Friday, January 31, 2014

Jedi on the Ocean Planet

So we began playing a Star Wars game over Roll20 and it was mentioned that after the first adventure someone could take over if they wanted. I got all hyped up and planned out a sand-box setting to fit about situation our group would end up in. The game didn't last past the first session. Oh, well. So I'll put it here.

I started with the idea of some a trio of Jedi whom the Empire has allowed to live since they are holding back something Cthulhu-like. I figured a water planet would fit well for that. The I began drawing from Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet to fill out details about the planet. And I kept drawing on it. Pretty soon my Lovcraftian idea went full-on anime adaptation. Still think it would be fun, though. It takes place before A New Hope.

The Jedi
There are a trio of old Jedi on the ocean planet of Rilleth in the Lavicroft system.
Rice Beren, Jafan Desyk, Soont Corren. They are the Keepers.

They are part of an order that holds back an entity called the Devourer - one of them must be focused on meditating at all times. If the meditation is broken for more than a minute the Devourer will be released. They keep a rotation. Before the Purge they were sent new Jedi to train as replacements every five years. Now they are old and there is no one to replace them. While the Empire has allowed them to live they have forbidden them from training new Jedi to act as replacements.

The Keepers have about 100 servants both in the temple and located in other places to acquire supplies and other forms of support. Most outsiders just think of them as an odd but harmless religious group as they do their best to keep the Keepers and the Devourer secret.

They live in an ancient temple that sits above the water - it is actually the tip of a pyramid that descends 10,000' into the the ocean. The base is almost 20,000' wide. It is said the Devourer sleeps inside and barely fits...

The Empire
The Empire knows about the Keepers and keeps them a secret. Rilleth is one of the few planets that is a source of Cortosis ore - oddly the underwater mines make it safer to extract. The Keepers have been contacted by the Empire and informed that they will mostly be left alone and get the Empire's support as long as they don't train any new Jedi. They Keepers are not happy about this but the don't want to see the world destroyed.

Since there will be no more replacements for the Keepers the Empire is building a massive ion weapon to use on the Devourer when it inevitably awakens. It is powerful enough to short out a super start destroyer with a single shot.

Cult of the Devourer
The existence of the Devourer is relegated to myth. Some people take it quite seriously, though, and want to see it freed. This is due to exposure to a biological agent that affects the subjects' minds in odd ways. This agent was created by the Biologists long ago as a weapon against the Colonists as it causes self-genocidal impulses.

Cultists are loathed by almost everyone as they are quite clearly crazy, mostly suicidal and often homicidal. Since they kidnap people and warp them into their beliefs somehow (by exposing them to the agent) they are often hunted and prosecuted everywhere. They are always trying to find followers of the Keepers so that they can find the temple and free the Devourer.

The Planet
Rilleth at one time had an advanced civilization but they suffered too much ecological damage and most of the planet was submerged by the oceans. It seems some portion of the population managed to get off planet but suffered extermination not too long afterwards.

There are currently no known native sentient life forms on Rilleth. There are the glowsquid -  four tentacled, phosphorescent squid-like creatures that are about 2 meters in length. They leave glowing trails through the water that lasts for days. These trails also provide excellent fishing. They are known to have nests deep below but no one has bothered exploring them as they turn hostile when you get too close.

The ocean floor is littered with the remains of the previous civilization. These are obviously found at the highest points where land once used to be. However it is rumored that the most advanced technology lies deeper.

The other planets in the Lavicroft system show some signs of ancient colonization and space stations exist but they all seem to have been damaged or destroyed in combat. Additionally, massive, artificial, hive-like structures have been found floating in space nearby many settlements and also show signs of battle damage.

The Locals
Many different people have come to Rilleth over the centuries and established a rugged civilization. Some were scrappers, some were treasure hunters and some were just trying to get away. There turned out to be little profit in the scrap available but the occasional treasure kept people coming.

A few cities exist where mountain ranges still peak over the waves. These are the closest things that an outsider might consider as proper civilization, complete with spaceports and holonet access. These places are under Imperial control.

After the cities are the Gargantua - massive fleets of ships and floating platforms that have literally banded together into a collective society. They are rough places that survive on scrapping and hydroponics. Individual fleet captains act as a city council of sorts and may choose to leave the Gargantua charter by taking their ships with them.

Finally there are the pirates and independents. The former often band together like Gargantua but rarely reach the same size. The latter rarely last very long without forming alliances.

