Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Gods of Alnwich: Likumä

Likumä

of the Horses, of Letters, the Lightbringer, Protectress, of War



Greater Deity
Sphere of Influence: Agriculture, Civilization, Protection, and the Sun.
Symbols: Fire, Girdle, Gold, Lamp, Ram, Shield, Sun, Sword, Wolf.
Favored Weapon: Spear, Sword & Shield.
Relationships: Daughter of Karalis and Sëra and twin sister of Korë.

Likumä is the virgin goddess of civilization, law, oaths, and war, but she does not focus on personal combat or killing, like Veträ. Instead, her domain encompasses strategy, tactics, and establishing peace afterward. She first performed this feat when she introduced Law to the ancient Skiding clans, allowing them to find peace and make decisions without the need for bloodshed among kinsmen.

The child of Karalis and Sëra, Likumä sheds her life-giving warmth on the fields as she flies through the sky on her owl-drawn chariot with her sword and the golden shield, Aurinko, who burns with such fire and fury that it sheds the light that creates the days. She is a friend of Veträ and often spends time in his halls training, drinking, and discussing matters of importance. Her complete disinterest in love prevents Sieva from growing jealous of her – no small feat to be certain.

Likumä most often takes the form of a wolf mother or a terrifyingly beautiful warrior woman clad in full battle regalia. She is particularly cold and distant, and this often frightens those she meets.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Pegasus


Pegasi are majestic winged horses akin to coursers in size and speed. Their tremendous eagle-like wings allow pegasi to soar through the sky or dive in fast swoops. If threatened, a pegasus will take to the air and fly away. Pegasi are rare creatures who inhabit high altitude plateaus – the more inaccessible, the better.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Equipment of Alnwich: Polearms


Polearms, polearms, polearms! All polearms must go. At the Liver Splitter, we’re slashing polearm prices in half! This is a polearm blowout! Make us an offer on our vast selection of polearms! We got long polearms, short polearms, local polearms, foreign polearms, keen polearms, sharp polearms, dull polearms, big polearms, little polearms, bloody polearms, clean polearms, dirty polearms, cutting polearms, stabbing polearms, hooked polearms, infantry polearms, chain polearms, horse polearms, wood polearms, Arnathian polearms, fake polearms! If we don’t have it, you don’t want it!

Few weapons in history have had the staggering variety and dizzying complexity as polearms. How does this mesh with dungeon-delving fantasy? Extremely well! Hack and slash players are notorious for tricking out their weapons and squeezing every ounce of utility from them. Few weapons in history have had the breadth of utility that some polearms offer. They can stab, cut, bash, trip, disarm, ensnare, dismount, grapple, etc., and if you have the bad luck of breaking the head, you’re still armed with a staff. That’s pretty nifty delver-bait.

So how many of these are available in Alnwich? A lot of them. They’ve got bills, fauchards, guisarmes, vulges, partisans, ranseurs, spetums, military forks, sovnyas, halberds, poleaxes, and more. They’ve got battlefield weapons, dueling weapons, and ceremonial weapons. They’ve got combination weapons and specialized weapons. So why would a community on the edge of the world boast such variety? For one, they are a very warlike people; only one of their deities isn’t at least a minor god or goddess of war. For another, polearms trace their roots to farming implements, making them readily available nearly anywhere. While I know that may not be enough for historical enthusiasts to content, but if picking nits is your thing, this isn’t the game for you, anyway.

How am I handling all of this variety? Am I making stats for all of these and more? Yes and no. While GURPS Low-Tech offers a pretty good variety of polearms from around the world, it still lacks some of the weapons I mentioned above. But that’s where GURPS Low-Tech Companion 2 – Weapons and Warriors comes in. It provides the backbone of what I used to develop the polearms I’ll eventually get around to mentioning. Where LTC 2 didn’t yield satisfying results, I fudged numbers until they felt right, but I generally tried to avoid doing this.

