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    Default [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Avatar: the Last Airbender d20 Setting

    This thread serves as an organizing mechanism for a broader homebrew project with the goal of creating a d20 fantasy setting based of the world presented in Avatar: the Last Airbender. Heavily influenced by philosophical, spiritual, and military systems found in China, Japan, Korea, and India, this setting is set apart by the prominent role of individuals known as "benders," who are able to manipulate one of the classical elements (earth, water, air, and fire). In addition to the four bending disciplines, the Avatar (the human incarnation of the spirit of the world) is able to manipulate all four elements.

    Goals and Principles

    The goal of this project, as stated above, is to craft a setting that allows for d20 fantasy games set in the Avatar: the last Airbender universe. The project includes the creation of new base classes to represent the benders and martial artists extant in the world of the show, the creation of unique feats and skill usages to represent the characters’ abilities, the development of a bestiary to allow for encounters with Avatar world creatures, and the creation of items and technology that appear in the show.

    In general, this project is focused on accurately representing the TV show within the d20 fantasy rules system. With a few exceptions necessitated by the limits of the d20 system, the content created for this setting should be firmly grounded in content depicted or referred to in the show.

    The purpose of this thread is to organize the project’s various discussions, provide easy access to discussion threads and content summaries, and to host discussion of the setting as a whole, the goals of the project, and the project’s progress.

    Directory of Threads

    Content Summaries
    The Avatar d20 Project Website – Note that this is a work in progress and will continue to be updated as changes are made and new content is created. Hopefully, this website can serve as a resource.

    Active Discussion Threads
    Bending and base Classes II
    Warrior Base Classes - Another discussion thread for non-bending base classes. The content under discussion includes revisions of Eighth_Seraph's non-bending classes.
    Creatures of the Avatar World
    Items & Machinery - A collection of the items and machinery (oddly enough) used in the Avatar world. Also a place for discussion of wealth-by-level guidelines and other things related to money and equipment.
    Bending Forms Compendium II - A collection of combined forms with the goal of establishing an extensive list of possible combinations something akin to a spellcaster's spell list in 3e D&D
    Iconic Character Builds - A place to post and discuss the Avatar d20 builds for the show's main characters
    Non-Canon Content Discussion - A place to discuss homebrew content not necessarily supported by the show, but related to the world and the bending system.

    Inactive Discussion Threads
    Directory Version 1 – contains prior discussions of the setting as a whole, item and craftsman information, and the previous directory.
    Bending and Base Classes – A discussion thread for the development of the bending base classes, a few prestige classes, and things directly related to bending
    Lord Tartaraus’ Martial Classes – A discussion thread for the development of non-bending base classes led by Lord Tataraus.
    Eighth_Seraph’s Martial Classes – A discussion thread for the development of a more limited and specific set of non-bending base classes, as well as builds for various iconic non-bending characters using already-existing d20 classes and several new feats.
    Bending Forms Compendium – A collection of combined forms with Bending DC’s and general descriptions. Aimed at establishing how the form combining system actually works.
    PDF Proofreading Discussion

    Playtesting
    Playtesting Sign-Up Thread - Round I – Currently inactive.
    Bending Classes Playtesting Analysis - Round I – A discussion of balance issues and improvements highlighted by playtesting combats.
    Playtesting Analysis - Round II
    Playtesting Sign-Up Thread - Round II
    The Fall of Chin the Great (Group 1, Group 2) - A campaign set in the Avatar world during the life of Avatar Kyoshi
    Autumn Twilight - A campaign set in the Avatar world at the dawn of the Fire Nation's wars of conquest

    Current Topics of Discussion

    {table=head]Issue|Thread
    Strength DC’s for breaking out of immobilization forms|Bending and Base Classes
    Lavabending|Bending and Base Classes II
    Communal Bending|Bending and Base Classes
    Influence of the Moon and Sun|Bending and Base Classes
    Bending Learning Feats|Bending and Base Classes
    Redirect Lightening|Bending and Base Classes
    Quickened Bending|Bending and Base Classes II
    Balancing Tweaks|Bending and Base Classes II
    Increasing # of Blasts|Bending and Base Classes II
    Monk & Ranger Base Classes|Warrior Base Classes[/table]
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2008-06-24 at 09:47 AM.
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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Since, as far as I'm aware, there is no thread specifically for the purpose of problems related to the project's setting itself, I'll post this here. In the Iconic Characters thread, I've noticed something that leads to a question and a problem.

