Wednesday, 19 October 2011

More Campaign notes

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF So I typed up the races I'm going to be using in the sword and planetesque campaign that's currently taxing round the runway.
And I'm putting it here for your perusal and gleaning.

Some design notes:
I'm pretty sure I read this else where (d&d with porn stars maybe?), but I'll parrot it here.
Naming stuff:
 You can either mash the key board and then stick y's where even the welsh won't and have yourself a bunch of generic fantasy names the players will never remember or use, and neither will you without constant note referral OR you can, say, name a bunch of places after Joy Division songs and its gonna stick like a stick in sticky mud.
Also absurd gets remembered better. And after enough exposure, its not that absurd.
Or just not funny.

I haven't yet taken the pathfinder system for  test run yet, but I'm already kludging on stuff, so disclaimer for that.
Is the pathfinder system  really that wonky? There's a lot of noise about being so, but it looks flyable to me. I meant the combat seems a tad weighed down with tactical bells/whistles, but I figure I'll use it when it matters and wing it when it doesn't.  Hack bits it off as you go, and then rush back to stick them on latter etc.
Disclaimer: The following text refers to tables. Those tables are as yet uncreated. I'll put them in a post a later date.
Also disclaimer: You might find the writing hammish and poor. Yes, yes it is.

 +2 on a stat of your choice


The Tane (pronounced tar-nay) are expansionist  culture, concepted as a kinda hybrid Maori Greek culture, who seized the decaying empire of the Klaus, and their understanding of themselves is now firmly rooted inland, around the capital city of Kingdust. There society is ruled by the First Family's, each family having a political portfolio, and one family elected every 5 years (with only the family heads voting) for the final arbiter seat. Below them is heads of mercantile, and , generals from non-first family heritages  (including the Klaus), trickling down to Village heads, Artisans, and then general plebs   and finally immigrants of less than 2 generations.
Art tends to simple architecture and sparse elegant swirls of  bird, fish, hook and skull abstractions, stone pendants and mosaic.
They are darkish skinned , with black, blonde and red hair, and known for their piercing gaze , regal poise and general newly crowned king of the shit pile demeanor.
+ 2 to a profession
+2 on two know ledges of your choice
(The cites of the Tane are a concentration of wealth and talent)

Can re roll two starting equipment checks (assuming a  can-your-character-have-that, lets-make-a-roll based-on-some-stuff system  rather than you get 3d6xblah-coins-go-shopping-i-wanna-see-those- receipts system)
(see above)

Starting Language:

Taking their cultures name from capital city and firmly entrenched leading House, the NewDawnFades are at the edge of the Tane's haltered southern expansion , and trade and heavy diplomatic ties have cemented their position as an ally. NewDawnFades is heavily reliant on Tane for food and basic materials,  and trades silks, perfumes, spices, novelties, drugs and jewellery, basically everything a expansionist culture needs to feel all hot shit about its place in the world. No-one feels like a conquer of world, eating dried meats and wearing hemp sacks. (Except maybe the Mongols. But that was never about the money. )
NewDawnFades is divided up between the houses, each having a capital city. Like any self respecting decadent hooded lidded  opium smoking orientist collage , intense complicated politicking manoeuvring is life blood of their drawn out languid swamp baroque river barge culture.
Noted for having elaborate bio ethanol engines , of exquisite detail and finesse, each handmade and used anywhere of great status and no where near something as boring and potentially society changing as basic goods manufacturing .
Also of note is that one of the houses has started producing alarming flesh devices, such as sea slug in a squeezing claw harness, spewing forth  acid, dog-guns retching up harpoons and giant crabs scooped out and made into amusing pleasure craft.
The appearance ranges from golden hued skin to pitch black, eye colours blue, greens and purples, with hair colour have a smaller range of black and also black. They tend to a short side with soft curved features.

