Indulgent Setting Detail Part 2: Politics

Now we take a break from writing rules and self-indulgent physical musings for my campaign, and turn instead to self-indulgent setting geography. What exactly is happening on the surface of this ring?

The first thing everyone notices is that almost all of the ring is covered in hell-blasted magic-nuclear wasteland, meaning that of its ludicrous surface area of 36 billion square kilometers, somewhere between 100 to 200 million square kilometers is actually what would traditionally considered habitable, though pockets of society and life exist in the Empty Ring.

The habitable ring consists of four continents packed around a massive tower that stretches from the ring’s surface all the way to the center. It is massive and visible anywhere on the ring. Generally it is called the Tower of Heaven in whatever language. Two continents on the same landmass (called as a whole Julbil, Yubi, or Yelas) as the tower are divided by plateaus, mountains, and steppes, and reach up to one edge of the ring, the tower’s base being their “southern” boundary, while another continent is antezephyr and “south” of that landmass (called Akerhta). A third landmass stands zephyr to Julbil, across another ocean. To the antezephyr of the continents is an ocean that insulates them from the worse of the hell-blasted bullshit in the Empty Ring. Xul, Ulos, or Xiule (the Zephyr-most continent) is connected to the Empty Ring by land and presumably have things much worse.

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The weird elongated plus signs are steppes. The arrow points zephyr, and the big black area are the impassable border mountains of the ring. From side to side is ~1700 km

The campaign is taking place on the antezephyrine part of the tower landmass, which is called Fengdi, Eurus, or Sulminui, near the border of the sister continent. Its zephyrine counterpart is Zephyria, or Xidao, or Suladui. The attached map shows almost all of Fengdi, and probably a third of Zephyria. The campaign takes place in and around the city of Mendicant, here seen in the center of the light blue outline above the dark blue outline. To its zephyr in the same color is the various salt-towns, and to its antezephyr is the town of Kindness. All of them are located more or less along the largest trade vein passing from one continent to the other. All of them are also tributaries of the Zhylr Empire (dark blue), and all of them more or less occupy territory that once belonged to nomadic horse tribes. Mendicant recently entered into a war with a group of nomads led by one Oran Khan (I kept rolling nomads for random encounters) and reeling from a chevauchee to their northern periphery.

For the rest of this section, I’m going to refer as the direction towards the closest edge as “egdewise” and the opposite as “endwise”, since in this case it’s clear what I mean and also captures the infuriating lack of clarity that sometimes develops when languages try to try direction.

Endwise of those is the massive Zhylr Empire, the rising star of Fengdi’s political arena. About 50 years ago, the eponymous Zhylrs sold themselves out as mercenaries for the Bright Empire of Fengdi (Mingfengdi, outlined in red) against the various nomadic tribes that were encroaching on their territory. They were so successful (owing to their shock cavalry tactics mixed with destructive magicks) that when they returned to their native deserts and steppes they were able to unite the people there under their rule. Nowadays, they maintain a moiety with the Zhylrs on top, and the people of the Dzo forming the rest. Zhylrs themselves are elusive in the extreme, and only seen in public veiled and clothed. The steppe nomads (Kuluks) claim they aren’t human.

Mingfengdi has fallen far from its former glory. The overthrow of the previous Cong dynasty removed the dread influence of the Eunuch Mages (the wizarding university far edgewise to the empire, long story how it got there), but the Zeng successors were unable to maintain central authority, and the empire now exists as a series of competing feudal states. To their edgewise in the yellow is a Kuluk state carved out of former imperial territory. In fact, even more of the edgewise territories once fell under the empire’s sway, but has since been turned back over to small tribes of steppe nomads, too small to map.  The same could be said for the end-wise areas, with the breakaway state in pink having rebelled and won full independence. Now the Zhylr Empire also encroaches on their territory, in the cross-hatched area. The towns of Mendicant and Kindness are mostly Gen, the primary ethnicity of the Bright Empire, since the invasions of the Kuluk displaced many, and now the Zhylr invasion combined with a period of civil wars has caused yet another refugee crisis to sweep over the trading towns.

The current emperor (or more appropriately, his marshals and ministers) have stabilized the hemorrhaging of territory and prosperity, and most of the civil wars have come to an end. The conservative Zhylrs have also withdrawn after extracting territorial concessions, not wanting to risk their shock cavalry/upper classes against an organized opponent. Also within the empire is the University of Huaidi, where wizards from this part of the world go to be trained.

The huge plateau outlined in purple is the Plateau of Bod, and is occupied by the Bodian Empire, which similarly has stumbled upon troubles and currently has been facing 15 years of semi-continuous succession crises. Tribalism also runs amok, and the empire barely functions at all.

The islands to the ante-zephyr of all of this had a huge war nearly a century ago between the worshippers of fire giants, and the adherents of an abrahamic religion (different parts of Japan). The fire giants won, and their territory is outlined in brown.

Finally, we have Zephyria. The mountains in light blue are the Sky Elves (really just half-elves that figured out how to survive in mountains), and adjacent to them in brown is another group of forest elves that ride specially bred horses and can match the nomads.