    Question: To what extent is the Avatar world a high-level setting?
    We know that there's non-commoner low (1-3) level goons to spare (the Earth King's palace guard, for example), as well as enough mid-level fighters, benders and mercenaries that they're not viewed with awe (Participants in that earthbending tournament; soldiers for the three remaining nations, the Kyoshi Warriors), along with organizations of elite mid-high level units (The Dai Li, the Yu Yan archers), and a speckling of people approaching level 20 (the main characters and villains, Master Pakku, Hugh, Jeong Jeong).

    ...I think I may have answered my own question. Okay then. Level 20 is considered extremely powerful, but attainable, as evidenced by the Iconic Characters' thread needing to use 20 levels for Sokka's Master, Katara, Toph, Ty Lee, and Mai.

    Problem: If level 20 is attainable for 16-year-old prodigies, we need to make rules for epic levels.
    This won't affect the non-bending classes too much, but the definition of an epic character in the Avatar world needs to be sorted out for when we're ready to go there. In standard D&D, an epic human is not expected to be bound by reasonable physics (an epic Escape Artist check can get through a hole smaller than your head, which is physically impossible). For this setting, will we limit ourselves to reasonable physics, or go for the exalted feel of doing the impossible? It's a question that can go either way, but it needs to be decided.
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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    That's part of the reason I made Aang 16th level, I dunno, I'd suggest that we knock the other benders back to 16th as well. They're prodigies, they're amazing, but I'm sure that folks like Bumi, Ozai, Gyatso (past tense), and Pakku know a few tricks that our heroes don't know. I'd back that.

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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Right. I've been tossing the idea around that Ozai, at the very least, is an epic bender. Pakku and Hugh might be epic level as well, though that's open to debate. The one person who we can generally agree on as epic is Avatar Roku, but we have relatively little to work with in regards to him. In The Avatar and the Firelord, we saw Roku tear Souzin's throne room apart with an Air Burst. An AIR BURST. If that's the meaning of epic airbending, then what limits can the other disciplines possibly have?

    I guess the real question is whether or not we keep the solid line found in D&D from level 20 to level 21, where the first epic feat becomes available and physical impossibilities no longer apply. If we decide to keep that line, then we'll need to make some epic feats and progression for classes. If we toss that distinction, then we can allow the bending system's normal progression to enable obscenely powerful forms on its own.
    Water, Earth, Fire, and Air: Benders of the Avatar world
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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Well, I know for a fact that Mai and Ty Lee can easily be brought back to lower levels by eliminating a few not-necessarily crucial feats. Katara could probably come down a few levels too by swapping out a feat or two for "Extra Seed." I just went with the ECL 20 benchmark to match Piandao.

    I think that the setting, while obviously pretty high-powered, doesn't necessarily have to be. The characters in the show are clearly portrayed as the very best combatants in the world, but it seems like the majority of the population is mid-level at best. Now, this doesn't necessarily preclude epic progressions, but I don't know if they're necessary, at least at this point. Though maybe I'm just hesitant because I know next to nothing about epic progressions.

    That said, I'm in favor of sticking with normal physics as much as possible. Increasing bending skill modifiers (especially to allow crazy combos) could account for a lot of the insane bending that Avatar Roku and other powerful characters show. To address Eighth_Seraph's specific example, Roku probably used a combo Air Scythe/Air Burst with a really high Airbending DC.