Port Pashna - The largest city and primary spaceport on the planet. The tallest mountain on the planet was leveled to make a flat surface for the city. It is under complete Imperial control and well ordered. The planetary governor tolerates the existence of some of the more reputable Gargantua and they often come here to trade. The primary Cortosis warehouse and shipping center is also here.

Thalu Cove - A smaller, seedier city that has the only other public spaceport. Located inside of a mountaintop that was hollowed out. Not exactly a pirates' den but definitely a smuggler's paradise and place for more questionable transactions to take place. The city has an Imperial governor but he is corrupt as fuck, taking kickbacks from pirates and smugglers to turn a blind eye.

Hordo's Nest - Hordo Tetsu, a Rodian self-proclaimed "pirate king", hollowed out a mountain that had a tip jutting out above the waves and built his base beneath the water. Initially he used it to hide his fleet but over time it became an illegal trading center for many different pirate fleets to meet. Aside from trading with themselves that have "runners" who take merchandise to more reputable places for fencing. While Hordo doesn't technically command any fleet but his, everyone respects him and would likely answer a call to action. Ruthless but rationally business-minded.

Cortosis mines - There are a dozen of these all over the planet. They are heavily guarded by the Empire in the air, on and under the water. Massive hydraulic jacks bore into the earth, collect the results into a water pump that reaches a filter part way up that separates out the Cortosis and then pumps that up to a refinery platform up above.

Aneen Dal - The largest of the Gargantua and the reason that type of collective was given that name. At it's peak, Aneen Dal was larger than Port Pashna. Founded over a hundred years ago by the Mon Calamari of the same name, Aneen is considered to be one of the points of light on an otherwise miserable planet. There are over a hundred fleets tied together and their council is more like a parliament with a Chancellor, Carmiya Kale, as head executive. They even have a small spaceport with room for two frigates and some fighters.

The Temple of the Keepers/Devourer - Technically the same building. The tip of the Devourer's pyramid is where the Keepers and their attendants live. The temple is actually made of an unknown alloy using Cortosis as a base and is gleaming silver. A single Jedi meditating can activate the Cortosis-like properties in the pyramid that apparently keeps the Devourer at bay. It is thought that since there would never be enough Cortosis to make a cage large enough that it was spread out with this alloy instead. 

The Imperial Weapon Outpost - Not far from the Temple is a massive Imperial base that sits on the water. Aside from the troops who are dedicated to keeping the Temple safe and unknown there is also a massive ion weapon that is being designed to kill the Devourer. The idea is that since the Devourer seems to be energy based enough that Cortosis can contain it, a large enough ion blast would short it out long enough for its biological components to die. Anyone who sees the weapon may notice that it is aimed at the water level and not at space...

Rilleth was advanced technologically but hadn't yet achieved hyperdrive. The ecological disaster was going to submerge the planet no matter what and the civilization was divided on what to do about it. The Biologist faction insisted that genetically altering themselves to live underwater was the answer while the Colonists wanted to colonize other planets. The Biologists told the Colonists that terraforming wasn't possible yet and life in inhospitable space would be a miserable existence. The Colonists told the Biologists that there was no predicting how the changes would affect them and feared turning into monsters.

These two sides eventually began warring. Once the Colonists successfully began leaving the planet the Biologists began modifying themselves to survive deep space and following after. By this point they had become somewhat monstrous. Colonists became so militarized that no one could remember what freedom was.

The biologists began to prepare an ultimate weapon, a massive entity that was nearly indestructible and powered by a fusion core. A sort of biological robot that could be constructed instead of grown. It was completed but never activated as the war in space had nearly petered out as the Colonists were destroyed to a point where they would never survive and the Biologists had warped themselves to a point where they barely had any sentience left.

The Old Republic first contact team arrived not long after this was over. Only a few Biologists with any intellect remained and they weren't able to warn off the explorers before they accidentally awoke the Devourer. By cooperating with the remaining Biologists they were able to put the Devourer back in its cage and learned how to use the Force to maintain the Cortosis alloy once the last of the Biologists passed away. Since the Devourer could survive in deep space they had no desire to let it loose, even if the planet was essentially uninhabited at this point.