The green is the Leagues and Tribes of Barinthia (based on Bactria) with smaller divisions to fine to show. Mostly they have tribes to their edge and more city-states/towns towards the coasts. They fight the Laytinid Empire (Persia) to their end, and also have the University of Pol Ankura, where wizards are trained.

That’s everything labelled. The areas not included tend to have nomadic tribes or tribal kingdoms too small to bother with, and I also want to keep parts of the map open for other stuff.  

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Indulgent Setting Details Part 1: Bishop Ring

I’m running a new campaign. I ended up as DM because I ended up having the most experience with D&D, despite that being almost none at all. My world takes place on a massive bishop ring. This post will talk about some of the implications of running a campaign in such a world. For the uninitiated: Bishop Rings

First, some base assumptions about what sort of campaign I want to run.

  1. This is fantasy, not Sci-Fi. Despite the setting taking place on a structure traditionally seen in Sci-Fi, the people living on it will your typical agricultural society. The people who built the ring will have, even in their prime, built temples out of stone. Swords and spears. No rayguns.
  2. The ring has natural terrain, or appears too. Even though it was obviously (to us) artificially constructed, for some reason it still has mountains and deserts and bogs.
  3. Low-magic. Wizards, Sorcerers, and Adepts all exist but are relatively rare. Magic doesn’t replace technology, but did compliment it in the case of the Ring-Builders.
  4. Fallen World. The ring has seen better days.  Large swathes of wilderness. Their might’ve been an apocalypse, but if there was it was a long time ago. People are more concerned with the breakdown of what centralized authority there once was. You know the deal.

Size and the Lie of Gravity

So, the ring. Gravity normally wouldn’t affect those on the interior of the ring, but the rings rotation can provide a facsimile of gravity, which it does. It completes a rotation every day, for reasons that will become obvious shortly. The exact size and radius of the ring can be determined later. The edges are massive mountains, miles high, designed to keep the air in.

To provide Earth-like gravity while having an orbital period of 24 hours, we need the equation

a ~ 10 m/s = r(2pi/T)^2

Where a is the centripetal acceleration (the “gravity of this planet”), T is the period of rotation (24 hours) and r is the radius of the ring. Solving for r, I get 1.9 million kilometers. This is very large, which isn’t necessarily ridiculous. Okay, building such a structure is, but they had magic. No, in the grand scheme of inter system scales, a million kilometers is almost nothing. The distance difference between Venus and Earth from the sun is 40 million kilometers, and 70 million in the case of Mars and Earth. Fuck it, we’ll go with it.

The land area of the ring is simply the circumference of the ring times the thickness. For thickness we’ll say 3000km, so we get an inner surface area of 36 billion square kilometers. A lot of this will probably be taken over by radioactive blasted hellscape deserts and oceans.

Tides are going to be ridiculous due to the massive radius of the ring, but I have an idea for that later on.

Sky, Night and Day

For the day and night cycle, I originally had a convoluted idea involving solar shades that were destroyed, cobbled together and suspended from a giant tower that extended to the center of the ring, but discarded it because it was too complex and probably wouldn’t work the way I wanted. Instead I’m going with an axial tilt that casts half the ring in light and the other half in its own shadow. The solar shades still existed at one point and were wrecked, and I love the central tower so much that I’m keeping it, but this just makes thing simpler. In reality, their may not be an axial tilt that exactly accomplishes this due to the geometry of the ring, as it may not be wide enough to occlude the sun. Technically I have enough physics/astronomy background to figure out if this is true… but for now we’ll say there are long sunsets and sunrises. At the outer edge of the border mountains, 200km up, day is probably constant.

This has the added effect of making the equinoxes periods of darkness, as one half of the ring is in the shadow of the other half, a process which probably lasts a few days. I could use the apparent size of the other half of the ring to actually calculate the duration of equinox eclipse, but I feel that probably isn’t needed at this point. The other half of the ring is nearly always visible, and is the brightest object in the night sky, by far.

Seasons are trickier. I could do away with them entirely and make book keeping a lot easier, but I feel most agricultural societies almost need some kind of consistent season cycle to function. The way seasons work on Earth isn’t going to work here; every part of the ring passes under the area of direct sunlight because of geometry. Right now I’m playing with a highly elliptical orbit, but that locks me into loooooooooong winters. I’m also considering making the star the ring orbits a binary, with a resonance between the dimmer companion’s orbit around the barycenter and the rings orbit, but I’m not sure if occlusion by the dimmer companion would actually lower the energy received by the ring enough to cause a seasonal change. I’m still looking into it, but now that I think about it, that could be really cool. It doesn’t even have to be a companion per se, maybe just a large planet or brown dwarf closer in. What the hell, its in. If we can use occlusion methods to detect binaries, then they can probably cause seasons. A solar eclipse can cause the temperature to drop by several degrees, so I feel this is a reasonable enough approximation.

