Thursday, May 12, 2016

Stânfolde Part 5 - Miscellaneous

A few other miscellaneous items from the character creation document...

Languages

Stânfoldish - ie, Common.
Zamarian - the empire to the East.
Benâthian - the empire to the West.
Elven – Language of the elves.
Dwarven – Language of the dwarves.
Hin – Language of the Hin.
Celestial - the language of Heaven, only available to those with ranks in Knowledge (Heaven).
Infernal – the language of Hell, only available to those with ranks in Knowledge (Hell).
Enochian – the secret language of the Angels, only available to those with ranks in Knowledge (Arcana).
Umbral – the language of the spirits, only available to those with ranks in Knowledge (Spirits).

Coinage

Pence – A small copper coin the size of a penny.
Saint – A small silver coin the size of a penny.
Spirit – A medium silver coin the size of a quarter.
Solar – A small gold coin the size of a penny.
Angel – A small platinum coin the size of penny.
(On the average, fifty coins constitute one pound).

In comparison to standard prices in various supplements, including the Player’s Handbook, a solar is the equivalent of a gold piece.  The rest follows naturally:
100 pence = 1 solar             10 saints = 1 solar                2 spirits = 1 solar                  1 angel = 10 solars
- or, in Gygaxian terms -
100 pence = 10 saints = 2 spirits = 1 solar = 10 angels

The Arcangels

Uriel, who rules the worlds
Raphael, who oversees the races
Michael, who is set over chaos
Saraquael, who is set over the spirits
Gabriel, lord of the hosts
Raguel, vengeance of the lord

The Map

Everything

I've shared all of the digital documents for the campaign in this Google Drive folder.

There's a great deal more in the notebooks. I may return and type some of it out at a later date.

Stânfolde Part 4 - Guilds

Guilds

(Guilds were a major part of the world, part of a network that helped defend the region from the demons to the north. Without a guild you had very limited access to feats and prestige classes. Each one had a separate writeup.)

Joining a guild or organization provides an adventuring mercenary with many benefits.  These benefits can range from access to training in feats to monetary bonuses when it comes to equipment.  In addition, most prestige classes are rooted within various organizational structures.  It is possible to not be affiliated with a guild, and guilds can always be joined later, but choices for advancement and growth will be limited.  Below is a brief write-up of each guild that may be joined at 1st level; full write-ups complete with prestige classes and feats available will be provided separately.



The Astrologer’s Guild
Originally formed so that arcane spellcasters could hide their profession under a cloak of legitimacy.  The unofficial wizard’s guild of Sûthgeard, members still try to hide their art from prying eyes even though most are privy to their charade now.

The Bards
The Bards are similar to the Coven and the Speakers in that they aren’t an official guild.  Rather they are a loose organization of skalds and storytellers who share their knowledge and talents to each other’s benefit.  Anyone who tells a good tale can join, but Skalds make up the majority of the membership.

The Coven
More of a sisterhood than a guild, the Coven is what the witches of Stânfolde call themselves.  It is not an official guild but fills all of the same duties, even interacting with the Hiring Hall.  Non-witches can be considered Coven members, even males, as long as they are dedicated to the sisterhood’s goals and ideals.

The Chapterhouse
A mercenary guild formed by holy warriors allied to the Church.  Clerics and paladins make of the majority of its membership, but anyone able to wield a weapon can join if their faith is strong enough.

“The Guild”
The thieves’ guild of Sûthgeard.  They keep a tight leash on non-guild members operating in the city as the other powerful guilds could crush them easily if provoked.  The main reason they still exist is due to their front organization, “The Adventurer’s Guild”, which trains adventuring mercenaries in skills useful outside the city.

The Hospitalers
A religious mercenary guild somewhat similar to the Chapterhouse, save the Hospitalers specialize in healing.  Besides training mercenaries, they run hospitals throughout the land.  They are mostly comprised of clerics and paladins, but the occasional shaman, witch or non-spellcasting healer has made it into their ranks.

The Lancers
The spearman is the most basic fighting unit in all of Stânfolde.  Any spearman who wishes to be more than a man with a long pointy stick trains with the Lancers.  The Lancers are more of a training organization than a guild, but they do maintain some guild functions.  Very few adventurers come from the ranks of the Lancers.

The Outriders
There is no heavy cavalry in Stânfolde, but there is a light cavalry.  They specialize in both scouting and fast moving hit and run tactics.  Founded by the hin on their riding dogs, it has grown to include horseback riders, too.  While not a large generator of adventurers, there are some groups that find the skilled riding of a Outrider to be an essential part of a mercenary company.

The Speakers
Not formally a guild, the Speakers represent those who choose to honor the spirits as part of their devotion to Heaven.  They have their own hiearchy and function as a guild in most respects.  While Shamans make up the majority of members, anyone who respects their ways can join.

The Spellswords
Since arcane magic carries a stigma in Stânfolde, many practitioners of the art have taken up weapons to make themselves more socially acceptable.  The combination of martial and magical skills has made the Spellswords one of the most powerful and respected mercenary guilds.  Most wizards who wish to do more than study musty books join this guild, as does anyone with some interest in arcane magic.

The Whistling Death

Originally formed by various orders of secret archer brotherhoods, the Whistling Death has become an indispensable part of life in Stânfolde.  They provide training and mercenary bands to town militias and also produce talented archers who are key members of most adventuring mercenary companies.  Perhaps the largest mercenary organization in the land.

Stânfolde Part 3 - Classes

Classes

Due to the nature of the campaign, there are changes to the core classes that are available.  Some classes from the PHB have been changed or replaced, others have been eliminated completely.  Finally, there are some new core classes available that are more appropriate for this campaign.  The core classes that will be used are listed below along with comments about any changes and the role the class plays in the world.  (All classes have at lease Simple Weapon Proficiency).