Before I go much further here, I’d like to address the definition of a polearm for the purposes of this post. I’m looking at weapons that involve putting something dangerous on a long stick that aren’t just spears or just axes. Some of these could fit into a couple of categories, but that’s because the definition of a polearm is vague. What’s worse is that many polearms are basically smaller weapons on longer sticks, for example, the bardiche. So bear with me as I go through these. Just because they don’t meet your idea of polearms doesn’t mean they don’t meet someone else’s.


Polearms of Alnwich


What polearms are available in Alnwich, specifically? I’ll go ahead and list them out, with references to their descriptions in Low-Tech, where applicable.

Bardiche A large axe head, with either a spiked upper tip or additional spear head atop the shaft, mounted on a long haft. The handle, while short enough to technically use from horseback, is more typically used by infantry.

Bill Low-Tech, p. 55.
Bill, Dueling Low-Tech, p. 55.
Fauchard Little more than a weaponized scythe with a spear attached, it can deal brutal slashing blows and double as a spear in formations. A hook is sometimes added to the back of the blade to create a fauchard-fork. Cost and weight aren’t significantly affected, but this enables the use of Hook and inflicts 1d-2 cutting damage. The smaller Dueling Fauchard is often used in personal combat.
Glaive Low-Tech, p. 56.
Glaive, Dueling Low-Tech, p. 56.
Goedendag A large two-handed club with a sharpened spike protruding from its end and multiple spikes lining its striking surface to form makeshift flanges. It can be used to thrust like a spear or crack armor.
Guisarme Descended from a farming implement, this polearm sees a sharpened hook combined with a spike atop its pole. Guisrmes are mostly used for unhorsing cavalry and are often combined with other polearms.
Halberd Low-Tech, p. 56.
Halberd, Dueling Low-Tech, p. 56.
Military Fork A two- or three-tined spear that evolved from the pitchfork. It’s not very good at penetrating armor, but it is devastating against the unarmored.
Partisan This pole weapon straddles the line between polearm and spear. It consists of a broad spearhead with a pair of sharpened crescent-shaped blades below the main blade. The backs of these blades curve upward and prevent impaled foes from running themselves through to reach their attacker.
Plansion A large two-handed club with a sharpened spike protruding from its end. This lets the wielder both swing and thrust with the weapon.
Pollaxe Low-Tech, p. 60.
Ranseur The projections on this partisan-like weapon are not sharpened for slashing, but they are large enough and curved to catch enemy blades.
Sovnya This polearm consists of a falchion-like blade mounted atop a pole usually about the height of its wielder. While similar to a glaive, the blade is not as heavy, and the weapon handles more gracefully.
Spetum A spear with wide, curved prongs that assist with disarming.

Note that while this excludes the great proliferation of combination polearms that existed. This is intentional. I attempted to provide the basis on which those can be made using LTC 2 because, frankly, there are just too many combinations to produce statistics for. Players are more than welcome to ask for these, and I may will provide them as loot or random things laying around the weaponmaker’s shop.

More GURPS Stats for Polearms

Here I will provide my GURPS stats for these weapons. Note that not all weapons that fit the definition of “polearm” are used with the Polearm skill.

Polearm (DX-5, Spear-4, Staff-4, or Two-Handed Axe/Mace-4)

Weapon
Damage
Reach
Parry
Cost
Wt
ST
Notes
Fauchard
or
sw+5 cut
thr+3 imp
2, 3*
1-3*
0U
0U
$150
12
13‡
12‡

Fauchard, Dueling
or
sw+4 cut
thr+3 imp
1, 2*
1, 2*
0U
0U
$120
8
11‡
11†

Guisarme
or
thr+3 imp
thr-2 cut
2, 3*
2, 3*
0U
0U
$115
8
11‡
11†
[7]
Hook. [2 7]
Partisan
or
thr+4 imp
thr+3 cut
1, 2*
2
0U
0U
$120
4.5
10†
10†
[13]
Blades.
Sovnya
or
sw+2 cut
thr+3 imp
1, 2*
2
0
0
$100
6
9†
9†


Spear (DX-5, Polearm-4, or Staff-2)