The seasons are provided by a brown giant (really, they ought to be called purple giants, as they are hypothesized to be magenta in color) with a 2:1 orbital resonance with the ring. For part of the year, every year, the brown giant is between the ring and its bright F-type star. The brown giant is so large that it take a few months to move out of the way entirely. The solstices are when the dwarf is in inferior conjunction (directly between the sun and ring) or at superior conjunction, where it is directly on the opposite side of the sun. I could do some calculations with apparent size and flux, but that shouldn’t be strictly necessary for now.

Climate

Other considerations include wind patterns, terrain, and the underground. My knowledge of atmospheric science is limited, but I understand that most of the prevailing wind directions speeds are determined by temperature differences at the poles and equator, neither of which exist on a ring world (well, not in the same way anyway). So I can’t help but feel the wind will, because of inertia and relative motion, appear to be blowing in the direction opposite the rings rotation, as a general rule. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say that breezes in this direction are near constant, and are often used as a navigational tool by the inhabitants. Directions aren’t called East and West, they’re called Zephyr and Anti-Zephyr, with or against the wind. How seasons affect this is yet to be determined but I imagine summer will be stormy times for coasts facing Anti-Zephyr. The Northern and Southern directions are not nearly so universal.

I imagine due to the cooling effects of the border mountain, the “northern” and “southern” regions will actually be cooler than central regions, sort of like what we see on Earth because of insolation differences at different latitudes. Coastal regions bordering the mountains will especially be affected, since the cold water flowing down from the mountains will cool the nearby oceans.

The Deep

The underground can be whatever we want to be. I like how the Classical Mayan’s imagined the underworld as watery place, in addition to a dark and dangerous one. The creators used their underground areas to store dangerous things, in addition to water, both fresh and salt. Remember the tides I mentioned earlier? Well, conventional knowledge and long derivations say that the tides will want to bulge out towards the sun on the close side of the ring and away from it on the far side, but all the water is stored on the inner surface of the ring. What if the underground areas of the ring were designed to store some of this water, and give it a place to go, to prevent them from being too extreme? That could work.

Cenotes will be common on the ring, and were once access ports to these repositories that have long since eroded to more natural shapes, and covered with lakes and rivers in wetter areas. Like many cenotes, the underground as a whole will be split into two layers: freshwater and saltwater below, because its heavier. The layers aren’t at discrete depths, or necessarily even continuous with themselves throughout the entire circumference. Naturally, the underworld dotted with submerged caves  filled with the accumulated and dangerous castoffs of the previous civilizations that inhabited the ring. Below the reservoirs/caves are the control structures of the ring, not made of stone but of wondrous materials capable of holding this mess together.

I’ve also decided that the progenitors of the ring will take some Mayan flavor. Arcane script, the language of magic and wizards will be visually similar to Mayan glyphs, for example

NEXT TIME: The setting details that people are likely to actually care about. History and geography.

New Campaign + The Adept

I’m running a new campaign, starting this Saturday.  I’m going to use a few of my own rules. Most of these are adapted from various unpublished systems/fragments my brother used for his campaign. While I’m here, I’m going to go ahead and plug his blog: kill your dungeon master

The most glaringly obvious change in my system is the removal of the cleric in favor of the Adept class. The Adept represents any spellcasting class that doesn’t get its power from study, like wizards. The Adept is meant to include (at least thematically) the characters typically divvied up into Paladin, Sorcerer, Druid, Monk, and Cleric, and is thus highly customizable. All of the classes that I will be using will have this feature- there will only be four classes, but each one can do wildly different things. Again, I got this idea from my brother’s first few attempts at a homebrew system. 

The below table represents the “shell” of the class. How the Adept actually plays, and what they are actually capable of depends on the specific “Way” of the given Adept. Adepts are united by their spell casting mechanics, which use power points. As an Adept levels, they can generally expect to gain powers that can be spontaneously cast as long as enough points are available.

Level Experience BAB HP Power Points BR DT PT CH SP TR
1 2000 +1 1d6+CON 1 16 16 16 16 16 16
2 4000 +1 2d6+CON 2 16 16 16 16 16 16
3 8000 +2 3d6+CON 3 14 14 14 14 14 14
4 16000 +2 4d6+CON 5 14 14 14 14 14 14
5 32000 +3 5d6+CON 8 12 12 12 12 12 12
6 64000 +3 5d6+CON 11 12 12 12 12 12 12
7 128000 +3 5d6+CON 14 12 12 12 12 12 12
8 256000 +3 5d6+CON 17 12 12 12 12 12 12
9 500000 +4 6d6+CON 20 10 10 10 10 10 10

As will soon be seen, this is not at all representative of the abilities and benefits of a player character Adept. Ideally, each type of Adept will probably have their own table, and I use this as a starting point. The only thing that should be constant is experience and, in most cases, HP.

 

The Way

Spells, special abilities, drawbacks, additional spell points, additional saves, and additional to-hit bonuses (in the case of particularly martial orders/religions) are all determined by the specific religion (or even sub-order of a religion!) adhered to by the Adept. You could even have special kill-counting perks* for martial orders. This usually means additional observances that the character must, uh, observe. The penalty for not following these observances is up to you- in a low-fantasy setting this usually just means mundane punishments dealt out by the order: expulsion, exile, execution, etc. Sorcerers are effectively Adepts without a religion and a shit ton of power points. 