+2 sense motive
(wily, saturated in social manoeuvrings)
+2 on two knowledge's of your choice
(the library of the NewDawnFades)
Can start with NewDawnFades esoteric items
Starting Language:

Strange tides and ill winds from beyond the horizon create a steady stream of refugees to the Tane, tight-lipped , strange scarred strangers, and tales of monster birthing winds, soils gone feral, islands that have melted, rains that never came, and wars lost to the weapons used to fight them.
Pretty much this is the box marked miscellaneous ,  for increased player character creation elbow room.
+2 survival
+2 diplomacy
(if you've made it this far, you have got have learned to eat fish heads, and make scary men laugh)
+2 to 2 skills of your choice
(representing your background)
Starting Language:
Your native language that you might share with ten other people

Spread out among a string of islands, is a range of island cultures, ranging from simple substance farming to more aggressive warring ones. Think of the pacific islands. Some have moved to the cites of Tane for employment or adventure, others populations pressures, and fleeing from strange inflictions leaving only devastation and sorcerers in their wake.
+2 Swim
+2 survival
+2 Climb
(you grew up on a island: fishing, cliff diving, and navigation were your mothers briny milk)
+2 to your choice (at character creation) to saves versus disease, poison, mind effecting , or body effecting magic/powers
(weird shit happens in islands. You are from stock that survived it)

A native language unique to your island with similarity's to Tane and other island languages

Desert raiders, and merry camel riding liars, known for their extensively footnoted and subclaused code of  honour. They will stick to their word , but you might want to check the definition of "stick" , "their" "word" and possibly "definition". They believe to encourage weakness is a cruelty and exploiting it is a kindly chastening , allowing the one so chastened  to grow.
The "nomads" as clumsily known by outsiders are instantly recognizable by their bright glowing blue facial tattoos, made from azure flux-radiative metals, ground to powder and carved into the face as initiation rite. These tattoos serve to impress everyone and see each other in sand storms.
Nomads have a surprising baize attitude to flux, to them , flux is the 5 winds that escaped god's giant bag and is chased around the world by giant giraffes with endless sacks for heads.
Despite perceptions of them as barbarians , there is a  couple of items of surprising technological insight.
One is the Clan-horse, a large lurching structure comprise of tall wooden stilts and bone, that ambulated with surpassing speed, powered by compressed air muscle allegory , that is pumped and stored by fin like sails on the side. Each "clan" (suggesting far more structure than is recognizable to the outsider) has one and is used to protect invalids, esteemed elders, heavily pregnant women, and children, as well serving as a weapons platform.
The other notable item, is brassy hued long spindly guns with a bulbous stock that are powered by compressed air, compressed by a hand reel. While lacking slightly the power of black powder , its non-reliance on a expensive resource, and quieter, smokeless firing make it the bane of the Tane military. Its construction has not been understood, as it requires some metallurgical tricks that are beyond even Gremlin and NewDawnFades artisans, and is in general a frighteningly robust engineering. It is generally agreed  that the nomads are being equipped by someone, but why and who , is a mystery lying far beyond the harsh red dune sea. No, your player character doesn't know. Every clan gets theirs off some other clan, a trade train with no end insight

+4 bluff
(nomads lie even better than they ride. Great pride is taken in remaining technically true)
+2 ride
Can start with Camel,
Can start with nomad weaponry
Starting Language
tuk tuk

The far colony of Tane, conquered for 2 generations, and assimilated in name only, The lands of Mun, are vast, with patchy copse of thick forest, rich farm land, and biting cold night winds. Tane has pored settlers in to try and pacify the restless Mun, but the colony is long , bitter, travel away, and the capitals taxes and tiefs sit chaffing on the settlers shoulders.
The Tane Governor stationed there prefers when the settlers and Mun to be at odds, as more they co-exist , the more they form a identity far separate from capital, ever hungry for its goods.
The Mun as a people , are hardy , keen to prove there individual merit, of pale skin and wild hair, a big strong stride and bellowing singing voices. There distinctive armour is a piecemeal affair serving as much as a trophy case as personal protection, carefully maintained and put together . ( yes, Celts being the lazy inspiration)

