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Topics - Xeviat

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Meta (Archived) / World building from an Editor's perspective
« on: March 05, 2018, 07:46:49 PM »
Hey everyone (summoning Xanthar with my presence), I recently started listening to this YouTube series by Ellen Brock. This particular video stood out and brought me back here:

In it, she talks about world building methods and pitfalls, and even has a link to her setting bible template.

Campaign Elements and Design (Archived) / Setting Seeds; Evil Gods
« on: August 13, 2017, 12:28:20 AM »
Hi everyone. I'm back after being away again. I'll likely summon Xanthan, since one of us is the other's sock puppet. I still haven't figured out which.

While working on some D&D stuff today (and seeing the word "Awakened" too much), I ended up listening to just a little too much Metalocolypse. With cartoonish violence and darkness in my head, I thought of a little forum game: Setting Seeds. Rather than posting info on my setting (which has stalled, honestly), the "Setting Seeds" game involves a poster suggesting a single idea to build a setting around. For instance, it could be said Eberron was designed with "what if 3E D&D's magic system were taken to it's obvious conclusion". Each seed should end up being its own thread, so we can flesh out the seed, nurture it, see what grows. If you get an idea from someone's seed, start a new thread. I'll try to collect them here in this first post. So, I'd like to start off the game with this seed:

What if all the gods in a setting were evil?

How would this change the world? I can imagine the good people of the world tiptoeing around as to not anger the gods. A lot of "worship" would be supplications meant to stay the god's wrath. I imagine religions existing following mortal prophets/philosophers who taught people how to act. These people would likely be worshiped, but the constraint of the setting is that these individuals are icons, not gods. Maybe there's no holy magic? Maybe holy magic comes from the goodness within.

What would you do with a setting like this? What would you expect to see, and what would you rather see?

Hi everyone. None of my players frequent here, so it should be safe.

The current campaign I'm running has the party playing as elite members of an all dwarf mercenary band operating independent of the region's Mountain Dwarf kingdom. In the area, the humans and dwarves don't get along, but they're not yet at open war. Both sides are posturing, and the band the PCs belong to is profiting.

The first mission the players went on turned out to be different than what they expected. It was supposed to be simple: they were hired by a village to clear some goblins out of a forest that the village used for boar hunting. It turns out that the forest was full of goblins because human miners felled a dryad's Oak and the forest spirits had turned angry (in my setting, goblins are dark fey). The party was pressed into fixing the mess by reconsecrating the other sacred oaks by a band of eladrin (outsider style; elves in the setting are powerful fey, and player "elf" races are all various half-elves). They may have earned a favor (the players and the eladrin were being jerks to each other), and were also offered substantial payment of they brought back the ones who cut down the dryad's oak.

What was really going on is that the humans were in search of a new mine. They were pointed to the small wood as a place to dig a new iron mine, but the forest would need to be cleared first. That meant the guardians of the forest needed to be taken care of. The humans needed a new mine because the dwarves stopped selling iron to them.

Now that the PCs have returned to their camp, they've found that their captain has gone missing and his lieutenant is concerned. The captain often comes and goes, but his lieutenant is always aware. The players have decided to go after the captain ... but I'm at a loss of what he got himself into. I want it to be tied in with the growing hostility between the humans and dwarves. I kind of want to tie it in with the human's attempt at clearing the woods and starting a mine. Maybe there was more to it? Maybe they took something, or they were purposefully trying to set the eladrin against the dwarves (immortal eladrin aren't known for differentiating members of a race and can be wide spread in their distribution of justice).

Any thoughts? My idea seed mill has gone dry.

Hi everyone. Since my writing has stalled, I'm primarily thinking of my setting as a D&D game setting again. I want to think on religion in the setting for a while and see what comes of it. The world of Endless Horizons is an Animist world. "Gods" are benevolent spirits that people worship to earn their blessings (or just because they're nice), while "Demons" are malevolent spirits that people worship to stay their wrath (or direct their wrath). I'm currently reading up on Shinto and other more animist religions for inspiration, but I'm questioning what the difference between Clerics and Druids would be in a more personal and regional religious system. Originally, I thought hat clerics would worship ancestral spirits while druids would worship nature spirits, but I'm thinking it would be a little different. There are "greater deities" of the world, things like the spirits of the Knights (the saviors of humanity) and other revered ancestral spirits, as well as major nature spirits like the Five Elements, the spirits of the Sun and Moon, and others. Most spirits, though, would be more local.