A note on powers/miracles/initiations for the Adept class: They are not prepared, and have a base point cost and potentially a corollary available for additional cost. The normal rules for casting apply**. As there is no spell level associated with powers, in general Adept spells are far more reliable than wizards, but also tend to be less flashy and immediately powerful. Many can also wear armor without a penalty to casting, and generally don’t have to roll mishaps. The exception for this is Sorcerers.

Gaining powers also depends on the actual religion. The more organized religions probably have their adepts pick. Disorganized religions probably have a mix of randomly gained and deliberately chosen powers, and sorcerers/shamans are random (with a possible caveat that I’ll explore when I actually get around to writing the class). Some of them, like the one below are actually a mix of these.

*from the fighter class in the GLOG, but my brother designed (at least partially) a tree (or several) for each type of weapon, something I also intend to use.

**the system I intend to use has a spell casting roll, that works in things like spell failure and spell retention.

 

Houhai Disciple

In my setting, there is an empire. Well, several, actually, but the one the players will be near to/inside of is/was formed on the basis of strict two-class system. I’ll get into the specifics of it later, but basically each of the two classes in the society has its own cult. This one represents the junior class in society, which worships a tricky (but servile!) monkey god. Their disciples are usually tanky, tricky, and disruptive in a fight. Nowadays many of the disciples serve as a kind of special forces/secret police role in the greater empire, but there are monasteries that don’t serve the government- directly, anyway.

Observances

  • Draw No Blood.
  • Never Disobey Your Leader.
  • Do Not Allow Someone to Suffer in Your Stead.
  • Do Not Harm Children.


Perks

  • No penalty for casting in any armor.
  • Immediately gain Expertise (Weapon Mastery) for any bludgeoning melee weapon and gain that weapon. (unlocks kill counting for this specific weapon)

 

Level Experience BAB HP Power Points BR DT PT CH SP TR
1 2000 +1 1d6+CON 1 15 12 15 16 16 15
2 4000 +1 2d6+CON 2 15 12 15 16 16 15
3 8000 +2 3d6+CON 3 13 10 13 14 14 13
4 16000 +2 4d6+CON 5 13 10 13 14 14 13
5 32000 +3 5d6+CON 8 11 8 11 12 12 11
6 64000 +3 5d6+CON 11 11 8 11 12 12 11
7 128000 +3 5d6+CON 14 11 8 11 12 12 11
8 256000 +3 5d6+CON 17 11 8 11 12 12 11
9 500000 +4 6d6+CON 20 9 6 9 10 10 9

 

Powers

Level 1

Gain both.

Monkey Leap 1P D: Instant T: Self

Bound forward up to (MV+1)*10 ft instead of moving normally, and add 1 to damage if attacking someone at the end of the move.

Corollary 3P- Leap a distance of 2MV*10 ft instead, but you are unable to attack at the end.

Note: MV is yet another invention of my brother’s that abstracts overland, combat, and dungeoneering movement into a single statistic. For now, all you need to know is that each point in MV = 10ft of movement in combat.

Monkey Stand 1P D: Concentration T: Self

Lock yourself in place, requiring STR 20 to displace as long as you remain stationary. Save if you take damage or the spell ends.

Corollary 1P- This may be cast as a reaction.

Corollary 4P- If you pass the save against damage, it is reflected back at the source. You still take the damage.


Level 2

Pick 1

Invigorate 2P D: 1 Turn T:Self

Fill yourself with life energy, gaining 1d10 temporary health.

Corollary 2P: gain an extra 1d6 of health for each additional PP. Incrementable, cost increases by one per increment.

Feather 2P D:Instant T: Object or Creature R:100’

You make an object or creature the size of a human the weight of a feather, either for one round or, if airborne, until it lands. Most objects will fall about 2’ per second so affected. Can be cast as a reaction.

Corollary 1P: The creature/object affected increases by 1 SZ.

 

Level 3

Pick 2

Deafness 2P  D:1 Turn   T:Creature   R: 5*LVL ft   Sv CH Negates

Target creature becomes unable to hear.

Silence 2P  D:1 Turn  T:Creature   R: 5*LVL ft  Sv CH Negates

Target creature becomes unable to speak.

Fool’s Strike 3P   D:1 Round    T:Self

On your next attack with a bludgeoning weapon, instead of dealing damage, move a target (weapon damage die) * 10 ft in a given direction. Crashing into a wall or another person inflicts the remaining movement/10 as damage to both.

Corollary (S)P- may apply (S) bonus for the purposes of calculating damage/distance

Fool’s Gambit 3P  D:1d6 Rounds   T:Self

You conjure two images of yourself, causing the next attack against you to have a 1/3rd chance of missing. Images disappear when struck.

Corollary 4P- conjure two additional images

Level 4

Pick 3

Blindness 2P  D:1 Turn   T:Creature   R: 5*LVL ft  Sv CH
Target creature is struck utterly blind for the duration.