The PCs could have any number of reasons to come here. If they're of the shady variety they could simply be picking up a Cortosis shipment for smuggling. If they are bounty hunters they can get wind of the Jedi's existence and hope to collect the huge general bounty on surviving Jedi. Rebels would likely want to recruit any surviving Jedi. An Imperial officer not in the loop may send some agents to collect the Jedi for a reward. Either way the PCs should eventually have to deal with what to do about the Devourer and the surviving Jedi.

Valley of the Masters - The Rails

The Rails
Often hidden by grass, other vegetation and sometimes shifted earth is a series of metallic rails that connect the major landmarks of the valley. The rails are made of the nontarnishable, nearly unbreakable Slith silversteel and consists of a single 1' wide and 2' tall strip that seem perfectly formed. Once found they make finding new locations a breeze if followed but they come with several potential dangers.

The danger begins once the generator is turned on at the Power Station and rails become charged again. Any metallic object within 5' will be pulled towards the powered rail with the pull getting stronger the closer it gets. The pull is strong enough that once the object is touching the rail no amount of human strength can pull it back. However once a metal object is in contact with the rail siren will sound once a few seconds later and all metallic objects within 5' will be pushed from the rails with incredible force.

Another danger is that once powered the rails will begin drawing out mechanites who want to feed on the energy. If no one gets too close it might be amusing to watch them approach the rail, get stuck on it and then get sent flying off. But they'll keep coming like bugs to a light and many will be destroyed likewise.

The final danger will come when the residents of the Rail Station discover how to use the railcars and begin travelling...

Note that at each location in the valley will be a rail stop - at this point all that remains are some silversteel girders that used to hold together more ornamental and less durable material. Random bits of Slith stuff may be uncovered in these spots if investigated.

The Twisted
The most immediate threat in the valley is based out of the Rail Station. When the Slith disappeared most of their servants went on to try and reform a new civilization as independent beings. The servants in this valley were so isolated and remote that they never got to take part in that. When the power shut off and the valley went quiet they slowly descended into desperate savagery. They did survive, though, a motley assortment of different races gathered, modified or created by the Slith. Ages worth of unlikely crossbreeding, inbreeding and other accidental acts of miscegenation took place and now the residents are simply the Twisted.

The Twisted appearance is almost random with different traits of elf, dwarf, human, goblin, orc and beast randomly assorted among them. They have never taken up metal crafting after all this time but rather make use of the scraps of silversteel that they find everywhere. However their priests, whom someone is answering, have a ritual that lets them shape silversteel. This is reserved for the most important of the Twisted. The majority of the Twisted wear poorly maintained sackcloth clothing and use wood and stone tools with the occasional improvised silverteel implement.

Their language is a simplified, degenerate version of the Slith tongue. However it is close enough that if pressed a member of the Twisted could read Slith writing (though not necessarily understand what the words mean). These misunderstood words make up the nonsense rituals of their priests who hold the Slith as distant gods who will one day return. In the meantime they claim to be guided by "The Buzzing", a buzzing voice that only the select can hear in their heads. The Buzzing currently seems to be guiding them to dig into the mountainside, ostensibly to teach them how to make their own silversteel...

The Buzzing is also incredibly xenophobic in how it will react to outsiders. Individual Twisted may initially be curious or friendly, perhaps even mistaking the PCs for the returning Slith if they have better than primitive technology.

The Rail Station
With the ageless silversteel acting as girders, the Twisted have managed to keep the basic form of the Rail Station even if most of the original ornamental stone walls have crumbled to the ground. Simple stone walls sit between girders and leather hides cover where most of the arched roof has fallen down. The station is massive, about the size of Grand Central Station, and is filled with individual Twisted huts and tents with the leaders and shamans taking the individual private rooms.

If the Rail Station is looted, generally useless bits of silversteel are all that they will find in the common tents. The private rooms are where the shaped silversteel blades and armor can be found - assuming they aren't being worn by the owners. Other random bits of Slith debris are also possible. There are also stairways down to the underground.

The rail lines actually run into an underground portion of the Rail Station. The tunnels that the rails follow down are blocked by large silversteel doors that will open once the power is turned on. They all meet in a large switching station where there are still five intact rail cars - long, art-deco looking bullets of silver. These cars are revered by the twisted and the shaman's rituals take place near the switching control panels. Once the power is turned on the Buzzing will instruct the shamans how to operate the cars and switches - the Twisted will begin travelling about the valley.