Military Fork
two hands
thr+3 imp
thr+4 imp
1*
1, 2*
0U
0
$80
5
11
10†
-2 to hit. [7 14 15]
-2 to hit [7 14 15]
Partisan
or
thr+4 imp
thr+3 cut
1, 2*
2
0U
0U
$120
4.5
10†
10†
[13]
Blades.
Ranseur
thr+3 imp
1, 2*
0U
$140
4.5
10†
[7 13]
Spetum
two hands
thr+2 imp
thr+3 imp
1*
1, 2*
0
0
$80
4.5
10
9†
[7 13]
[7 13]

Two-Handed Axe/Mace (DX-5, Axe/Mace-3, Polearm-4, or Two-Handed Flail-4)

Weapon
Damage
Reach
Parry
Cost
Wt
ST
Notes
Bardiche
or
sw+4 cut
thr+3 imp
1, 2*
1, 2*
0U
0U
$100
8
12‡
12†

Goedendag
or
sw+5 cr
thr+3 imp
1, 2*
1, 2*
0U
0
$100
10
13‡
12†

Plansion
or
sw+4 cr
thr+3 imp
1
1
0U
0
$50
5
11†
10†



[1] Can be thrown.
[7] Can strike to disarm (p. B401) without -2 to hit for using a weapon with a non-fencing skill.
[13] Prongs prevent an impaled foe from running himself through to reach his attacker; see Holding a Foe at Bay (GURPS Martial Arts, p. 106).
[14] Target at -1 to Dodge, +1 to Block or Parry.
[15] Damage has a (0.5) armor divisor.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Lessons from the Megadungeon, Part II


I’ve been making a big push for stocking, lately, and in doing so, have come across a few more practices that seem to really help.


Label Rooms & Hallways Clearly


Each room should have a designation unique to it, not only for that level, but for the entire megadungeon. This will help with searches later on. I’ve adopted the following nomenclature:
[Zone Number][Zone Level]-[Room Number or Hallways Letter]
I used Zones because I will have multiple zones at a given depth. They don’t necessarily connect (or do!), but they are distinct areas with distinct features and difficulties. Each zone has multiple levels, so the zone ends up a multi-level construct within the greater dungeon. Rooms get numbers because there are more of them than hallways.
At first I wrestled with how to number rooms (upper left to lower right or whatever) and eventually realized I will be tracking PC movement, not hunting down a particular room on a map by its designation. So I just do whatever makes sense at the time. It’s works out well so far, but I’m sure I’ll regret it later.


Name Rooms


Once you have all of your rooms numbered, go give them names. Nothing super fancy, just a name for what that room is. If you’re not sure, skip it and do it later. Those names will inform what goes in them, how you describe them, etc. Using good room names cuts down on the amount of info you need to mention in the description. Heck, name your hallways, too!


Don't Get Bogged Down in Details


Keep your room descriptions vague. List stats for things the PCs can interact with – doors, locks, chests, traps, monsters, etc., but skip the minor stuff like floor type, wood paneling, ceiling descriptions, etc. You can do that on the fly. Jot it down then. No need to waste time on what you can improvise later.


If You're Not Sure, Skip It


If you get to a room, and you’re not sure what should be in it, what a puzzle is, what trap to use, which monster combination to throw in there, skip it. After you work on the surrounding area, you’ll get some ideas. Or maybe you’ll be showering and think of something. Or an episode of Frontier will give you an idea. Whatever. Doesn’t matter. If you don’t have the idea now, it’s fine. Don’t waste time, and move on to a room you do have an idea for. There’s a lot to stock; don’t get hung up on one room.


That's about it at the moment, but if you have any other suggestions for stocking, please make mention in the comments below. I'm always up for advice on this sort of thing.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Gods of Alnwich: Liekki

Liekki

the Ever-Burning Ember, of the Flame, of the Forge, Preserver of Prophecy



Greater Deity
Sphere of Influence: Craftsmanship, Fire, Fate, and Prophecy.
Symbols: Anvil, Ash, Bellows, Fire, Fox, Hammer & Tongs, Iron, South, a Stranger.
Favored Weapon: Fire. Lots of Fire.
Relationships: None.