+2 intimidate
(mean stares and elaborate shit talking is the cultural highpoint among the Mun)
+2 Handle Animal
(goat herding , fur snake corralling(fur snake is not a euphemism), bear teasing , and dire wolf riding being  a close second  cultural high point)
+2 Perform (oratory)
(ballads, odes, and more shit talking)
Free suit of munnish scrap
Medicinal Herbs
(roll 4 times on a table  of pharmaceutically relevant herbs, brews, fungus and sticks, that I will make up sometime)

Note : you can mix and match these traits with that of a Tane if you are playing a settler going native

Mangals: (mangrove  tribes)
The Tane has yet to declare all Mangals automatically as  pirates, but the are sorely tempted. Possible the only thing stopping them , is that it would stop the opportunity to buy back at least some of what is stolen, if they automatically executed all Mangals on sight. That and the Mangals close relations with the peoples that guard the secrets to the ultra hard bamboos needed for naval armour and various ship related purposes.
The Mangal are short, stocky and swarthy, and seen as quiet and sullen. That's generally because the average Mangal doesn't trust anyone not from their particular tribe. Surviving assaults on them by the Klaus, NewDawnFades, Tane, and Hook Birds has justifiably lead them to this attitude.
The trade ships between Tane and NewDawnFades suffer from their predations, the navy being in dread of Mangals silent low in the water canoes, and single use semi submerged cannons made from hollowed tree trunks pulled gently behind dark oiled swimmers, with machetes clenched in filed teeth. (yes they get out of water before they fire the cannon.)

Once you get to them the Mangal are a right laugh, though, being a culture of ready jokes , easy physical affection, strong loyalty's, and complicated animist beliefs. Teeth are sometimes filed as a sign of prowess and facial scarification is common but not universal.

Mangal who stray from the murky humid water of there home, do so  because of exile, wanderlust , orphanage or to find trade opportunitys for their family.

+2 survival
(the mangroves are free from sharks. Unfortunately this is because the crocodiles eat them. Every Mangal learns how to avoid the crocodiles, murder monkeys, piranhadons,  mauling frogs and worse, while somehow finding something to eat that isn't poisonous and/or hallucinogenic or a disguised parasite egg sack)
+2 swim
(you could ride, but you'll have a devil of a time getting a snorkel on the horse)
+2 stealth
(see survival)
+2 perception
(see survival)

+2dex, +2 int, -2 str
(Wiry, cunning and inventive, gremlins bodies leans towards speed and economy and so bulk and brute strength have suffered.)
The Gremlin are originally from deep dark forest on the other side of the world, and learned cunning and ferociousness from the many dangers of that realm. They rapidly migrated when the shadows of the trees started to eat them however, moving into the alpine forest, where the forest wasn't thick enough
to pool darkness in murderous concentrations. The predations and mind shredding cannibal  howls of the wendigo however drove the gremlin into caves, and then deeper underground. It was here they discovered the secrets of black powder, and made cannons and blunderbuss to carve survival there in the bowels of the earth. In the last couple of generations however , mushroom crop failures, sudden frightening liquidation of stone, and increasing tetrafauna has made the Gremlin establish homes in the Tane cites, trading the secrets of black powder, for a social standing higher than what is normally granted to immigrants. The Tane have taken the room clearing blunderbuss of the gremlin and invented rifles, and while Tane military tactics haven't quite got to grips with the possibility , a new expansive wave is swelling. The Gremlin are fine with this, thinking its a nice change letting someone  else get killed for once.
Gremlins are short, with ears bigger than there heads, and small dark eyes, and more than a passing resemblance to bats. Unlike bats, they are hairless, with greys and greens, and rarely whites and blacks, being the skin colour. They are a confident yet pessimistic people . They expect the worse, but are expecting it with a large stockpile of  weapons.
Gremlins are capable of large amounts of children, but use strident birth control. A gremlin saying meaning "lets not be too hasty" is "lets not have to eat the kids now".