If the PCs are able to make use of the rails for themselves they will be able to travel about the valley at high speeds - unless they hit one of the few places where the rails have been covered or damaged.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Valley of the Masters - The Keytower

Standing atop a large hill near the entrance to the valley the Keytower stands tall. A massive, twisted tower of metal it seems a miracle that it is in such good condition after all these ages.

The tower's primary purpose was to act as a guard tower and barracks to defend the valley from any non-Slith intruders with a secondary purpose as something akin to an immigration office. However now it acts as the home to a colony of mechanites - electric sentiences that construct bodies out of available machinery. They were once an annoying parasite for the Slith and now they are all that is left.

The Tower
The Keytower is constructed from a silver steel-like metal that hasn't rusted or tarnished in any way through the ages. There are numerous window openings on each floor that were once covered with glass. The tower itself is over 400 feet tall and has twenty floors, each floor being about 200 by 100 feet.

The Interior
The insides of the tower are in far worse shape than the exterior would lead one to believe. Furniture has been reduced to little more than the pieces of metal that held it together, features such as counters or doors are gone except for the occasional metal frame. Everywhere there are panels ripped open and wires hanging out. Anything that might be identified as a device of any sort has been stripped and gutted for spare parts by the mechanites. The elevators no longer work so a long trek up the stairs is required to ascend. Aside from batteries and bullets, there is no in-tact technology here that would be of use to anyone without a fully working knowledge of Slith technology.

The Mechanites
The basic mechanite looks like a hand-sized insect made of various electronic and mechanical parts. They are essentially parasites and act with insect-like intelligence. There are larger, more advanced mechanites, usually acting as a sort of leader. The process isn't known but one mechanite usually receives all the best stuff and grows to a larger size than the others. These special mechanites are all unique based off of their location and technology available. They have a higher intelligence based off their size - a human sized mechanite is about as smart as a clever dog, for example.

Throughout the tower there is evidence that these mechanites seem to be preparing to move out. Packs of electronics are piled into improvised carts, for example.

Notable Encounters

First Floor - Reception
The lowest level of mechanites, gatherers, can be found down here looking for any remaining scraps to take upstairs. One special mechanite resides on the first floor, the Monitor. Vaguely humanoid in shape, child-sized and composed of the various communication technologies that were prevalent down here. It has a shattered CRT-like monitor for a head and rattles off unintelligible gibberish through an intercom in its chest. It can direct basic mechanites so that they can take their turns as interrupt actions at any point in the round.

Fifth Floor - Guest/Holding Rooms
One of several floors filled with what seems like a combination of hotel room and prison cell. One room has "djimyoosh" ("danger") in Slith scrawled on the outer door and it seems to be barricaded. Movement can be heard inside. In the room is a special mechanite that is humanoid (Slith)-shaped. Long ago, when the Keytower fell, this room/cell housed a visiting Slith who had the Slith equivalent of cybernetics. The mechanites burrowed into him and instead of taking the pieces stayed there, absorbing some of him as a collective. He is now nothing more than a mad, raging skeleton coated in living metallic insects.

Tenth Floor - Armory
Most of the weapons have been disassembled and the parts taken elsewhere. However a good deal of ammunition was left behind. The special mechanite here is human-sized and is made up of various bullet and energy clips. When damaged it breaks off pieces of itself that explode for medium damage. The basic mechanites in here also carry around explosives and energy packs and act as suicide bombers.

Most of the ammunition is being loaded into carts and being prepared for transport. It looks like another special mechanite made of guns is also being constructed but is currently not moving.

Fifteenth Floor - Offices
The lesser "lords" of the mechanites reside here, the recipients of much of the scavenged tech. Each is about eight feet tall or long, depending on how they choose to present themselves. They consists of masses of random equipment though each one has a set of special features:

Lord Blade - The least mobile, Lord Blade doesn't have any discernible form but rather is an amorphous mass that largely consists of various blades and sharp objects. Lord Blade is less of an attacker and more of a slowly moving dangerous piece of terrain.
Lord Data - Humanoid and consisting of mostly information technology and office supplies. Lord Data has control of all the machines here. He can create zones of falling debris, attacks from loose electrical wiring that suddenly appears and can direct basic mechanites like the the Monitor.
Lord Blaze - Mobile and nimble, Lord Blaze has numerous appendages that end in different ranged weapons that is is continually firing during combat. Basic mechanites are continually feeding him random ammo so each round he may be firing either bullets, lasers, explosive rounds or energy blasts.