Monkey’s Coin 3P  D:1 Turn   T:Self  

The Houhai Disciple manipulates fate, causing the next roll they make to be either 1 or 20.

Corollary 2P- instead targets the next attack or spellcasting roll with the disciple as the target.

Feeblemindedness 2P  D:1d4 rounds  T:Creature   R: 5*LVL ft  Sv CH

Target creature is struck utterly stupid, such that their Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma are 1 for the duration of the spell

Clangor 2P  D:Concentration  R: 10*LVL (max 50) feet diameter  Sv SP Negates

By releasing an unpleasant howl, the disciple causes everyone within range to become dazed (-1 to all rolls and no reactions). Once a creature saves, they are immune to the effect for the rest of the combat.

Corollary 2P – Affected creatures also receive your WIS bonus as a penalty to all rolls.

Corollary 2P – Affected creatures are stunned (either move or attack, -2 to all rolls) instead of dazed.

Shake 5P  T: Self  R: 10’ ft radius circle Sv BR Negates

The disciple slams their weapon on the ground, dealing their weapon damage, and knocking all in the area prone, with their Strength bonus as a penalty to the save.

Corollary 5P – increase the radius of effect by 10*STR bonus

Level 5

Pick 4

Minimize 2+Target SZ squared P  D: 1 Turn   T:Self

The disciple shrinks themselves, gaining a strength penalty equal to the sum of all the SZ changes while gaining 2 plus that sum to AC.  Damage die for weapons is reduced by one size per SZ.(So SZ 0 to -3 would be 1+2+3 = 6 Strength penalty, and +8 AC)

Maximize 2+Target SZ squared P  D: 1 Turn   T: Self   

The disciple grows in size, gaining a strength bonus to equal to all the SZ changes and losing that sum plus 2 to AC. Damage die for weapons is increased by one size per SZ. Sufficient room to grow must be available, otherwise this spell fails.

Note on SZ: yet another of my brother’s inventions. SZ 0 is human sized. Negatives are smaller, positives larger. Goes 4 categories in each direction; creatures larger than or smaller than that have special rules. 

Monkey’s Blessing 6P  D: 1 Turn   T: Self

The disciple channels the wily nature of their deity, becoming slippery and impossible to hit. For the duration, the disciple can not be struck by a counter-attack or attack of opportunity, and gains +2 to all saves as long as they did not attack this round.

Monkey’s Curse 6P  D: 1d6 rounds   T: Creature   R: 5*LVL ft

The disciple lays a divine curse upon a target they have not dealt damage to recently, causing them to immediately fail one kind of save caused by the disciple’s powers or abilities.

Invisibility 6P  D: 1 hour/LVL  T:Self  

The disciple turns invisible. The disciple is not silent, and the spell ends early if they attack someone.  

Monkeyhide 6P  D: 1d6 rounds  T:Self

The disciple toughens themselves against assault, reducing all incoming damage by 1 per die as long as the disciple has not attacked the source this round.

Corollary 6P – reduce incoming damage by 2 per die instead.

Screech 4P  D:1 Turn   T:Creature   R:15 ft   Sv SP Negates

The disciple emits a frightful supersonic screech, dealing 5d6 sonic damage to all those caught in the area and stunning them for 1d4 rounds. This will also shatter glass and other fragile objects.

Corollary 2P – deal no damage, but those in the area of effect are automatically stunned for 1d6 rounds.

Decoy 2P  D:1 Turn   T:Creature   R: 5*LVL ft

The disciple disappears, a nearby object no larger than the disciple (and no smaller than their) clenched fist) taking their place. The monkey disciple reappears where the object was. This MUST be cast as a reaction to an attack

Corollary 4P- instead switch places with a willing target.

Note: in general, classes have a an achievement gap at levels 6-9 where they progression as more effective killing machines halts for a bit. This idea was revealed to my brother* in a dream, and therefore must be valid. It also has the effect of bringing characters into the domain game earlier and closing the gulf between higher and lower level characters is less drastic (though not so small as GLOG characters). 

 

Level 9

Gain one randomly rolled.

Miraculous Sense 30P  T:Creature   R:Touch  

The disciple channels their holy power to return sensation, sanity, or ability to a willing target. This spell can cure blindness, deafness, the loss of any other sense, feeblemindedness and insanity, as well as wake someone from a coma or allow a crippled person to walk again.

Earthquake 20P  D: 1 Turn  T:Creature   R:100 ft radius circle   Sv CH

The disciple, by merely touching the ground, causes a great tremor to affect a local area around the disciple. For 1d4 rounds no creature in the area of effect can move or act, and take 6d6 damage. Further effects determined by the terrain the spell is cast in. (blatantly stolen from SRD)

Cave, Cavern, or Tunnel

The spell collapses the roof, dealing 8d6 points of bludgeoning damage to any creature caught under the cave-in (Sv BR half) and pinning that creature beneath the rubble (see below). An earthquake cast on the roof of a very large cavern could also endanger those outside the actual area but below the falling debris.