An adventuring cleric, then, would either follow one of the world-spanning spirits, or would venerate whichever spirits area in the areas they travel to within their domain.

How do you think Clerics and Druids would be differentiated in an Animistic setting?

Campaign Elements and Design (Archived) / Elves of Endless Horizons
« on: April 08, 2017, 05:58:42 PM »
Recently, I've decided to make a big change in my campaign setting. In order to make it a little different, and a little more fantastical, I'm going to use superman immortal elves. But Xeviat, how will you balance elf PCs? Simple: they're not playable. At least not traditionally.

The races of D&D formerly known as elf (High, Wood, Dark, Winged, Aquatic, whatever) are going to join the Half-Elf as various Half-Elves. They will have a new, modified base race, with their sub race chosen by the domain of their Elven ancestor. What is the Half-Elf now is what you get when Elven blood is sufficiently diluted: a charming, sociable human. The other half-elves are closer to their Elven blood, having deep ties to magic, the forest, the unseelie darkness, the sky, or the sea.

Pure Elves will still be playable, but only children. Elflings will be a new player race, almost filling the same mischievous, curious role of the Gnome (in Endless Horizon, the Gnomes are Earth spirits). Elf children are often on their own, being too free spirited to fit in with the Fey Courts of their parents. They often come to the mortal world to explore, to test themselves, and to grow.

What do you think Elven children would be like? Child immortals with parents who are forces of nature. Immature. Brash. Fearless. Both a part and apart from their society.

Roleplaying (Archived) / Dwarf Mercenaries
« on: March 29, 2017, 08:59:58 PM »
Hi everyone. I've been away for a while. I'm about to start a new game, something a little more roleplay focused than my more recent combative games. I'm also going to set it in my "Endless Horizons" setting to get back to working there.

The campaign idea sprung from a "tribal campaign" idea one of the players had. Basically, a campaign where all of the players come from the same group in some fashion, such as all the same race or all the same class/type of class. Restriction can often breed creativity.

We decided on the players being members of an all dwarf mercenary group. Their stomping grounds are the borderlands of a dwarf and a human kingdom. The dwarves don't like them because they aren't operating specifically for the dwarf's best interest. The humans don't like them because they're dwarves.

I plan to run the game fairly episodically, so it's easier to keep playing if someone doesn't show up for a game. I'm looking to take some inspiration from the "Berserk" manga/anime, but I'm looking for other ideas. The two nations aren't at war, yet, but a I want the threat of war to be a thread that runs through things so I can pull that thread eventually and put them right in the middle of it.

For the first session, I'm planning to have some group capture the PC's mercenary group's leader. Taking the leader out of the equation will put the onus of decision making and leadership on the PCs, so I don't have anyone telling them what to do. I can also then kill the leader to give the players an easy to hate rival group.

Do you have any other ideas for elements or themes for such a campaign?

Meta (Archived) / Who's playing D&D 5E and wants to help playtest!
« on: November 04, 2016, 02:37:46 AM »
Hey everyone. It's been a while. How's everyone doing?

I've been juggling a dozen projects, as I'm apt to do, but one is nearing completion. With the DM's Guild online, I thought I'd try my hand at selling a product or a few. But I need some eyes and some playtesters. My current product is rules for Dragons as PCs. Following in the Savage Species tradition, I have a dragon hatchling race and a dragon class, with three (possibly four) subclasses. It compares reasonably against a fighter on a side by side eyeball (fighter's a little stronger offensively and has better AC, but the dragon has mobility, area attacking, and some other utility over the fighter), but I won't be able to see any problems until it's playtested (or I get some unbiased eyes upon it).

Is anyone interested?

Hi Cabage Heads! It's time for my biannual return (Xathan should show up soon, if they haven't already).

I haven't been working on my settings much lately, but a conversation with a friend got me thinking about it again. As it will be easier to work on my setting if I run a game in it, that means I need to get the races of my world in order again. The race that gives me the most trouble in my setting is the Ifrit. I've talked about them before, but I still need help.

The Ifrit are the only reptilian race counted amongst the civilized races. They are taller than humans and quite muscular. They have rounded, knobby scales. The scales do not shed on their heads, they stick to the next that grow, giving them scaley dreadlocks that warriors typically trim. They have small, weak eyes, and large heat sensing pits around their nose, allowing them to "see" infrared. Their hands end in four thick fingers, and their claws are blunt (useful in protecting the fingers while digging, but not for combat). Their scales range from black, to brown, to red.