There is a map of the valley here. Each of the locations are  labeled in Slith:
Power Station - "Pee thih"
Military Base - "feh"
Energy Research Facility - "suh"
Skyfall - "taw"
Biological Research Facility - "shoo..." followed by Slith question marks.
Launch Pad - "huoh / meengh"

Twentieth Floor - The Keeper
The top office gives a magnificent view of the valley. The only resident here is the Keeper, a slim, six foot humanoid that seems to be comprised entirely of wires and plastic cards. The Keeper is non-violent and is capable of computerized speech, simplified since it hasn't fully interpreted whatever language the PCs speak. It is continually switching between personalities - sometimes an analytic scientist, sometimes a military soldier, sometimes a worker drone, sometimes a simple janitor. However the whole time it will talk about having some goal as if these personalities were all working together for something. This goal somehow involves leaving the tower, opening the gate, exploring heaven and finding the gods. The conversation should be disjointed and cryptic. The Keeper will give a final warning that the gods left behind a mess and wishes the PCs luck in cleaning it up themselves. He then collapses into his component parts with a single basic mechanite at the center. The cards are all magnetic ID cards than can be used throughout the valley.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Valley of the Masters - Introduction

The Slith were an old civilization who were capable of creating wonders without the aid of magic. Tall, thin and emaciated, they didn't look much like conquerors but all of the races were under their control. Some were possibly even of their creation. The stories of the Slith vary widely from people to people. To some they were benevolent masters who tired to elevate their subjects and take good care of them. To others they were emotionless monsters who tried to crush any sense of dignity that their slaves might have. Either way they ceased to be a blessing or blight when they abruptly disappeared one day.

Early on the works of the Slith were almost completely lost during a a great purge by a religiously fanatical warlord. Ages passed and the stories of the ancient Masters drifted into that of fairy tale.

Recently on a large, barely populated island there was an amazing discovery. Hanging in the air above a secluded valley was what seemed to be a floating city. In the valley below were numerous Slith ruins, many of them still intact. The locals have avoided the place out of fear and superstition but some brave few are now choosing to try and unearth the lost secrets of the old Masters.

Due to a lack of access to my notebooks I thought that I'd flesh out the post apocalypse thing from earlier. While I'll be focusing on systems generic descriptions for this I have a few "larger picture" ideas in mind.

The original inspiration for this comes from a setting I was working on to use with the Radiance RPG. The PCs would be coming from the main civilized continent that somewhat resembled Europe in the 1500's (or perhaps later of I wanted to add some steam capability so that Slith tech wouldn't be quite as alien). The main external conflict in this version of the campaign would come from the warring factions back home and their interference in the PCs exploration. Does their home countries demand new weaponry? Are their rival explorers looking for secrets? Is there an external danger that could unite everyone? Or perhaps secrets that need to be destroyed for the good of the world.

Another option would be to dial the tech knob back and run it as straight up fantasy D&D. The edition would likely determine the overall feel. First edition would just be good old fashioned "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" type of pulp. Third edition would probably be best doing something similar only less pulpy. Fourth edition could use a good antagonist who is also trying to get their hands on the secrets of the Slith, perhaps with an overall goal of trying to prevent the Slith from returning.

Finally this is where I'd use the Slith Script that I had developed for various alien instructions on ancient machinery. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Abanar Snippet 2

True Greetings, traveler, though you may not yet understand the meaning of such things.  However if you wish to learn of Abanar then these things will become clear.

Let me begin by introducing myself.  Just as a budding mage learns the basics of the Word by learning his name you may begin your learning of Abanar by understanding me as I am a part of that whole.  My name is Tunara Rechēn, and I am a Bashaat of the Church of the True Form.  That is, I am a priest.  My full name, as given by the Monks at the Monastery of the Word, is over twenty syllables long and I will not trouble you with it now.  However, abbreviated it is Abcænobāēf.  Sounds strange to one’s ears, doesn’t it?

I see that I’ve already confused you with two unfamiliar concepts.  I’ll begin with the Word as that is where all things begin.

The Word was spoken at the beginning and within its meaning were all True things.  These things came to be and are the pure forms of things we know today.  Trees, rocks, animals and of course Man.  Exactly how many of them and what they all look like is unknown however everything else we see is just endless variation, change and imperfection upon those True Forms.