Cliffs

Earthquake causes a cliff to crumble, creating a landslide that travels horizontally as far as it fell vertically. Any creature in the path takes 8d6 points of bludgeoning damage (Sv BR half) and is pinned beneath the rubble (see below).

Open Ground

Each creature standing in the area falls down. Fissures open in the earth, and every creature on the ground must save vs Breath or fall into a fissure 20 feet deep.

Structure

Any structure standing on open ground takes 100 points of damage, enough to collapse a typical wooden, masonry building, stone, or reinforced masonry, but probably not a massive curtain wall. Any creature caught inside a collapsing structure takes 8d6 points of bludgeoning damage (Sv BR half) and is pinned beneath the rubble (see below).

River, Lake, or Marsh

Fissures open underneath the water, draining away the water from that area and forming muddy ground. Soggy marsh or swampland becomes quicksand for the duration of the spell, sucking down creatures and structures. Each creature in the area must make a save vs Breath or sink down in the mud and quicksand. At the end of the spell, the rest of the body of water rushes in to replace the drained water, possibly drowning those caught in the mud.

Pinned beneath Rubble

Any creature pinned beneath rubble takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per minute while pinned. If a pinned character falls unconscious, he or she must make a save against Death or take 1d6 points of lethal damage each minute thereafter until freed or dead.

Monkey Walk 10P  D: 1 day T:Self  

The disciple becomes extremely fleet of foot, moving at double rate and becoming able to freely walk on ceilings, walls, or any surface wider than a hand across.

Corollary 10P- Increase the MV multiplier by 1.

UP NEXT IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: Some worldbuilding nonsense for my ringworld setting, two/three more Adept subclasses, short explanation of classes and other game mechanics I’ll use.

*Did I mention he has a blog? I’m going to mention it again. Check it out here: kill your dungeon master

 

Artifacts of Nature

Tigerkin Cloak

A half cloak made from a skinned tiger, slashed down the length. Old and stained brown with blood. Once belonged to a hunter who learned his trade from tigers, and turned against them for profit.

You are invisible when standing still in forest environments. All attacks against the rear are made at +4 and deal double damage. However, rear attacks against you also have this effect.

Fly Thief’s Rod

A large ragged stick with many circular holes. Things seem to be moving in the dark gaps, but a close examination reveals nothing. One end is sharp. Many daring escapes were made by the eccentric thief that once carried this artifact.

With a sacrifice of blood (lose half of max HP) you may make an insect or arachnid massive. The insect’s demeanor towards you on 2d6: 2-3 actively attacking you 4-10 ambivalent/confused >10 loyal. The insect will die after 6 hours.

Ash Eating Scarab

A small brass scarab, plain and scorched. Found discarded in a burnt orchard following a famine that killed half a nation. Chirps and buzzes maliciously.

Planting the scarab on any tree causes it to lay an egg within. In a 1d10 rounds, the tree will burst into flames, becoming a fire elemental as tall as the tree that created it (and of appropriate size). The fire elemental owes the owner no allegiance and will immediately seek to consume more burnable material.

Dreamer’s Owl

An apparently dead, tiny, stuffed owl. Grey, with amber eyes, and an angry face. The result of a failed experiment by a wizard.

By whispering a name and description in the owl’s ear-hole, one can cause the owl’s specter to appear in the target’s dream and deliver a message. Each night the owner will dream of a forest with a chorus of hooting, and has a one-in-ten chance of meeting the owl’s cranky ghost, whereupon they can ask it a question. It knows everything there is to know about every forest in the world and is generally far smarter than most humans.

Feather of the God-Crow

A massive black feather, the length of someone’s forearm. Stolen by an enterprising rogue, who wrought havoc before arrows and hubris brought her down.

When affixed into the flesh of a target, willing or unwilling, the feather turns them into a massive crow monster with stats as a giant falcon (or similar). The target must save or lose control during the transformation and act like a very angry bird. The transformed can attempt to return to human form every 8 hours for the next day on a successful save. Otherwise, the transformation of permanent.

The Gardening Ring

A coiling golden ring fashioned in the form of a common garden snake. Covers the entirety of the proximal finger segment. Made for a gardener who wished to save his blighted crops. The desperately ill and their petitioners tore him limb from limb in search of the ring.

The ring can at a mere touch draw all sickness out of the target and into the wearer. The wearer will get a save to prevent the disease, but must save to stop themselves from using the ring whenever an opportunity presents itself. This works on plants and animals as well.

Soporific Centipede

An apparently mundane centipede, save for its fatness and laziness. It can not speak, but wizards and druids have determined that it also possesses intelligence, and hails from a time so distant that even the air was inimical to humanity, or so it claims.

Swallowing the centipede whole transforms you into mud. You are now made of mud, and immune to all non-magical damage. Once per day, you can turn something your touching into mud. You also gained a crushing attack, d10+2 damage. You can not wear armor, use weapons, or cast spells with somatic components, but you can store things in your body. Poisons and toxins have no effect on you. You can increase your size as long as enough mud is available, and decrease in size over time (down one category each week). You can be dried out or washed away. The transformation only ends if the centipede leaves your body- good luck convincing it.