Liekki is the divine embodiment of fate whose forge tempers the destinies of men. Through fire, Liekki hardens men into heroes by testing their meddle in a gauntlet of trials and tribulations only to emerge stronger than every they’d have otherwise been. As helmsman of fate, Liekki steers the cosmic world-ship through the entropic seas of future history with the subtlest of nudges – a whispered comment here, a spilled drink there – so as to maintain the workings of prophecy and preserve the order that Karalis spies in his drunken reveries.

Liekki often appears in the mortal world, but never in the same way twice. Only the forms most capable of applying the cleverest pressures will do, and no two situations carry the same needs. So it is that one meeting will see Liekki as a fat, rich, slovenly merchant draped with prostitutes in a brothel and the next, a chaste and pious priestess clad in vestal whites. No matter the shape taken, Liekki never lingers in the mortal realms longer than necessary to push history back on course.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Character Generation for Alnwich

I realized recently that I have glossed over an assumption now for some time regarding my Starfall setting - power level. So today, I'll talk a little bit about the power level I intend to start players at when I eventually run Starfall.

Starfall, as a setting, can handle virtually any power level. There are battles to be fought against bandits and against demon princes, so there's plenty of challenge to go around. Alnwich, however, is being designed with a specific starting power level in mind - 125 points, with [-50] points in disadvantages. I made this decision early on because I knew it would affect a lot of things that followed.

Why 125?

I hemmed and hawed over power level and character creation quite a bit at first. Dungeon Fantasy assumes a starting power level of 250 points, and that feels roughly like being 10th level in Dungeons and Dragons. In short, it's powerful. Very powerful. Not mythic, but well on its way there.

Now I'm all about bringing the awesome, but some of my favorite gameplay in D&D was in the 3rd to 5th level range. More than that, I love seeing how PCs grow and morph organically over their careers. There's something flat about a PC built on 500 points as compared to one that started at 100 points and earned 400 more. As a player, I think there is something satisfying about playing a PC that long and growing him to that level, too. This informed my initial decision to do a Zero-to-Hero game.

Now that we've downselected standard DF starting point values, it falls to decide just how many points to begin with. Basic Set suggests that a good starting point for beginning adventurers is 100 points. I've played such games, and it works. I've also played in 150-point games, where it feels like you're getting your feet under you, but you're still far from godly. I'd call this feeling like about 3rd level. And it works too.

Unfortunately, both of these point values - 100 and 150 points - have one critical issue for me as a GM: neither have premade templates in their point value range! And let me assure you all that making a good template from scratch takes a lot of time and work. So that's a big strike for me. Making the dungeon is already taking all of my time. Thankfully, there's a happy middle ground where there are already templates: 125 points.

DF 15 - Henchmen, one of my favorite DF books, is full of 125-point templates that span all of the original roles and niches present in the previous 14 DF books. No work necessary. So it wasn't hard to decide to pick 125 points as the level I'd be starting people at.

Character Generation
This just left one more detail: exactly how will character generation work? Well I'll tell you...

All PCs may have no more than
  • 125 points total
  • -50 in disadvantages and reduced attributes and secondary characteristics
  • -5 in quirks
The latter two points have a caveat: if you want to take more disadvantages or quirks than this, I am cool with that, but you don't get extra points for them. I'm not going to rain on your concept, but you're electing to disadvantage yourself by doing this.

The following disadvantages do not count against your disadvantage limit
  • Illiteracy [-3]
  • Sense of Duty (Adventuring Companions) [-5]
Furthermore, starting details include
  • Everyone is Human. This is bold and italicized because it is a feature of the setting and nonnegotiable.
  • Everyone starts with a base of $1,000. This is modified for Wealth.
  • Everyone knows each other prior to the game starting.
  • No one has been to Alnwich for years, if at all prior to game start.
  • Everyone is arriving at Alnwich together at the same time.
The lattermost three of these are so the players can get right down to the slaying and looting.