 Low light vision:
A gremlin can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish colour and detail under these conditions.
 ( blind fight feat, can detect basic detail of terrain up 60 feet)
base land speed is 20 feet.
Small: As a Small creature, a gremlin gains a +1 size bonus to Armour Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but she uses smaller weapons than humans use, and her lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
+4 on listen based perception checks
(They have big arsed ears)
+2 craft
(if they can't build it...)
+2 disable device
(...they can definitely break it)
+1 racial bonus on saves
(Gremlin are hard to get rid of than dire fiendish scabies)
+2 saves versus fear, stacks with above bonus
(stemming from a cultural attitude of "I've seen worse")

Starting language:
Gremlin , or Gremish if you will (Gremlin is generally too high pitch to hear for non-gremlins)

+4str , -2 on your choice of wisdom, int or cha
(Looming mass of fur and muscle, the RatKing are slowly piecing together a cultural identity , and lack the social resources that nourish other races social and mental development. While capable of overcoming this, it does take its toll)

The  Ratking (Ratking is gender neutral) are refugees and cultural orphans. Breed and engineered as  experimental labour force by an unknown and freshly extinct nation, they fled the unnatural ravages of the war that consumed that dire nation. First finding asylum in the islands and amongst the fishing spiders, they slowly have made their way to Tane, having become proficient at ship craft, they are now common sight around the dock yards and navy's.
The Ratking are a somewhat shy people, often trying their best avoid trouble and gathering knowledge as they can about how to be actually be a people. As such there is no obvious cultural patterns, they are like the isolated foreign worker, accepted by his/her coworkers but at the cost of blankness, the co-workers never thinking of the foreigner as from somewhere, merely just "foreign"
Ratking gather in large groups yearly to trade stories and anecdotes, and take shaking steps to an identity.

In appearance Ratkings are massive, reaching ten feet easy, with a stooped gorilla posture, (and they can only reach their top speed by brachiating, as in take 20 feet off a run speed if hands are full or unusable). The head is that of a chisel jawed rat, and  flows seamlessly into shoulders with only a passing notion of a neck. The rats sense of smell and powerful gnaw is retained, but there hearing is not anything great. Their  hands are surprisingly delicate with long fingers, and small tidy nails. The tail is merely vestige to their rat origins being a foot in length. They are covered in fine hair , in shades of grey, black and brown. There voices are deep and bellowing but can still reach a surprising high pitched squeaked if alarmed. Most Ratking learn to loathe the ridicule this brings, although some notice how appearing ridiculous can ease the fears of those intimidated by them.
Ratking dress in the fashions of those around them, with a personal touch being elaborate knotted necklaces, bracelets and anklets, with coins, teeth , stones and items of personal significance woven in. Ratkings can have a surprisingly complex amount of information stored in these patterns.

Large size: –1 penalty to Armour Class, –1 penalty on attack rolls, –4 penalty on Hide checks, +4 bonus on grapple checks, lifting and carrying limits double those of Medium characters.
Space/Reach: 10 feet/10 feet.
An Ratking’s base land speed is 40 feet. (but see above note about top speed running)
Bite: Inflicts 1d6 damage, subtract 6 from hardness of objects for damage purposes if spend a full round action gnawing
allows a creature to detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell. Creatures with the scent ability can identify familiar odours just as humans do familiar sights.
The creature can detect opponents within 30 feet by sense of smell. If the opponent is upwind, the range increases to 60 feet; if downwind, it drops to 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at triple normal range.
When a creature detects a scent, the exact location of the source is not revealed—only its presence somewhere within range. The creature can take a move action to note the direction of the scent.
Whenever the creature comes within 5 feet of the source, the creature pinpoints the source’s location.
A creature with the Track feat and the scent ability can follow tracks by smell, making a Wisdom (or Survival) check to find or follow a track. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10 (no matter what kind of surface holds the scent). This DC increases or decreases depending on how strong the quarry’s odour is, the number of creatures, and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail is cold, the DC increases by 2. The ability otherwise follows the rules for the Track feat. Creatures tracking by scent ignore the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility.
Water, particularly running water, ruins a trail for air-breathing creatures.
False, powerful odours can easily mask other scents. The presence of such an odour completely spoils the ability to properly detect or identify creatures, and the base Survival DC to track becomes 20 rather than 10.
+2 swim
+2 rope use
(Ratkings have been first to shine as sailors and ship hands and have clung to this.)