Their most striking physical feature is their often smoking mouth. Their mouths secrete two chemicals that, when mixed, ignite in a puff of flame. The young and old have difficulty controlling these secretions, causing occasional flares and puffs of smoke. Their jaws do not protrude further than a human's nose, and their teeth are hidden when they close their mouths. They stand on their heals; they aren't exceptionally swift footed.

The goal of the race is to have a strong warrior culture that is absolutely not a "Klingon". My dwarves fill the honorable warrior role, and the whole concept of Honor as we know it is a very human thing in my setting.

 Ifrit are chaotic. They worship fire. They fight for fun. They have aggression issues. They sacrifice their prisoners to the flames. While they are technically herbivorous, they consume meat ritualistically. Their coming of age ritual has them send adolescents into the jungle to kill the strongest beast they can and consume it's heart to gain it as a totem. They consume pieces of the dead at funerals before cremation.

But I don't want them to be seen as an evil race. They aren't evil. "Typically chaotic neutral" in D&D terms. But they are pretty "bad" by human mores. So why are they considered a civilized race? Why is a player Ifrit allowed into human or dwarf cities?

So far, my thoughts are is that their civilized status comes down to two things: they build cities and there are enough of them that you wouldn't want to start a war with them. Kind of like tense relationships between modern nations: the US and Russia don't like each other, but we can travel. Individuals may have different opinions, but as a whole an Ifrit can freely travel in civilized lands.

Ifrit in the primary area of the setting come from two distinct cultures: Red Ifrit and Black Ifrit. The red Ifrit are the older culture. They live in the northern jungles. They build cities around artificial stone volcanos, whose pyres are the sites of cremations and sacrifices. Their governments are loose, made up of a council of the strongest members of each of the groups involved. Strength isn't always physical strength; it can be magical strength or strength of leadership. They believe strongly in respect through power; you don't deserve respect unless you have the power to command it, and you don't deserve what you cannot keep. Blood feuds are common, and vengeance is a frequent issue. Children are communally by the females, and join clans when they become adults. Male and female clans are largely separate.

Black Ifrit split off long ago, first due to a religious disagreement over the sanctity of blood. Objecting to blood sacrifices, they believed that blood was so sacred that it should not be spilt except when necessary. They I've in the eastern badlands, where they move between ariable areas twice a year. I don't have much on them beyond that yet.

If you were to play an Ifrit, what would you like to know about them? What ideas would you add?

The Dragon's Den (Archived) / What's everyone up to?
« on: June 29, 2016, 12:01:55 AM »
Me? Mostly work, but I am finding time to work on some crunchy stuff. Been running D&D 5E on Roll20 here and there, too.

What have you all been doing?

Roleplaying (Archived) / Good Intentions: The Road to Hell
« on: April 15, 2016, 04:18:04 AM »
The blackness of oblivion lifts to the antipodes of searing heat and frigid cold. The sounds of metal and mail clang in the distance, nearly drowned out by the lapping of water. You drag your stiff, aching body out of the icy water, which drys instantly in the hot wind. A fireball blazes overhead, exploding near enough for you to feel the heat upon your face. Horror runs down your spine as you realize you have no idea how you got here, where here is, and who you are.

"You're awake," a voice sounds behind you. You spin around and are greeted by a skeletal figure standing atop a gondola. "Welcome to Hell."

After doing well with my first (and still going) Roll20 campaign (a 5th Edition update of the 3E D&D mega-adventure "Red Hand of Doom"), I'm getting started on another. What started as a desire to run a high level game has begun to take shape, and I need some help getting it off the ground.

The players are going to wake up upon the banks of the River Styx with Charon as their guide. I intend the campaign to take the player characters through the Nine Hells on their quest to ... I don't know.

So far, the most detailed character is a Tiefling Paladin of Vengeance, so I think I'll be using him to drive it forward for a bit. Depending on what drives him, I'll have to figure out what happened to bring him and his companions there. I'm thinking someone has stolen the Holy Avenger, and/or someone close to him was sacrificed to Asmodeus. After reading about Asmodeus former identity of Ahriman, twin brother of the god of the couatls and aspect of the World Serpent. Apparently, speaking this knowledge causes someone to die within 24 hours, but you can read it. I'm delving into Planescape lore, though I plan to put my own spin on it.

Unknown to the players at first, they are Revenants; semi-undead who will continue to rise until their quest is complete. This is going to allow me to do some ridiculous stuff that I'm itching to do (I fully plan on crushing someone with a falling megalith block). Traps where someone will have to die to disengage it, sieges relying upon their immortality ... fun stuff.