    Those are my (only partially formed) thoughts.
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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Looking over the various threads, it seems like things with the project are winding down. The basics of the bending system and base classes have been hammered out and are being playtested. Non-bending classes are well under way and ready for playtesting. Most of the creatures from the world have been statted. A fair number of items and machinery have at least preliminary statistics. My question now is:

    What still needs to be done?

    In my mind, the following aspects of the project still need work:
    • Continuing work on items/machinery/weapons
    • finalization of wealth by level guidelines
    • final playtesting and tweaking of base classes
    • development of any PrC's that the setting might need
    • final write-ups and editing
    • write-ups of setting content (organizations, brief historical outline, national profiles, etc.)

    Is there anything else that still needs to be done?
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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    I would actually like to build a few maps of sample villages or cities in each of the nations, and maybe even a cross-sectional schematic of the giant Fire Nation war balloons and The Drill for use as locations instead of vehicles. I also had some ideas for making sea serpents, badgermoles, dragons, and flying bison have age-dependent CR and abilities, much like D&D dragons do. Other than that, I think you're right. All that's left after this list is the actual adventure paths to follow. Somehow, that saddens me. This project came alot further than I ever thought it would when I made the bending classes, what, six months ago? Wow. Of course, we still have to watch out for new concepts and abilities as the show progresses, assuming there's another episode coming out in the imminent future.

    Is any of this included in the "From the Playground" compendium?
    Last edited by Eighth_Seraph; 2008-02-28 at 04:31 PM.
    Water, Earth, Fire, and Air: Benders of the Avatar world
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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    You can add "Autumn Twilight" To the playtesting list.


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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Quote Originally Posted by Shades of gray View Post
    You can add "Autumn Twilight" To the playtesting list.
    Done and done.

    Another issue, now that we feel like things are winding down, is what to do with our work once we're finished. Sit back and pat ourselves on the back? Use it for our own groups a PbP's, but leave it at that? Attempt to publicize it around the Avatar fan communities? Any ideas?

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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Well, 4th edition is coming out soon. If anyone's enthusiastic enough to make the transition, we could make an adaptation of the system to it. That'll keep us busy long enough for new shows to come out, methinks.
    Water, Earth, Fire, and Air: Benders of the Avatar world
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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    I love to convert it to 4e... soon as I manage to get 4e...

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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    Done and done.

    Another issue, now that we feel like things are winding down, is what to do with our work once we're finished. Sit back and pat ourselves on the back? Use it for our own groups a PbP's, but leave it at that? Attempt to publicize it around the Avatar fan communities? Any ideas?

    Mephibosheth
    Well, I have linked many to this project on the Wizard Forums, in various Avatar conversion thread.
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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Quote Originally Posted by Eighth_Seraph View Post
    Well, 4th edition is coming out soon. If anyone's enthusiastic enough to make the transition, we could make an adaptation of the system to it. That'll keep us busy long enough for new shows to come out, methinks.
    I would love to help out in the 4e conversion is everyone else is also up for it.
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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    Done and done.

    Another issue, now that we feel like things are winding down, is what to do with our work once we're finished. Sit back and pat ourselves on the back? Use it for our own groups a PbP's, but leave it at that? Attempt to publicize it around the Avatar fan communities? Any ideas?

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    Sit back, pat ourselves on the back, and use it in our own campaigns. It's balanced, interesting, fun, and cool. We've created something awesome, now let's have fun with it.
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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    I actually plan on running an campaign in this setting over the summer. I've got an idea for a story line that happens after Zuko becomes Firelord, and in a continuity in which the Avatar cycle is broken.

