or roll/fluff which area has which region and draw the border to suit it.

    Chunks could be anything from mountain regions, to the border along a river, to various towns and the surrounding area, forests, plains, ect. Think of it as a small scale risk board, and... That would be cool...a Crossroads Risk set....

    Also, my map maker within me is screaming to come back out...we should really chat sometime.
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  21. - Top - End - #141
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Okay, just a quick post before I go do errands, I'll be back with a full post later in the day.

    Oh, yeah, me and superdave are brothers. I always figured it was obvious. I suppose I never outright said superdave is my brother, but I do refer to him as bro and mention talking to him offline periodically. But yeah, definitely related.

    I just posted some detailed write ups of some of the crossroads system changes over in homebrew! I finished 'em last night and took the time to post 'em today. I'd love for you guys to swing by and check 'em out!
    Subjective Alignment
    Value Points/Haggling
    Character Points (Gear Reduction) I could actually use some input on this one, I'd like to be able to replace armor/shield/weapon enhancement bonuses, but I haven't figured out how to do that while dealing with the scaling price of effective enhancement bonuses. I would love to be able to mechanically encourage players to get weapons with special abilities rather than enhancement bonuses, but I also don't want to halve the total price of the weapon.

    Runecaster rough draft is still up, too, I just want to be sure I've got the solid foundation before going further into the glyphs.
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  22. - Top - End - #142
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Knights Hospitaller

    I'm really loving where we're going with the Knights and the way they fight.
    These guys are a lawfull good organisation that have sworn to protect the Faith and they will get their hands dirty to do just that. They will stab a pirate in the back without warning. They will set fire to a house to smoke them out. They will use the bioluminescense on their ships to blind their foes (the equivalent of throwing sand in their eyes).
    It's very refreshing to see an honorable knightly order whose members are very pragmatic while fighting.

    I also like them having a pistol and cutlass while fighting on a ship, but i would also have them keep their traditional heavy armor, sword and shield to fight on land.

    Captured pirates: I imagine they will hang all heathen pirates and the captain/officers of Christian pirateships while the crew is either forced to work on plantations of the Knights or conscripted into the crew of a Knights ship.

    Hisatsinom

    Vespuccian Silk Road
    I imagine it starts somewhere around the San Fransisco bay (don't remember the Fusangese name), goes into Tohopeka and from there it branches out towards the south, east and north. Fusangese silk traders buy stands on the Tohopeka silk market at ridiculously high prices for just the chance to compete with the spider silk. They still make huge profits on their own silk, despite the costs and they bring back spider silk to Fusang.

    Things to do: names for both kinds of silk.
    Maybe Ongtupqa Silk for the spider kind.
    For the Fusangese Silk name i can't think of anything.

    Properties of both kinds of silk, wich one is used for what? Strenghts/weaknesses?

    The Web Below
    This could definetly work as the name for their nation.
    Let's sum up a bit: we have the Hisatsinom people living in The Web Below (do we translate this name?) with Tohopeka as it's capital.
    They build huge cities in Cliffs, trade silk, are the distribution point for the Vespuccian Silk Road and due to their huge road system they're a Crossroads for a lot of other trade going through the continent. They're also famous for their Wind Mages.
    They're fiercely independant but constantly courted by Cahokia to join their league. The Fusangese would love to get their hands on the whole of the Silk trade and the Triple Alliance is probably keeping war parties close to the borders to make sure the other two don't try anthing funny and perhaps to do an invasion themselves if there's an opportunity.
    The result is that those three big players are balanced and played out against each other by the Hisatsinom in order to keep the statues quo. And to keep the trade flowing.

    Sounds like a great region to play a game in.

    The Great Basin

    We still haven't got anything for this place.

  23. - Top - End - #143
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    So, first, I apologize for not being able to weight in properly yesterday like I promised, but I think you're gonna like what I was doing instead.

    Hunter Class
    So, in a fit of inspiration, I sat down and cranked out no less than 50 tactics options. I also took the opportunity to reformat the table, and now I've reposted the whole dang thing, and it's DONE. I mean, there might still be some editing to do and balance that needs tweaking, but it's actually a complete class with all the options finished. Took me long enough...


    I'll be writing the full post up through the day.
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  24. - Top - End - #144
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    If we want different properties for spider silk versus silk worm silk, maybe the spider silk is a stronger material, but it does not work well for fashionable items like clothing, but works wonders as rope and durable fabric to be worked with (parachutes anyone?)