The Book of Autumn

A book bound in orange and brown leaves and twine. The by-blow of a mad wizard hired by a foolish king to destroy his enemy’s kingdom.

Opening the book to a certain page forces everything in a 100′ radius to save or die. The whole geographic region is afflicted by a a fast-acting blight that wipes out the current year’s crop. You don’t know which page does this.

The book also functions as a spellbook. In lieu of listing spells that you may or may not use, in general it should contain two killing spells (Finger of Death, Slay Living, or Power Word Kill for example) a weather controlling spell and some kind of cursing spell.

False Sun Brooch

A simple square clasp made of a dark unidentified metal, decorated with an abstract lightning motif (upper right). Made by a sage who claimed lightning was an aspect of the sun.

Grants the wearer immunity to electrical damage, and can glow with strange purplish light at will, functioning as a torch. Allows them to travel through the sky at the speed of light during thunderstorms, landing and taking off with a flash of lightning. The wearer takes double fire damage, and takes 1d6 damage for every round spent in sunlight.

Spell-Thief’s Spring

A place, instead of an object. An unassuming well, buried within the sewers of a great city. Immensely deep. Once the haunt of a prodigious spell-thief, who in his final moments threw all his pilfered tomes and baubles down into the abyss, along with himself.

Water taken from the spring has the strange quality of attracting spells. Any spell cast within 15 feet of the water will instead target it, creating a medium water elemental with the ability to cast the spell that created it three times a day. They owe no allegiance to anyone, but can be bargained with. This effect works with water carried away from the spring.

 

 

My name is Grace

Hello my name is Grace. I am 19 years old. I am very blonde and pretty and short, I am 5’2. I live in America. I wear glasses because I have bad eyesight. I have good feet arches. I am Irish and Lebanese cuz fuck you. I have never been to Uruguay. I can swim for a while sometimes. I like John Mulaney because he is really funny. If you’ve never watched the West Wing you’re not American. I am currently in a shitty hotel room in China, don’t ask why. Malaysian villagers are building a hut outside. Samata ipasana. Samata samata SAMATA ipasana. Father Time.

Race as Class Troglodytes

Troglodyte

Troglodytes are amphibious humanoids, known for their physical toughness and atrocious scent. Most of them live in miserable underground villages called Welts carved out long ago, which are ironically quite common in deserts and the Empty Ring. Each Welt houses 50-100 Troglodytes and usually the only sources of water for miles around. Overpopulation is a constant existential threat. Despite the near religious practice of infanticide, the population climbs and some Troglodytes are exiled. The exiles are chosen from the ranks of the Welt’s hunters, who are responsible for protecting the Welt’s territories, finding their food, and best suited for surviving outside the Welt anyway. Trog society is not pleasant nor merciful, but it does tend to be stunningly egalitarian and fatalistically fair.

Trogs themselves look like long-snouted amphibians, with porous, slimy skin. Most stand a foot or two taller than an average human male. Many are the under the impression that they possess hardened scales, which is false. The Troglodytes practice a symbiotic relationship with certain species of mold or pond scum, which they cultivate on their bodies on an in their skin. Incidentally, this is where their legendary scent comes from. The exact species of pond scum the Troglodyte cultivates can differ, and each provides different utilities. The most common type which is responsible for the lovely scent most humans associate with Trogs, is meant to keep the amphibious Trogs alive in the desert. Trogs are born in broods of dozens, though most are eaten by their parents. They live as near totally aquatic tadpoles for their first five years then emerge from the water, and are dead before fifty.

As a Trog adventurer, you were a Hunter who was exiled either by communal vote, lots, or your own choice. Troglodytes can form friendships and love others but you will probably have trouble understanding the human child-parent relationship. Troglodytes tend to be brutally pragmatic and quietly stoic. People do not like you because you stink, look weird and are believed to eat human babies.

Photographic Memory- You possess photographic spatial memory. You can never get lost as long as you follow the exact same path taken before, though finding the path to start out with may be difficult.
Detrivore- You can eat almost anything, including rotten meat, bits of twig, and actual feces. You are immune to most poisons and diseases. Barring extreme circumstances you can always find rations for yourself.

Excellent Olfactory Sense- Despite your appalling redolence, you possess an excellent scent of smell, and can recognize people by it. You also gain the Tracking and Awareness Talents.
Living Skin- Your skin is a rubbery porous material that has some innate ability to deflect blows. Your base AC is 12. Normally, you would need to bathe every hour to prevent drying out (taking d8 damage every hour), but the cultivation of pond scum on your skin prevents this, in addition to providing several other benefits.

Troglodyte Hunter

HD: d8  Mins: PHYS-13 Saves and Levels as Fighter

You are a survivalist and a warrior. The desert and wilderness are where you feel most at home. Settlements of more than a hundred people are alien to you, and many may bar your entry entirely. You are also a hunter, and are very good at killing things. You probably do not wear armor, as you pond scum needs air to survive and responds poorly to constant pressure.