With all of that said, individual players have the option to make their PCs from scratch or to use templates. I won't be imposing penalties on people who make their own PCs, but they will need to work with me so their creations gel with both the setting and the game assumptions. All PCs will have to be submitted for final approval prior to play. This is mostly so I can get a feel for what I'm getting into, but also to spot any potential problems early.

Multiple PC Sheets

I also strongly recommend all players to have more than one PC sheet preapproved when arriving at the gaming table. The reasons for this are twofold.

First, this dungeon isn't wimpy and I'm not fudging dice. If your PC dies, he dies, and if you don't have a backup, you get to go off in a corner and start making a new PC while everyone else plays. That's not fun, so bring at least one spare. We can write your new guy into the party easily enough.

Second, if you show up with a stack of backup PCs, you already know the dungeon is dangerous. Heck, getting to the dungeon is dangerous. You'll be more careful, and you won't be as upset when your PC does die. Because it is a matter of when - not if.

Evolving Point Levels

I expect people to "level up" quickly at first, gaining an average of 5 character points per session very reliably early on. This will peter off eventually as point totals increase and more loot is required to get more points. I don't mind if I eventually end up with PCs in the 500+ point range, but we need to grow into that.

This will beg the question: What about new PCs? There are a few ways to handle this, and it will ultimately come down to a discussion with the players. We could start new PCs at
  1. 125 points always and forever
  2. the lowest number of points in the group
  3. the average of 125 points and the lowest number of points in the group
  4. the average points in the group
  5. the lower the least points in the group and 250 points
  6. something I haven't even thought of yet (suggestions welcome! leave them in the comments)
Of these, #4 just feels wrong because it will shaft, on average assuming a normal distribution, half of the players with living PCs. No thank you. All of the others have merits, especially #6.

In Summary

Alnwich is being developed around an assumed starting point total of 125 points. This has mostly manifested in on this blog in deity write-ups, where notes for creating clerics and holy warriors are based on 125-point Henchmen templates. It is also present behind the scenes, but not to a tremendous degree. I'm not pulling punches with the dungeon, and if PCs drop like flies, that's part of the point. It's meant to be an oldschool dungeon where death is always right around the corner.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Wyvern, Young Adult

Today I offer up my take on the classic wyvern. These are massive beasts have enormous wings, powerful muscles, and breathe fire, but they aren't the intelligent dragons of Lord of the Rings or D&D. These are animalistic monstrosities that carry off cattle to devour in their mountain eyries. That is, I suppose, a kindness to those seeking to slay them.

One other big difference between the classic dragon and perhaps a bit of a pedantic note, wyverns, while dragon-like, have only four limbs - two hind legs and two wings. This is an implicit assumption in this and any other creatures in the sphere of that which is dragon. So without further ado, here's a young adult wyvern:

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Gods of Alnwich: Yaunävä

Yaunävä

of the Beasts, of the Dance, the Huntress, the Virgin



Greater Deity
Sphere of Influence: Animals, forests, hunting, and maidenhood.
Symbols: Acorn, Blood, Bow, Chalice, Dance, Deer, Moon, Silver, Swan, White.
Favored Weapons: Bow and Boar Spear.
Relationships: Daughter of Mënes and sister to Malä.

Yaunävä is the goddess of animals, chastity, hunting, and the natural world. She is the inevitable force of nature that drives every living thing to survive at all costs. Thus, she is a dark goddess – she loves animals and loves hunting them; she ruthlessly persecutes any man who sees her naked; and she is particularly fond of bloody sacrifices. Still, she has a compassionate side. She serves as the goddess of childbirth and often comes to the aid of hunters and those lost in the wilderness – especially those who dedicate themselves to a life of chastity.

Yaunävä most often appears as a young, nubile woman lightly clad with a cape of swan feathers and carrying a bow. She is closely associated with does and stags, and are often accompanied by such.

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Gods of Alnwich: Karalis

Karalis

the Doom-Speaker, Goat-Killer, the Liberator


Greater Deity
Sphere of Influence: Divine Madness, Moon, Prophecy, and Wisdom.
Symbols: Ecstatic Dance, Eye, Horned Helmet, Ivy, Owl, Raven, Serpent, Twilight, Wheel, Wine.
Favored Weapon: Spear or Staff.
Relationships: Married to Sëra and father to Likumä and Korë.