  25. - Top - End - #145
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Originally Posted by Aux-Ash
    [The Portuguese] have [Caribbean] colonies not too far away, doesn't that work? Close enough to be a presence in harbours, but when it comes to colonisation they have Brazil, Goa and Macau to contend with and that's far more lucrative than Newfoundland.
    --Except the Portuguese don't have Brasil, because the biomancers blocked them out. Yes? That was my impression, that all of South America was closed off, and thus the Portuguese never developed the system of donatory captaincies that led to the development of pre-independence Brazil.

    So Goa and Macau will be all the more important, and the Portuguese will also have their string of trading posts (feitorias) down the West African coast, where a Luso-African mixed culture has been developing for centuries. If Portugal no longer has access to the Grand Bank, then they'll likely have no interest or foothold in the New World whatsoever. If they have a few islands, that's great, but those would be a trivial sideline at best.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    That's why i think it's better as a Knowledge skill. People get trained in medicine, they don't just start giving herbs in random quantities and hoping they have effect. They learn the knowledge of the previous generations and apply it. If they're good they expand on that knowledge.
    In general I agree with this, and I'd say there should be some synergy with Knowledge (nature) to reflect a study of botany and medicinal herbs.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Figures Wikipedia wouldn't mention the Native Americans coming up with it.
    One of countless, countless reasons not to rely on Wikipedia. If I'm researching history, I want to read books written by professional historians with a lifetime of experience analyzing primary documents--not some random anonymous person who did a little "research" and wrote up a wiki article.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Female knights... I think it would be awesome to see these characters, but I'm not sure if it would be historically accurate to have them actually see combat. I have found stuff about females being admitted to knightly orders, but I'm not sure if they actually suited up and rode out.
    I'm pretty sure female crusaders did, in fact, see combat. I have an article on that I'll need to dig up.

    As for historical accuracy, I think we can bend this one to allow for female characters having an equally active role. My personal approach to this would be to acknowledge them as exceptionally rare--but by the same token, they'll be exceptional enough to win themselves a place in the order.

    Originally Posted by Mith
    If we want different properties for spider silk versus silk worm silk, maybe the spider silk is a stronger material, but it does not work well for fashionable items like clothing, but works wonders as rope and durable fabric to be worked with (parachutes anyone?)
    I may have missed this somewhere above, but how are we training the spiders to produce their webbing so tidily and in such great volume?

    There have been a number of attempts to cultivate spiders for silk-farming, and they've usually ended up with one large, well-fed spider in the corner of the depopulated enclosure. If you've ever put a dozen spiders together in a bottle, you'll understand the chaotic scene of free-for-all chitinous carnage.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Oh, yeah, me and superdave are brothers. I always figured it was obvious.
    Not remotely. It's quite the surprise for me.

  26. - Top - End - #146
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    MATERIAL
    Still got all these things that could use more review:
    Hunter The fully-completed version of one of the big, common classes of the setting.
    Runecaster Which is still mostly just me trying to puzzle out the details of the runecasting system before getting too far into it.
    Character Points the gear-reduction system that replaces 'standard' adventure gear.
    Value Points A full description of the value points that replace gold.
    Subjective Alignment A description of how alignment works in the crossroads setting and how it deals with spells.

    Heal
    I did actually consult mom on the question, and she supports the wisdom-based idea. At the time European medicine was still on the miasma theory. Most medical knowledge is matter of personal experience or second-hand from a master physician to a student.
    so, trained only, synergy with knowledge nature. Maybe we could add something to survival to let you gather herbs to replace medical supplies?

    Knights
    Membership
    You know, I don't know if they would become nobles. I mean, being a knight means oath of chastity. They (at least most) wouldn't have heirs to pass a title along to. You serve for life, so it's not like you're gonna retire at some point. I think the knights might make it an official nobility, though those granted it wouldn't have any real authority or power, particularly in the new world where nobility is becoming less and less important.

    Sworn Men of St. John sounds pretty good.

    There certainly are myths of unusual individuals becoming knights, such as the one with a dog's head, and one of a giant if memory serves. I suspect these gus would make cool NPCs.

    Language
    Hmm. I could see some sort of papal education feat. Probably could even be a culture feat for European (continental). Grants latin, and literacy in the latin alphabet, and a significant bonus to know (religion).