Starting Languages:
Glean (Ratking dialect of Creole, nigh impenetrable  to the outsider, and includes knot codes)

+2 wis, +2 dex, -2con
(observant , and agile, but have a light , fragile skeletal structure)
There's a trite saying thrown around about the Chinese character for crisis being the same as  that for opportunity. The Corbis see the world this way ,but take it further;not only crisis being opportunity, calm being an opportunity for crisis, a battlefield an  market place of the blind, and trouble just another way of saying hello or goodbye.
Its... an unfair but not entirely undeserved reputation for grave robbery, looting , and shit stirring that the Corbis have. Opportunists that are quite at home with making their own opportunity, the Corbis aren't amoral as such, but are very worryingly entranced by a situation rapidly changing for the worse.
In other words Corbis have a knack for showing up when the trouble starts, and more worryingly slightly before.
Personal enrichment motivates the Corbis above anything else, and sometimes this is material enrichment, but mostly a Corbis wants a life with adventure, excitement and great times making off with other peoples stuff.
Learning languages, secret words, seeing far horizons and delving mysteries all also have a powerful pull on Corbis
Corbis hail from mountain peaks, building precarious structure in chasms and cliffs. Most find enough to entertain them there, but more than a few drift done to Cities of the Tane, becoming gamblers, Fences, Go betweens, Gossipmongers and plain old thieves and mercenarys. The Corbis haven't really settled yet in the cities, preferring to return to the mountains to inspire hatchlings with their scars and stories. Assuming, of course, they live that long.
Corbis are pretty much a  4 to 5 foot high crow, with the legs  branching at the hip, and forming another pair of limbs which when not tucked away are used as arms.

Flight (ex): Corbis have a fly speed of 50 ft with average maneuverability. They take no damage from falling, and gain a +8 bonus on jump checks. All of these advantages disappear if their wings are restricted in any way (bound, injured, etc.) or carrying more than a light load. The fly skill is automatically a class skill
+4 to perception checks
(sharp eyed and curious)
+2 sleight of hand
(And quick to make good of it)
+2 linguistics
(Corbis have a talent with languages, often collecting dialects and words with same passion they have for excitement)

Small: As a Small creature, a Corbis gains a +1 size bonus to Armour Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but she uses smaller weapons than humans use, and her lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
Corbis base movement of a rapid hop is 30 feet, faster than that of a small creature.
Starting Languages:
+2 bonus in addition to any from high int score, and may select obscure and difficult tongues, such as hookbird, Gremish, or glean.

+4 con -2cha
(Ghouls are descended from humans that survived the bale fire plagues, so are from great physical stock, but as well looking ash grey and half starved, you  tend to have the odd neurosis or general batshitedness.)