Karalis is the god of wisdom, doom, and madness, and he serves as the chief of the gods. He is the embodiment of cruel, fickle Unreason. His oracular foresight and tremendous knowledge make him a natural leader, but even the other gods often wonder his motives, for those, not even his wife, Sëra knows. While aspects such as doom and madness might appear “Evil,” he is not particularly malicious. He often grants victory in battles, and through his gift of madness, he drives men to great achievements.

While Karalis is widely worshipped, he does things for his own reasons, regardless of sacrifices and prayers. It is believed that Karalis’ power is most strongly felt in living juices, such as blood, sap, and especially wine. Indeed, his rites typically include the consumption of a great deal of wine and numerous blood sacrifices that culminate in a saturnalia. It is during this ritual madness that worshippers give in to their madness, releasing it and permitting them to maintain a firmer grasp on sanity in their daily lives. This is the mystery of sanity through madness often mentioned by his dedicated priests.

Karalis is the patron god of diviners, madmen, and berserkers. He often appears as either an old, bearded man in a broad-brimmed hat and rough cloak or as an attractive, androgynous youth. Other times, he manifests as a raven or a great, black cat.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

GURPSDay Is Here

For those of you GURPSers out there, don't forget that Thursday is GURPSday, which means Doug, over at Gaming Ballistic has posted a pull of all the GURPS blog posts floating around the internet this week. Be sure to go check it out!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

New Divine Element: Dream

Once again, I needed a divine element for a god I was writing up, and upon looking in DF 5 - Allies, it wasn't there. I don't blame the book; it does a great job at what it is meant for. I am just making a more detailed group of deities than it was intended to address. But I digress.

Please enjoy the following divine element intended for deities that govern dreams, nightmares, prophecy, etc. I you have any special requests or have noticed any other gaps in the divine elements presented in DF 5 - Allies, let me know in the comments. I'm all for expanding on that idea.

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Gods of Alnwich: Korë

Korë

the Elk-Maid, Lady Winter, of the Snow Shoes


Greater Deity
Spheres of Influence: Cold, Death, Hunger, and Pain.
Symbols: Elk, Ice, North, Overturned Cup, Sickle, Silver, Skull, Winter.
Favored Weapon: Bow & Spear.
Relationships: Twin sister of Likumä, daughter of Karalis and Sëra, and husband of Pazamë.

Korë is the goddess of winter and everything that brings: death, starvation, and suffering. She is not inherently evil, but there is very little she oversees that is not detrimental to life. Indeed, her demesne is the doom of crops, the maddening hunger in the icy abyss, the grinding glaciers, the unrelenting blizzard, and so on. She is the destroyer of cities, and the harbinger of death. It is only fitting that she is wife to the King of the Underworld, whose halls she fills by means of her icy embrace.

Korë appears as a hardened, aloof woman dressed in seal skins and bear furs with flowing blonde hair and pale, blue eyes. She often appears on skis or snow shoes and carries a horn-backed bow and bone-spear. She is most often accompanied by the all-white elk, Storälg, and rides a sledge pulled by two polar bears.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Malk


Malks are horrific faerie mockeries of grayish-white tigers with overly-fluffy tails and a raspy growl. They are cruel, intelligent, ferocious, and completely given to the power of the Winter Court. Like more mundane cats, they enjoy playing with their food, and will often torture hapless adventurers into madness before finally consuming them.