    Bioluminescence
    ...Okay, I gotta admit, lighting up the sails/tabard sounds pretty awesome. However, I don't think it's a bioluminescence thing. The bioluminescence is a soft, otherworldly glow. I think such a glow would work well for lighting aboard their ships and in the New Malta fortresses. But the light you're describing is too bright and too controlled. I think that would best be represented as a light spell enchanted into the tabard/sails. Maybe they can even flash it to disorient opponents.
    Imagine a dark battlefield. suddenly a cross flashes as a sword comes down and takes first blood. Then another, and another, like flashes of lighting, each burst of light illuminating a snapshot of a knight coming in for the kill. How many are there? Where are they? A soldier panics, and turns to run, just as a cross lights up in front of them, gleaming off the raised blade of a knight...

    Pragmatic Combat
    Well, I could certainly see the advantages of such an outlook. I think there would still be some rules regarding conduct in combat, but I imagine all their time in the new world could have relaxed the old world standards a bit.

    Class
    We should probably start discussing the class itself at this point.
    Prerequisites: You need to speak Latin (Conversational? Fluent?), you need to be sworn to the order, which might be a feat, and you need to be Good-aligned.
    Benefits: You get a Maltese Falcon companion/familiar/thing, a Tabard of St. John...
    I'm thinking the class would also have a code, like the paladin code, with actual rules spelled out.
    I also think a knight character could start as a sworn man, and become a knight of obedience when they enter the class, then upgrade to knight of justice at the halfway point.
    Should there be different kinds of knights represented? Possibly priests, warriors, and sailors, or maybe going with the classical types, military, healing, and evangelism.

    Hisatsinom
    Spiders
    Well, if we make the spiders limited to the canyon, then no other hisatsinom group will be able to make the spider silk, and I don't think one city is gonna be able to develop the techniques for textiles like this all by themselves. It's a pretty big concept.
    Okay, I got it. The normal spiders can't produce anchor cables strong enough to span the canyons. The darwin's bark spider makes the strongest spiderweb in the world, and their webs will sometimes span up to 25 M, but the canyons are hundreds of feet across. The big spiders are magical in nature, and produce the thick, super-strong cables that the smaller spiderwebs are built off of. In exchange, they get a share of the food from the webs built off their cables. Once the main cables are done, the little spiders maintain them with a protective sheathe of their own silk.
    The priests use a special spell (or version of a spell) to summon/control a swarm of the little spiders. While controlling them, they can control each spider's movement and spinning. They can use this to harvest the fibers from them or to simply have them move in certain ways to create different kings of textiles. They will often use the cables from the big spiders as a core or structure for the little ones to work over.
    In the cities, the little spiders just live all over. The big spiders are closer to the humans, more like cats. And I definitely imagine a hisatsinom character with a cuddly tarantula.

    Great Basin
    I was imagining that the Hisatsinom culture would more-or-less supplant the native (southwest) culture, but further research indicated that the ancient pueblo peoples existed pretty much all throughout the great basin area, too. Should they occupy both areas? Should the Hisatsinom region be sandwiched between the two?

    Silk
    Okay, I found out, with a little research, there are exactly two garments made of pure spider silk in the world, silk milked from golden orb weaver spiders in Madagascar. The golden orb family make silk with a natural golden hue, and it's quite lovely in fabric. Very shiny. It's a different kind of sheen than silk, though. The silk itself is a very different animal, however. A floor-length cape of it was reportedly so light that you could hardly notice wearing it, and they even had people close their eyes and guess which hand they had set the tassel on. Those who could guess said it was only because of the warmth.
    Spider silk fibers are cylindrical in shape, and composed of protein strings that stretch between thousands of tiny crystals. Silkworm silk is triangular, doesn't have the crystals, and uses different proteins. Silkworm silk is more prism-like, which gives the silk that characteristic silky shine. So, spider-silk cloth is extremely strong, extremely lightweight, and very stretchable. It does have a nasty habit of dramatically shrinking (called hyper-contraction, and will reduce the fiber lengths by up to 50%) when wet, though it loosens back up once dry. Not sure what that would do to a weave...

    We should figure out the exact traits of the Histasinom spider silk. Does it have a natural color? Does it sparkle, or shine? What are the stats of spider silk rope/cloth? Can it be used for weaving, or is it only good for rope/cord?