What I'm looking for right now are seeds of ideas. What do you got?

Campaign Elements and Design (Archived) / Wee Elves
« on: March 25, 2016, 03:14:06 PM »
Hey everyone. The move from LA to Seattle has proved to be a good one for me, but it's also come with a lot of work. I'm rarely seen here anyway, but it's been worse as of late. I think I missed a Xathan sighting too.

I have a few projects I'm working on, especially with the release of the 5E SRD and the DM's Guild. Maybe I'll get some product out soon. I do have a contract break coming up.

One thing I have been thinking of are little things in my setting, Endless Horizons (formerly Three Worlds). My current thought is on having my elves be a bit different than the norm.

I'm thinking about having player elves join the ranks of the small races. The idea is this: typical player elves are elven children. When they're older, they become epic powers that are among the gods of the world. Many don't make it that far. This helps to cover why a race that lives so long would only be as powerful as humans, and how a race that isn't an "adult" until 100 years could possibly not have more knowledge than people.

But how would their society be? Little bands of elven children running around together for mutual protection, retreating to the courts of their parents when they run into trouble?

What does this make you envision?

Meta (Archived) / Odd Racial Characteristics
« on: December 06, 2015, 07:06:57 PM »
Rather than making a thread for one topic, which could be answered rather quickly, I'd like to make a thread for people to discuss strange racial characteristics that they have thought of, either for their setting or for others, for us to discuss the ramifications.

My first submission is to question how a society would change if a race died after reproduction. What would encourage members of the race to reproduce? How would this chance society in comparisons to more typical human-like races? Would there be romance, or would mating be seen as a necessary thing in the twilight of one's life? Would the race necessarily be low in number, or would they just be slow to recover from war? Would that make the race be largely peaceful? How would they pass down culture and history without having parents?

Meta (Archived) / What do you look for in a skill system?
« on: December 04, 2015, 01:47:54 PM »
Hi everyone,

As you know, I'm deeply interested in system design. I love tactical combat with lots of options, which leads me to systems like D&D. But d20's skill system is often seen as lacking. My experience with other systems is limited, so I'm interested to hear about other systems' skill systems, how they work, and what you like about them. I know a bit about L5R and WoD skills, but that's really it.

Campaign Elements and Design (Archived) / Micro Setting: Endless Depths
« on: November 06, 2015, 04:02:00 AM »
My creativity has been bubbling lately. Who would find an entirely aquatic setting to be interesting? I'm imagining a water world, with no land above the surface of the waves. The surface would be a near perpetual storm; it is said to be the home of the gods, and to venture there is too dangerous for mortals. The currents of the world are its seas and rivers, facilitating travel. Mountains draw up nutrients from bellow, creating fertile waters that feed the fish which feed larger creatures. Vast expanses of still water are lifeless deserts. Huge leviathans wander the waters. Antediluvian horrors lay at the bottom of forgotten depths. Some "humanoids" mine minerals at volcanic vents. Others coax coral to grow into tools. Sharks, sea horses, and other large fish serve as mounts.

I think it could prove to be an interesting change of scenery that could allow for classic fantasy gaming as well as posing new challenges and a new setting of wonder. 3D combat would be the name of the game. Magic would abound with ice, steam, force, and lightning. Only a tiny percentage of the world is known, leaving the endless depths to be explored by brave adventures.

What kind of races would you like to see? I'm imagining anthropomorphisizing many creatures, then filing the serial numbers off. Merfolk could be the "humans". Cephalopod people. Shark people. Tropical fish people. Crustacean people. No mammals, birds, or reptiles. Nothing breathes air.

What monsters do you imagine? The whole cast of aquatic animals, both modern and prehistoric. Sharks are the cats, wolves, and bears. Leviathans the dragons. Aboleths the horrible lurkers in the dark depths. Fiery demons who erupt from volcanos. Ancient island turtle gods that wander the surface.

What terrains could there be? Fertile mountain islands. Volcanic rift valleys. The ocean floor. Shallow reefs. Under the polar ice. Kelp forests.

Thoughts? Is it worth exploring?

Meta (Archived) / Roll20 and Map Programs
« on: November 02, 2015, 03:47:10 AM »
Hey everyone!

I'm getting started to try running a D&D game on Roll20. I've never done it before. Have any of you?

Also, I'll be needing to make maps. Are there any free map making programs aside from me using Photoshop/GIMP?

Thanks turtles!

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