The malk are sometimes called displacer beasts because of the preternatural illusions that impregnate its fur. Anyone who tries to actively find or aim at a malk almost always finds himself pointed in the wrong direction. This is purely the result of an illusion; the beast was never where he thought it was in the first place. If this isn’t bad enough, malks can fade from sight and move in complete silence. These two abilities make them consummate hunters and brutal predators.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Cateblepas


This sorry-looking faerie beast resembles an auroch or wisent, but with an elongated neck and oversized head, the sheer weight of which seems an onus the creature simply cannot bear. Some believe they are the result of an ancient hag’s curse, but such stories are hardly worth the air spent telling them. In any case, they are gentle creatures who prefer the desolation of swamps and bogs where they can relax partially submerged in the still waters in solitude. If threatened or spooked, it will exude a noxious cloud that rapidly turns anyone caught within it to stone.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

New Vehicle Options for Alnwich

The region around the Trollenmere gets pretty cold in the winter, and there are two months that always have at least a foot of standing snow, with other months often having that much. This raises some logistical issues for adventurers. They need to get to the dungeon, but more importantly, they need to transport loot back from the dungeon. Normally, this can be done easily enough with wagons and oxcarts, but when the snow sets in, such vehicles can get bogged down.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Iron Hide


10 / 15 / 20
Power: Body Mastery.
Prerequisites: Body Awareness 1.

Your control over your body lets you take tremendous blows without feeling pain, and eventually without suffering injury. At first level, you no longer suffer stun penalties, have all penalties from various pain conditions halved, and enjoy a +3 bonus to any rolls that involve resisting the effects of pain.

At second, you gain DR 2. This DR is natural and does not reduce blunt trauma damage or prevent contact effects from affecting you. Furthermore, any follow-up effect whose carrier inflicts exactly zero or more damage after this damage resistance still affects you. At third level, this DR increases to 4.

Enhanced Skills: +2 to Autohypnosis, Meditation, and any rolls to enter a trance.


Statistics: High Pain Threshold (PM, -10%) [9] + Autotrance. At second and third level, add Damage Resistance 2 (PM, -10%; Tough Skin, -40%) [5/level].

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Friday, November 30, 2018

Starfall Progress Report

Today, I can happily say that another zone is fully mapped out. One more, and this megadungeon should be ready to start receiving delvers. Of course, I won't really have time to run a game until this summer, but that just lets me get ahead a bit. Mind you, I still have to stock this zone, but I've got some ideas. (Cue the evil laughter.)

In other news, I have been plugging away at the gods of Alnwich and have made a good bit of progress on that front. They all have unique spell lists and ability lists for their Divine Favor. I still need to go through them all and provide information on making priests and holy warriors for each one, and a bit of fluffy background, but the lot of them are getting nearer to completion. After the gods are finished, the only thing I have left to do on the player-facing side is bang out a Mystic template and keep making abilities.

On the GM-facing side, I still need more encounter tables and monsters. You can never have too many monsters. I am finding that the work on the encounter tables is somewhat driving the monster development, as is the stocking process. I've not been particularly hesitant to create custom monsters for encounters, and I really hope that unknown aspect helps keep player son their toes.

I also need to get back to polishing up the planned guilds for Alnwich, too. I have a couple of secret ones already done. Sorry, I won't post those until players interact with them sufficiently to warrant them finding out their details, too. I was also toying with making monster guilds for down in the dungeon, but that might be (a) too much detail and (b) not the best use of time at the present. Monster guilds will have to wait to be a thing.

Lastly, and I suppose this falls under player-facing, too, I want to take a little time to make a few more vehicle options for the PCs. I don't know how they intend to travel, but if they go by land, they currently only have a few options. So I'm looking to make a few different size sleds and create some modifiers for carts to help with winter operations.

So with that, you know where I'm at. Hopefully you'll see the deities get ticked off the list and posted soonest, followed by guilds and vehicles. I really want to get the player-facing stuff done. That way it's all about the mapping and stocking. And then the playing. Oh I can't wait for the playing...

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

New Divine Element: Madness

Today I tried to lay out the elements for the divine servitors of one of my gods, and I realized that DF 5 - Allies doesn't have a Madness element. Considering the prevalence of "divine madness" in European pagan faiths, I was really shocked. So I made one:

Monday, November 26, 2018

Lessons from the Megadungeon

I've been working on this megadungeon for quite a while now, and I think I'm starting to come across a few best practices. I'll go over what I've learned so far here for you today.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Mystical Protection


24 / 51 / 120
Power: Body Mastery.
Prerequisites: Body Awareness 2.