    The Web Below
    I think a hisatsinom road system would be no more difficult to navigate than any other, they might have even expanded the main corridors that go from tohopeka into the three main trade directions, making it more-or-less idiot-proof for those passing through.
    I think the web below could refer to the nation, the road system, and the trade routes that move the silk. Probably a relatively recent naming convention, as the silk trade really started to take off.

    Spell Versions
    Cross-culture spells will be more difficult to learn. I'm not sure how, honestly, but that's the general idea. Also, most cross-culture spells won't be available to just anyone, you've gotta be pretty friendly with someone who knows it, or find it in a particular library.
    My take on it was that you would prepare the spell as a specific version, rather than just a general version. So, remove disease wouldn't work on any disease you know, you'd have to identify it, then treat it.

    Disease
    Nobody's commented on the potentially revolutionary idea of the engineered medicine disease...

    Fusang
    If memory serves, we were planning on something like 6 or seven, centered on various capital cities. The sasu qua'che forests of the north, jade harbor, then (real-world names) Longview, Eureka, San Francisco, and San Diego. Maybe another district in baja california that barely counts as 'under control'.
    The forests are sort of ceded to the sasu qua'che as a nature preserve. Jade harbor is the government center and is relatively wealthy due to the gold.
    Longview's district is mostly farming and agriculture, food grows very well in the volcanic soil around st. helens, and the city is also a center of art and trade with inland native groups.
    Eureka's district produces lumber, ships, and military goods and soldiers. Huge training center there.
    San Francisco, Golden Harbor, is very wealthy thanks to trade. They're positioned well to trade into the hisatsinom area, and are the centerpoint between jade harbor and the haiyuanren traders in aztatlan.
    San Diego's district is less rich than Golden harbor, and is largely controlled by the same groups of merchants. It's much more lawless, and it gets the bulk of trade from spanish traders who came across panama.

    Miscellaneous:
    Brotherhood
    Well, yes, we are most certainly brothers. He's two years older than I.
    I suppose, in hindsight, it probably only seemed obvious to me 'cause I already knew.
    Though, we did reveal as much during a few of the skype meetings.

    Skinwalkers
    I actually removed them, I'm not actually satisfied with how they turned out when I look back. A limited number of animals, not even broad enough to span all of north america, and it didn't really work properly for prereqs, either, it didn't advance medicine man abilities and you couldn't get into it from the brute. Overall, definitely something to remake, though I might be replacing it with the tonal/totemic race.

    Skype
    Speaking of skype, this month ends in in the middle of next weekend. Do you guys want to have the meeting on the 31st/1st weekend, or the 7th/8th weekend? And who wants in on this one?
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  27. - Top - End - #147
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    I don't think there should be a Knight class.

    Well, there should be a Knight of Malta PrC, but I wouldn't make ALL knights share a class. The captain of a Hospitallier Pirate Hunter is just as much as Knight as a man patrolling the Frontier for bandits. The first may be a Rogue or Fighter, with the latter as a Ranger.
    Last edited by BRC; 2014-05-25 at 12:24 PM.

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    I don't know if you've noticed, but pretty much everything BRC posts is full of awesome.
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  28. - Top - End - #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    Well, there should be a Knight of Malta PrC, but I wouldn't make ALL knights share a class. The captain of a Hospitallier Pirate Hunter is just as much as Knight as a man patrolling the Frontier for bandits. The first may be a Rogue or Fighter, with the latter as a Ranger.
    Seconding this. The Knights are a specific organization that would have specialized abilities and training that would be hard to reproduce, which, in essence, hits two of major qualifications of a good PrC. I mean, if a player wished to be a armor-and-sword knight guy with a moral code, the Pathfinder knight class pretty much covers that. But a 'knight' in this context could be a Ranger or even just a Aristocrat with the right amount of prestige in the same way a 'priest' could be a Paladin or a Cleric or somesuch.
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  29. - Top - End - #149
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    Sorry, I should have been more clear. It's definitely going to be a prestige class, not a base class. They're nowhere near populous or common enough to be full base class. I'm also considering feats that let one

    Classes
    I feel I should clarify something about classes in the crossroads setting, if only to ensure that everyone's on the same page.

    Most of the traditional classes are out, to be replaced by new versions, or more general classes. Too many of them have abilities that just don't fit with the themes of the setting, and others just don't have a place anymore in a world like this one, and some just need a little re-flavoring and mechanical readjustment. For example, sorcerer has various bloodlines with sources that don't exist in this setting. Monk's being replaced by martial artist. Barbarian, Fighter, and Paladin are being replaced by the brute.