    Has the PDF been updated, by chance? would make it easier to distribute the rules to my players, only one of whom is a member of this forum.
    Last edited by Pirate_King; 2008-03-03 at 10:37 PM.
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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Quote Originally Posted by Pirate_King View Post
    Has the PDF been updated, by chance? would make it easier to distribute the rules to my players, only one of whom is a member of this forum.
    It is in the process of being updated with a complete overhaul. I've changed the software I'm using and hopefully it will get down faster. However, life has gotten in the way and school comes first. I will not be able to get it done by tonight, but hopefully Tuesday or Wednesday I will have it ready. I will inform you when it is completed. If anyone would like to help out, I need to convert all the tables into png images, I find excel is actually very useful to setup the table then just paste it into any drawing program like window's paint and save it. I use 10pt font and the color pallet in RGB format is: table header (135, 85, 45), odd row (252, 220, 252) even row - white (255, 255, 255). I have all the version 2 bender tables, and Eighth's warrior class tables. If you do make any for me you can send them to lordtataraus@gmail.com thanks!

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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    I'd be in for conversions to 4e. At least, I'm in if I manage to get access to the 4e sourcebooks. *grumblegrumblepoorgrumblegradschoolgrumble*

    Also, does anyone have any search engine optimization skills/experience? I'd like for our website to appear higher on search lists, especially once/if the project slows down and the discussion threads are no longer as active.

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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    Also, does anyone have any search engine optimization skills/experience? I'd like for our website to appear higher on search lists, especially once/if the project slows down and the discussion threads are no longer as active.

    Mephibosheth
    Yes, I do have some experience and its pretty straight forward. There are a number of factors that contribute to your rating, meta, prestige, and networking (could be called different names depending who you ask). Meta is well, your page's meta fields, the content description and keywords, the keywords are the most important, description is those few sentences that show up under the link in search engines. I haven't used google pages before, I prefer to type out all my code, but looking over your site's code, you only have content meta, I don't know how you are expected to update your meta. Prestige is basically your popularity, how many hits you get as well as warnings about bad content (such as pornography, illegal activities, etc.). You can do nothing about upping your prestige except advertise and hope. Networking is exactly as it sounds, how many other sites link to you. You need to somehow get sites with a high ranking to link to you, the higher the other site's ranking, the higher your's is. Sites boost each other up.

    I hope that helps, though the most you can do right now is probably add in your meta and maybe see if some friends or someone will link to you.

    Edit: I just looked into it a bit more and found that Google pages doesn't allow you to edit your meta at all, however it just searches your content instead. So, the only way to boost your rating immediately is to fluff up your content, but be careful not to spam it up.

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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    I am nearing completion of the Avatar D20 pdf and I would like some input as to the color scheme. I am producing a grayscale printable version and a colorful, high quality one. So, my question is simple: what type of color scheme should I use? The color scheme basically determines the look of the tables and the background/border. The tables have three different colors incorporated into them in the same fashion as the tables here (darker color for the header, light color for the odd rows, even lighter color for the even rows). I have limited capability with background/border design, but I can create one of any color scheme (examples below).

    Spoiler
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    Example background/border without text:
    This is a black/purple/blue color scheme


    this is a tan color scheme

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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    I dunno, I kinda feel like it could be something classic, like the PHB borders or the ones from Oriental Adventures. Y'know, something that would be cheap wallpaper if it weren't on a book.

    Heh, I was looking from the beginning of the thread, and I just realized that there is an equivalent for Epic Spellcasting in our system. It's called Epic Skill Focus (Bending). +10 to the skill checks. I like it.
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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    I like the black/purple/blue, it's reminiscent of the opening credits, and the tan reminds me of the episode name backgrounds.
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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Quote Originally Posted by Pirate_King View Post
    I like the black/purple/blue, it's reminiscent of the opening credits, and the tan reminds me of the episode name backgrounds.
    I can do other colors too, those are just two examples of backgrounds I've done in the past. The problem with backgrounds like from the PHB is that their borders are very complex and I'm not much of an artist, I just know how to use the bells and whistles. I could try something close to it, but I don't know how well it will turn out.