Level Base Attack Bonus Special
1st +1 Racial Features
2nd +1 Favored Enemy
3rd +2 Move Quietly, Hide
4th +2 Heightened Awareness
5th +3 Trophies, Greater Favored Enemy
6th +3 Overland Travel
7th +4 Superior Favored Enemy
8th +4 Opportunist
9th +5 Dangerous Game
10th +6 The Harder They Fall
11th +7 Tough

Favored Enemy- Choose a type of creature (e.g. goblins, orcs, humans, unicorns). You gain +2 to attack that enemy. Greater- Choose another enemy and gain +2 to damage against favored enemies. Superior- Choose another enemy type and reduce all incoming damage from favored enemies by one.

Trophies- You can collect trophies from fresh corpses. These each grant you a +1 to AC, and also a stacking +1 bonus to save against special attacks and abilities from the creature whose corpse you have vandalized. You may wear a maximum of four at a time.

Overland Travel- You can mask the movement of yourself and half your Wisdom score creatures, preventing mundane tracking from finding you.

Dangerous Game- Once per day, one of your physical attacks can deal an extra +X damage, where X is the HD of the largest creature you or your party has killed. This ability is not expended if the attack misses.

The Harder They Fall- If you successfully attack a creature bigger than you, you do their SZ difference additional damage to them (+1 if they’re large, +2 if huge, etc)

Tough- Reduce all incoming damage by one.

Living Skin- As a troglodyte, you are in a symbiotic relationship with a colony of what can best be described as a slime mold or pond scum. This pond scum can be assumed to prevent your skin from drying out every hour you spend out of water. However, it also has requirements of it’s own. The slime mold needs a fairly constant supply of air and responds poorly to prolonged bouts of his pressure. This precludes the wearing of armor and most clothing. The mold also has two states, active and inactive. Each state usually has its own benefits. Assume that to maintain an active state the mold needs water every hour, with other conditions listed where appropriate. All of these smell unpleasant up close unless mentioned.

 

Clinging Scale Mold- The most common type of mold, because of its utility in keeping trogs alive in their native desert environments.

Active- Appalling stench. For 1 round after becoming active all creatures with a sense of smell must save or wretch uncontrollably.

Dormant- Hardened giving the appearance of scale and granting +1 AC. Also gives immunity to the effects of heat exposure and the trog only needs water every three days.

 

Welt Garden Moss- Great big clumps of moss growing out the troglodyte. Can outgrow the trog. Used for agriculture in the welts. Smells of petrichor and dogshit.

Active- Requires you to not be starving and the judicious application of ‘fertilizer’, all this does is cause the moss to grow each day.

Dormant- +1 AC innately, +1 AC -1 MV per day of growth. Can also be harvested while dry to provide four disgusting rations per day of growth.

 

Sand Worm Gut Slurry- Barnacle like patterns, a putrescent mix of red and green. Used by Welt Beserkers in times of great danger. Smells like the vomit of a very big carnivorous monster, because it is.

Active- Instead of water, requires blood to activate. In combat has a 1 in 4 chance of activating whenever an enemy dies near you, chance increases by one each roll. Sends you into a zen mode that gives +2 to hit and damage for the duration of combat. Pass out for an hour at the end.

Dormant- You smell delicious to scavengers and most desert life forms. Any animal from those categories will definitely target you and seek you out, other animals probably will as well.

 

Lotus Spores- Disingenuous green moss, but tipped with red and pink tubes. Fragrant like flowers, but with the musk of over applied men’s cologne.

Active- Anyone standing near you or engaging in combat must save of experience calling illusions. -2 to hit and AC as the hallucinogens mildly warp your perceptions.

Dormant- allows the release of a cloud hallucinogens in a 15ft circle. You are not immune. Afterwards, both the active and dormant effects are unusable until a day passes and the spores are hydrated.

 

Oasis Angel- Like the philosopher’s stone but for troglodytes and it exists. Light yellow stalks. Very rare and prohibitively expensive. Smells like a cup of vanilla extract tastes.

Active- Requires near constant bright light. A torch won’t cut it unless you’re holding it. If you die while this is active after 1d4 weeks you will revive. Make a save against insanity that gets harder the more times you do this, or become a vegetable.

Dormant- +2 to all saves

 

Prism Slime- irregular rainbow patterned and mesmerizing. Favorite of wizards with trog employees. Disgustingly saccharine odor

Active- Colors begin to shift and pulsate. As the spell hypnotic orb.

Dormant- At will shed garish rainbow light as a bonfire up to four hours a day.

 

Lodestone Lichen- grayish fuzzy mold. Found in cold regions, and susceptible to fire. Regardless of state take double fire damage. Peat and urine.

Active- +2 AC, metal weapons that hit you stick into you and can only be removed after a round of pulling. Opposed strength check to move.

Dormant- +6 AC, -2 MV

The GLOG doesn’t use race as class, but for the sake of completion/ peer pressure I feel like I should write one.

+1 Stealth for every two Troglodyte templates you possess.

A- Tracking, Detrivore, Living Skin

B- Favored (Hated Enemy), Overland Travel

C- Trophies, The Harder They Fall

D- Dangerous Game (Dragon Hunter), Tough