Of course when I speak of the True Form I speak of the True Form of Man for that is the perfect reflection of what we are.  Or rather, what we could be.  Hence, the other things which confused you is just as it sounds; the Church of the True Form.  A religion dedicated to the perfect form of Man.

You see, the True Form was once a race of people.  They were wise and strong, perfect in mind and body.  They took humanity, which was ever changing and imperfect, and tried to elevate us to their level.  They gathered us, taught us, and helped us grow and prosper peacefully.

Unfortunately there were men who would want the True Form's dominion.  They did not appreciate what was being done for them and desired power for themselves.  They misled many and began a revolt that swept over the human lands like a tidal wave during Vasālōna.  The True Forms, while perfect and possessing great secrets, were badly outnumbered and eventually destroyed.  In this war we also lost most of the works that had elevated us for the True Forms had powerful servants who smashed the cities and set many afire.  Much knowledge was lost.

We entered an age of darkness where these tyrants ruled in the place of the True Form.  They warred with each other, taking the goods produced by the workers of the land and provided for their own soldiers and households alone.  The cities which had by custom been supplied with food and other materials by the True Form tēlo were left to fend for themselves and often forced to supply the warlords with whatever goods they demanded.

The workers of the land were the first to rebel and they were eventually led by Abashær, one of the first mages and founder of the Church.  He reminded the oppressed people of the goodness of the True Form and taught many of them in the ways of magic.  (They were eventually to become the first Bashaat.)  Slowly they began to overthrow overlord by overlord, gaining momentum all the way as the tide turned.  Eventually they reached as far east and north as the Carinton River and as far south and west as the Lesting Wood.

When the overlords were thrown down, we looked around us and wondered how we were to organize.  Who would see to the distribution of resources?  Who would see to our defense?  Many suggested the newly forming Church should lead but Abashær came forth with a vision that made our choice clear.  He had a vision of the True Form.

Abashær had determined that if humanity was always changing that it could change into the True Form.  However no one could determine what the True Form looked like… until Abashær had a vision while meditating on the Word.  Not being an artist, he meticulously described the True Form with words.  With this revelation it was decided that the leaders would be those closest to the True Form.  The first Reckoning was held and the tēyol were distributed.  Ever since then Reckonings have been held every other Vasālōna {ed. Every eight years).  There, learned priests analyze petitioners and determine who is closer to the True Form and who is farther.  The various tēyol, great and small, are then distributed.

This method  of determining leadership has taught us much about breeding and the passing of traits from parents to child – and the effects of the parents before.  We have learned some traits dominate over others and that some can lie hidden for generations.  Through this knowledge it has become every person’s duty to try and breed true.  Those lines most successful are the Bloodlines, five families that have learned to breed truer than all others.  While we do not practice the foolish hereditary nobility of other lands, these families come close for the sheer number tēyol they control.  Even if you are not born close to the True Form, relation to these Bloodlines can bring great advantages.

Of course we are no mere collective of farmers under the Church!  We have cities, too, for during the Dark Years they were often neglected and grew at their own pace.  There are several large towns attached to the wealthiest tēyol, and the grand city of Abanar where our purest Bloodline come from is a tēol unto itself.  While the tēlo must still maintain the transfer of resources between village and farmer the large towns and cities have developed economies influenced by Urasti merchants.  The tēlo who rule here also provide coinage and tend to be wealthier as they buy and sell from point to point instead of simply giving and taking.  Additionally, Urasti influence has given rise to merchants who buy and sell, bypassing the Tēlo and making great wealth for themselves.

As for our defenses we are among the mightiest of lands.  In village tēyol, the tēlo gather extra food and goods for both their own welfare and the basic defense of the land.  In large tēyol the lords collect a tax and pay their way.  However the true might of Abanar comes from the Church itself.  Tithes pay for a knighthood who keep order and maintain justice throughout the tēyol.  In times of need they provide for a national defense.  And while under the support of the Church they are under the command of the Tēloshoatom who is a good and loyal follower of the Church and maintains order throughout the realm.

Of course, you must have many, many more questions.  We have magic, but I’ll not tell of those secrets now.  And what are the details of the Church’s beliefs?  All in good time.

What?  You have your own gods and refuse the divinity of the True Form?  Then you are a fool and an infidel, and you don’t look to be good for breeding anyways.  However, you do look to be fairly intelligent.  These are actually desirable traits, in a way.  Have you ever considered a life in medicine?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

4e Adventure Structure

My notebooks are in my office and my office is in the attic and the attic is a blazing inferno in this heat. I guess I could bring the notebooks down but I just don't feel like it. Instead I'm gonna play with adventure structure some more.