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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    I like the blue/purple background (I agree, it does look like the opening credits), but I don't like the black border. Would it be possible to see how it looks with darker blue or a purple instead?
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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    I like the blue/purple background (I agree, it does look like the opening credits), but I don't like the black border. Would it be possible to see how it looks with darker blue or a purple instead?
    Are either of these better?
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    #1:

    It seems a bit too purple to me, but you can decide, I can tint it more blue if needed.

    #2:

    This is a lot more blue and less purple and I think it meshes better than #1.


    Also, if the jagged top and bottom don't really fit well, I can easily smooth it out, though I left it in for the above samples.

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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    I really llike that second one there El Tea. It pleasesd the eye. MY vote s on it unless anyting better shows up.
    Not forgetting Yldenfrei and the wonderful avatar she made.

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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Alright everyone, I have some bad news. It's been increasingly clear that I really don't have the time to be spending on this project, as AP exams are coming up and I have some other responsibilities that I've put on the back burner for entirely too long. As of now, I can't guarantee that I'll be contributing to the project anymore. At all. I'll finish up the arena battle for the playtest, but I can't be here to see the project through to the end. My ranger and monk classes are now the property of the project as a whole, and you guys can make a new thread to modify them if you wish to do so. You all have been great over the past seven months and I've never seen so much creativity working towards the same end before. I've just got to thank you all and say that I really look forward to the end product of the whole project.

    Meph, Tataraus, Pirate King, Darkbane, X, Ceiling, Knightsaline, Vadin, and Collin; you all have stuck with this for more than half a year, reviewing and revising and creating, and I want to say that I really appreciate it. Thanks to all the rest of you guys, too, for making this all possible. G'bye, all, and sorry for being so sudden about this.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Pirate_King's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    sorry to lose you to the real world, man. We'll miss your input.

    speaking of the real world... I know I've been kind of a proponent of realism within the world of this system, but if you allow for some of the cartoonism, I think the bard would work well with this system. All of the bardic music things would work fine (with an added rule about characters who find the bard's music to be distracting instead of helpful, like Sokka), and even some spells would make perfect sense in a cartoon world. Detect secret doors, for example, would demonstrate the classic cartoon element of accidentally discovering a secret entrance by sitting on a rock. Expeditious retreat is also a very cartoony thing. All it would take is a little creative role playing to discern how a character can do such a thing without magic. Besides, this system is kind of wanting for healers...
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Mephibosheth's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub


    Farewell, Eighth_Seraph! This project is by far the better for your participation, and I've enjoyed working with you the entire time. You're an amazing designer, and I for one will happily welcome you back when exams are done, should you decide to return. I hope that the final version is something you can be proud of.

    I considered adding the Bard to the project back in the very beginning, but rejected it based on its too intimate (in my view) connection to magic. Sure, some of the spells might seem appropriate when re-flavored to be non-magical, but how do you account for invisibility?

    Mephibosheth
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Pirate_King's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    Well, I suppose the more obvious spells would need to be cut from the list...
    Other magic that fits, though, how are we working with the spirit world? Ethereal Jaunts and so forth should certainly be possible. With the world's use of Chi and a sort of empathic telepathy, invisibility and other spells could easily be replaced with others that better fit the world. I'll make that another project for my break; my classes don't start up again until the 24th.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Jukashi's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Avatar d20 Project] Setting Main Hub

    I was just reading through the stuff you have so far - it looks really good! I was just wondering something after looking at the Avatar template; shouldn't there be some mention of the order the Avatar has to learn the elements in? For example, If you start as a Firebender you learn Air first, then Water, then Earth. I suppose you're not strictly limited (Aang was able to learn some firebending, bad idea though it turned out to be), but perhaps it would impart some sort of penalty or random effect if they learn out of order?
    Do you by chance enjoy White Wolf's Exalted RPG? Then perhaps you would also enjoy my comic, Keychain of Creation (though on indefinite hiatus, I'm afraid!).

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