    If you'll look to the player options post in the first post, there's a list of both the original base classes that we're making for the setting and traditional classes that fit well enough to be used. Of course, the lists are always open to discussion, but at the moment, what's written there is the plan.
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  30. - Top - End - #150
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    Steckie's Avatar

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

    Knights Hospitaller

    Language
    Papal education feat could work, but it's going to be a big restriction for some characters.
    I seem to remember Latin being the language used in every single mass. And that was only changed somewhere in the second half of the 20th century.
    Basically this means that every single priest, knight, inquisitor or whatever needs to take that feat.

    Maybe it's best to give Papal education as a bonus to every knight, priest and inquisitor.
    Or make it into a trait?

    Bioluminescense
    The bioluminescent sails and crosses can be magically enhanced. In fact, they need to be magical somehow if the captain or knight can activate them.
    So while the normal bioluminescense used for lighting distributes a continuous illumination that can't be shut off, the sails and crosses are enhanced so that they can be controlled and give a lot more light. Even a blinding flash. They can also make it glow in the normal way if they want to, but most of the time they just keep it dark and then suddenly light it up to intimidate their foes.
    It's their signature.

    Prestige class
    I'd allow neutral Knights as well, they swear their oaths and keep those oaths, but they need to do some questionable things to be able to keep those oathts from time to time.
    I agree that they need a code.
    Maltese falcon, i'd make that optional, a feat maybe. Not everybody likes an animal companion.

    Hisatsinom

    Silk
    Spider silk contracts by 50% when wet? That's awesome!
    It even gives me an idea: the Hisatsinom Cliff Cities use this property to haul huge or heavy loads up and down the Cliffs. They tie a spider silk rope to a heavy load, apply water to it and then watch as the load simply rises in the air because the rope shrinks. They just need to calculate the length of the rope to have it end up at the correct height.
    Basically, an elevator.

    Using the spider silk without having it shrink can only be done if they treat it to become waterproof. That's probably possible using mundane means.
    It's probably good for weaving, if it weren't it wouldn't be much competition for silkworm silk.
    Silkworm silk is probably the 'prettiest', giving a shiny fabric that's very strong but not as elastic.
    Spider silk doesn't shine, is equally strong but very elastic. Natural color probably white-ish?

    Spiders
    Keeping the spiders native to the Grand Canyon limits it to the Hisatsinom area, not to just Tohopeka.
    Tohopeka is north of the Grand Canyon and there are probably other cities nearby. Plus with the well developed trade network going through The Web Below they can send that silk everywhere to get processed.
    Unprocessed spider silk is probably sold as well.

    The Web Below
    I agree, it's perfect for the name for both the nation and the road system. Maybe not for the silkroad. The Fusangese probably wouldn't call it that, they are arrogant about their own silk and wouldn't name the trade route after a rival kind of silk. Europeans wouldn't call it that either, they already have experience with a Silk Road. And the name Web Below is rooted in the Hisatsinom religion about Grandmother Spider and The Web Above, people from a culture with another religion probably wouldn't want to use that name for a trade route going through their lands.

    Disease

    Engineered medicine disease would work, but if it's that easy to figure out (the way you put it the natives did it pretty quickly) why hasn't any other culture done it before? The Black Death and any other epidemic would change dramatically with something like this.
    I don't have any idea on how to solve this one yet....

    Spell Versions

    Would you need to succeed at a Heal check to identify the disease before you can cast a remove disease spell?
    Other than that i like the idea about cross-culture spells.
    Maybe upon character creation you can take 1 cross-culture spell for every 3 character levels. Any other cross-culture spells will have to be obtained ingame and be limited to GM discretion.
    Maybe a feat called 'well travelled' or something like that wich gives you 2 more cross-culture spells and some extra skill ranks in knowledge geography or something similar?

    Classes
    I'm missing the Bard on the list on the first page.
    And actually, i miss the alchemist as well. Alchemy was very popular in Europe around that time, so i think the class would fit. It would need some changes though.
    Cavalier could fit as well.
    Paladin would be a weird fit under brute. No aura's, no channeling, no lay on hands, no spells. The paladin is about a lot more than just hitting things.
    Not saying you should put in the paladin as it is, it wouldn't fit like that (especially that disease immunity). But something paladin-ish would fit i think.

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