You have developed a strong resistance to the mystical powers of others. This is not detectable, and at first level, reduces damage taken from mystical abilities by 3 and grants a +3 bonus to all rolls to resist them. This damage reduction and resistance bonus increases to 8 and +3, respectively. Finally, at third level, your resistance increases to DR 20 and you automatically succeed any resistance rolls.

Your Body Awareness level must be at least twice that of your Mystical Protection level.

Enhanced Skills: +4 to Mental Strength and Mind Block to resist mystical abilities.


Statistics: At first level, this is Resistant to Mystical Abilities (+3) [10] + Damage Resistance 3 (Limited, Mystical Abilities, -20%; No Signature, +20%; PM, -10%) [14]. At second level, this increases to Resistant to Mystical Abilities (+8) [15] + Damage Resistance 8 (Limited, Mystical Abilities, -20%; No Signature, +20%; PM, -10%) [36], and at third level, this becomes Immunity to Mystical Abilities [30] + Damage Resistance 20 (Limited, Mystical Abilities, -20%; No Signature, +20%; PM, -10%) [90].

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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Bulette


These heavily armored nightmares combine the most horrid characteristics of wolverines, sharks, and armadillos. They burrow through the earth hunting anything the sheep-size or larger underground or above ground. When stalking terrestrial prey, a bulette will burrow beneath its prey and then burst through the earth beneath its feet with maw gaping. This almost always catches its prey by surprise. Fortunately, however, bulettes are solitary creatures and generally hunt alone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

But These Goblins Are Different!


I’m tired of generic monsters. I mean, how many times have you heard, “You see four goblins…” or the like? Is that interesting? Is that engaging? Not really. So how do we make our sentient monsters different? How do we make them pop? Today, I’m going to discuss a couple of easy ideas that will immediately give your monsters character and definition, and it’s not all that difficult.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Soul Shield


1 point / level
Power: Body Mastery.
Prerequisites: Body Awareness 1.
Activation Cost: 1 FP.

Activation Roll: Will/2 + 3.

You can summon a spiritual shield of pure will to protect you against attacks of any kind. This requires you to spend 1 FP and make a successful roll against Will/2 + 3, at +1 for Combat Reflexes and +1 per level of Body Awareness. Each additional use that turn costs another 1 FP and imposes a cumulative -4 penalty on the success roll.

The shield has ablative DR equal to your Soul Shield level; for every point of damage it absorbs, its total DR is reduced by 1 until it is gone. This DR regenerates fully after five minutes of nonuse. It is safe for GMs to assume that time between encounters is usually long enough for this to occur.

A Soul Shield cannot be perceived without magical or mystical means. To those fighting a mystic with this ability, blows seem to be glancing or just narrowly miss him.

Statistics: Damage Resistance (Ablative, -80%; Active Defense, -40%; Based on Will, +20%; Costs 1 FP, -10%; Force Field, +20%; No Signature, +20%; PM, -10%) [1/level].

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Guilds of Alnwich: Eklund Clan

The Eklund Clan


Rank: Rank 0 to 3.
In Charge: Kari (Cleric of Yaunävä).
In the Ranks: Agents, archers, initiates, native guides, skirmishers, and non-adventuring people.
On the Payroll: Laborers, servants, and non-adventuring people.
Influencing the AR: Savoir-Faire (High Society).

The Eklund Clan is one the oldest families in Alnwich, and they proudly trace their ancestory back to the Skidafolk who populated the area before Usk rule. They have made their living from time immemorial hunting, trapping, and trading in meats, leathers, and furs. Since the fur boom, the Eklunds, who were never especially poor, have come into a tremendous amount of wealth selling their wares to the RMS and providing guides and transport services in the wilderlands.

While the Eklunds have the largest share of the raw pelt market of any single organization, they still have their competitors: the Holts, the newcomer Dahlgaards, and the other smaller companies. It’s hard to tell who the Eklunds dislike more, though. They see the Dahlgaards as outsiders trying to take what rightly belongs to Alnwich, and they have been in a cold feud with the Holts for two generations over a wedding that fell through. They generally don’t see the smaller companies as a threat to their business, though.