I never got into 4th edition D&D very much early on and it may have been all for the better. As I've begin turning my attention back to it I've discovered that WoTC didn't really get their crap together until the very end. This went for both balance and adventure writing. The few old 4e adventures that I had seen were pretty rail-roady. I'm not really surprised either - after reading the three core books my ideal of a proper 4e adventure was a total railroad with a few forks that resulted from skill challenges. It's something of a surprise and a shame since the 4e DMG was possibly the best written in terms of "this is how you run a game" that I've ever seen.

Anyways, adventure structure. The "new" adventures like The Slaying Stone and Madness and Gardmore Abbey were more like mini-sandboxes. You've got some objectives, you've got a location with a number of encounter sites and various factions to tie it all together and make it move. The "adventure" was a separate entity from the "encounters". Looking back on some of the things I've posted I can see a number of applications for this structure.

One of the most obvious is In the Name of the Empire. During the heroic tier each region would essentially be an adventure site full of encounters with each of the various factions providing quests and objectives.
Illen Shore, along with any number of "small town surrounded by adventure sites" settings that may be to come are also obvious choices. In many ways they are simply my own older versions of the Nentir Vale. The old monastery for the Followers of the Wind is probably the most blatant of the adventure locations.

Finally the Post-Apocalyptic Thing is almost explicitly designed with this in mind. The whole region is an adventure site where the PCs can wander around from place to place while unlocking new places to explore as the adventure advances. If I were to try and write something out that wasn't as ambitious as In the Name of the Empire I'd probably go with this.

So if I can't get to my notebooks next time I try to update look for an attempt to use this adventure structure on a previous setting.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Post Apocalyptic Thing

I had put this together for a sort of post-technology hex/dungeon crawl outline. It could work for post apocalypse or "there used to be advanced tech" fantasy settings. I believe this was intended for the "1600's explorers among electrotech ruins" Radiance game. Also seems fairly relevant after playing A Dark Room.

Each bolded location is essentially a small dungeon that often has sub levels. Lots of levels can't be accessed until other areas are accessed. Eventually four new campaigning areas are opened up - The Sky City, The Underdark, Beyond the Gate and Spaaaaacccccceeeeee!

The Keytower - Above ground. Open.
This tower is an old security station that holds the entrance keys for all the local facilities.

The Power Station - Above Ground. Keylocked.
A power station where batteries were charged. There is a small hand crank generator that can slowly charge up batteries. A larger generator that supplies power to the region is below ground.
Level P1 - Generator. Underground. Needs Generator codes. 
The Switch is here. It turns on the generator.

Skyfall - Above ground. Open.
A city that once flew in the clouds crashed to earth.
The Palace - Above ground. Need the Switch to be thrown.
Government codes here.

Military Base - Above Ground. Open.
There are some buildings still standing but there isn't much use there.
Level M1 - Armory. Needs keycard and a battery to access.
Ancient weapons are kept here.
Level M2 - Research lab.
Science codes are here. Has Generator access.

Biological Research Facility - Above ground. Open.
The above ground facility is plagued by mutants.
Some above ground buildings need a keycard and power.
Level B1 - Storage.
Level B2 - Labs. Needs Science codes. Has Generator access.
Level B3 - Menagerie. Has Warrens access.

Energy Research Facility - Above ground. Needs Science codes.
Level E1 - Control station. Generator codes are here.
Level E2 - Experimental power station. Needs Generator codes.

Launch Pad - Above ground. Open.
Above ground is mostly empty and bare.
Level 1 - Underground hangar. Needs Launch codes.

Engine Testing Labs - Underground. Accessed from Generator.
Level T1 - Control station. Launch codes here.
Level T2 - Testing area.

Trans-Dimensional Labs - Underground. Accessed from Generator.
Level D1 - Offices and math cubes.
Level D2 - Labs. Needs Government codes.
Level D3 - Local portals.
Level D4 - The Gate. Needs personal code. Has warrens access.

The Sky City - Several thousand feet above ground. Needs flight or portal to access.
Personal codes are here. This can be an all new adventure site destination.

The Warrens - Underground.
Leads to Underdark or other subterranean adventure destination.

Beyond the Gate
Leads to... somewhere.

The Voidship  - Underground. From the launchpad.