In the Tane's second expansion wave, added by cures for shitblood fever (from NewDawnFades), they plunged into the forests of the Hook Birds, seize land for much needed fertile farming land. The hookbirds, accustomed as they were to intruders being strangely deterred by shitblood fever (a threat of shiting out rotting hunks of your  intestine until you die alone in the mud, with the taunting cry of squibbons the last thing you hear, is rather deterring), were woefully ill prepared.
A good half of their domain was taken before they unleashed the bale fire plague.
This sickly lung coloured flame drifted like evil kitten hair on the winds, and would settle as gentle as the aforementioned kitten, and when on living flesh it would stay, burning not as heat, but a fire that takes the colour of the skin and the mercy from the heart. The Tane soldiers and settlers so inflicted, ran berserk, tearing and screaming, blazing still with languid oily flesh coloured fire, as they ran up spear to tear at eyes, and generally went murderously apeshit canoe.
The Tane responded by building a fortification that completely cut off the hook bird lands and leaving any settlers to there fate, shooting any that attempted to cross. After ten long years, Corbis mercenaries , hired to poke the whole situation with a stick, reported the plague had long burned out, but the simple farmers and settlers left behind had survived, but had been marked.
Marked with ash grey skin, and sunken eyes, and sometimes with skin discolouration of blood trails (especially from the eyes)  but otherwise human. After some were kidnapped , and studied by the Surgeon General, the quarantine was lifted.
The ghouls, as they were kindly named, had formed a surviving community, called Thrive, and haven't really gotten over the whole left to die thing. In fact they are somewhat more charitable to the Hookbirds, who are seen as unfathomable powers, that have given them a great and terrible gift, rather than someone who tried to kill them. Ghouls are like that, and it would be tawdry to call them morbid, but,  while they somewhat are, they are not necessarily  moody shits, and can be passionate explorers, and laughing cavaliers, brimming with joie de vivre. Think of people that have survived a close brush with death, and that's pretty much on the money for summing up the Ghoul. Some are haunted, some inspired, some sombre and calm, some treasuring each day as an undeserved gift.  You could be tempted to play them as race of teen goths, but why would you do such a thing?
The Tane have not yet recognized the ghouls mild succession, but as Thrive has nothing the Tane particular want, the issue is being ignored.
The ghouls tend toward mysticism and bizarre speculations of the nature of reality, and some have moved to the cites of NewDawnFades and Tane in ordered to feast on the rich knowledge there. Ghouls see themselves reborn, fresh faced in the ashes of the past, and while some attempt to strengthen the fledging community at Thrive, others seek the world, or attempt to began  communications with the Hookbirds , all are certain that the world awaits Them.
There is  about 2000 ghouls currently, and the mutations suffered are stable and pass on to the children. Ghouls are unable to breed with humans. Or cows for that matter.
A alarming amount of ghouls are sorcerers, and if this continues on to future generations, the ghoul could become of interest to the Tane, if they bother to pay attention  to living reminder of a military disaster.. This has been noticed by Shadowplay (a house of NewDawnFades) who are quietly encouraging ghoul immigration to their holdings.
Ghouls gain the feat;
Harsh conditions or long exertions do not easily tire you.
Benefit: You gain a +4 bonus on the following checks
and saves: Swim checks made to resist non lethal damage
from exhaustion; Constitution checks made to continue
running; Constitution checks made to avoid non lethal
damage from a forced march; Constitution checks made
to hold your breath; Constitution checks made to avoid
non lethal damage from starvation or thirst; Fortitude
saves made to avoid non lethal damage from hot or cold
environments; and Fortitude saves made to resist damage
from suffocation. (note all ghouls don't get the ability to sleep in armour without penalty from  this  feat, only ones with at least medium armour proficiency)
once a day you make a roll a table to see what sense of destiny and portents there is witching around you. Different ghouls have different methods, some formal as chiromancy or gutting things, or informal like a sudden chill, or a haunting dream.
This can give you boons such as a sense of invincibly, morale bonuses, handy insights or it ruin your day, and make you feel like you're  already dead but being hit with the shovel anyway.

Other Cultures Looming ominously in the background:
Selenite. Have stopped visiting Tane and NewDawnFades. Since the balefire plague, the hook birds have become obsessed with capturing one of the great moth used to fly to the moon by the selenite.The Selenites, while quite capable of defending the great moths, are playing it very safe, not wanting to risk the fiendish traps the Hookbirds can dream up, trade far further south now, the Hookbirds being  loathe to travel further than a days travel from the banyans.

Hookbirds: appearing not unlike a broken tar drenched crane rebuilt using broken umbrellas and meat hooks, hookbirds are not evil as such, just xenophobic as you would think for being ex p.o.w now marooned in a alien world. For a time a accustomed to making a place for themselves, but after the aggressive expansions of the Tane, the hook bird have been swept by a movement calling for a return to a promised utopia, far away in the depths of the black ocean of worlds.
They cluster in cabals, in mammoth banyan trees, hollowed and lit with a 1000 hues of cold fires.
Prone to experimenting on everything around them, as they see the majority of life here  too hideous to have feelings.

A culture that made the Ratking and then was destroyed

Another culture that destroyed that culture with maddened spell infected constructs that then went mad and ate each other until it was just one great looped snake of a factory city , endlessly devouring its tail.

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