Astrologer: Arcane spellcasters have hidden their skills within the cloak of astrology for ages.  Many now can combine their knowledge of the stars with computing actual magical effects.  Astrologers aren’t as adventure oriented as wizards, but their skills can be impressive if properly prepared.  (Uses Astrologer class from Occult Lore).

Avatar: Avatars are the mortal agents of the Heavenly Host, summoning down the wrath of Heaven on the unholy.  They cast divine spells like clerics, but specialize in the summoning of celestials and can even take on angelic forms at higher levels.  No one chooses to be an avatar, they are chosen by Heaven.  While they don’t have any specific place among the clergy, avatars tend to be respected no matter where they go as they bring the wrath of Heaven with them.  Many are allowed to be members of the Chapterhouse even if they don’t meet the martial requirements.  (Uses the Avatar class from Green Ronin's Avatar Handbook).

Cleric: The fighting priests of the Church, clerics are very common in the Stânfolde region.  While the less combative Ecclesiastic class is available, many members of the clergy are still clerics due to the great need for martial prowess in this region.  A change to the class is that the ability to turn undead is replaced with the ability to turn outsiders of an opposite good/evil alignment as there are no undead in this world.

Ecclesiastic: Not all the clergy is as talented at fighting as clerics are.  Those that tend to stay at home or in the city often become ecclesiastics, divine spellcasters that focus almost solely on their spellcasting abilities.  Note that ecclesiastic may not be multi-classed with cleric.  (From Netbook of Classes).

Fighter: Still the most common class, the fighter gains Intimidation and one other skill of the player’s choice as a class skill.

Martial Artist: Masters of exotic fighting styles.  There is a tradition in Stânfolde called Angel’s Fist where specially trained fighters and martial artists travel and challenge one another in a continuing quest to perfect their fighting style.  These fighting styles are taught by individual masters who often keep a retinue of students. (From Beyond Monks)

Rogue: The rogue is unchanged in rules and attitude from the Player’s Handbook.

Ranger: A consummate outdoorsman, the ranger has more in common with the rogue than the druid.  The ranger is fighting class, though he tends to focus more on stealth and skill than outright confrontation.  (Modified 3.5e ranger, on separate printout).

Paladin:  The paladin is unchanged from the Player’s Handbook.  They play a very important role in this world full demons and devils.

Shaman: In game terms, the shaman is a divine spellcaster but in reality he doesn’t cast the spells as much as coax his spirit allies to cast spells for him.  While more at home with nature than other classes, the shaman doesn’t worship it as she understands the spirits are awakened through the breath of God.  A change to the class is that angels may be taken as spirit companions along with normal spirits.  (Uses the shaman from Mongoose's Shamans).

Skald: The skald serves an important part of this martial society.  Through the skalds, a living record of the deeds of the past are kept to inspire to heroes of the present.  Skalds themselves are warrior poets, using the inspiration of the heroes from the past to make them effective combatants.  (Original class, on printout).

Witch: Unlike other arcane spellcasters, witches don’t experiment and play around with their Enochian spells.  Rather, they all cast from the same book, the Book of Shadows, which is said to have been given to them by Uriel in ages past.  While this claim is not disputed by the church, there is still some distrust from the peasantry as their magics are still arcane in nature.  The class itself focuses on subtle spontaneous spellcasting combined with ritual and natural knowledge.  (Uses the witch from the Green Ronin's Witch’s Handbook).


Wizard: Perhaps the most mistrusted of all the classes, wizards all cast their spells from the same magical language – Enochian, the angelic language of creation.  While what they do is not technically evil, it is considered the ultimate act of hubris by the church and there is a good deal of mistrust.  Most wizards learn to sling a sword along with spells to help their appearance.  The class itself has a slightly different spell list (due to the lack of necromancy) but is otherwise unchanged.

Stânfolde Part 2 - Races

Races

(I've only extracted the fluff part of the character creation document to save space. The original includes the racial bonuses if different from the PHB.)

There are several different races available in the Stânfolde region. While most of them can be found in the Player’s Handbook, there are significant enough differences that each race will receive a full write up below. This will include both descriptions of the race and their statistics.

One overall difference between the races of Stânfolde and those presented in the Player’s Handbook is that there is less friction and difference between the races. To give something of an idea of the difference, consider that a dwarf visiting an elf village will be less like an American visiting China and more like an American visiting Europe. There are common institutions shared between all the races so a human could go to a dwarf, elf or halfling settlement and expect to find common currency, language, religion and organizations. While the races do each have their own culture, they can all feel somewhat comfortable with each other.

Aasimar
While they don’t have a society of their own, the plane touched are very prevalent in these lands. Aasimars are those who can walk about in daylight as they are revered and respected for their celestial heritage. Much like their celestial ancestors, aasimar tend to be kind, honorable, and proud. They normally live among humans, often becoming heroes and leaders of their communities as they continuously strive to bring justice and prosperity to their mortal kin. Statistically, they are templates and not a race unto themselves. The following modifications are applied to an already existing racial template.

Dwarf
Among the races dwarves are best known for their hardiness, be it in battle, in their resistance of magic, or in their stubbornness of character. They share a love of justice and stone, carving their lands out of the caves beneath mountains and producing masterworks of weapons, armor, and jewels unmatched throughout the land. The heart of dwarfdom lies in the Thunder Mountains, and the farther one gets from there the more human-like the dwarves become, especially those from the Thûsend Hills.

The dwarves of the Thunder Mountains are a dour and serious sort. While they retain their love of craft and drink, martial and religious matters are considered even more important. The great loss their kin suffered first in the Black Mountains and then they suffered in the battle of Thunder Pass still weighs heavy on them. They are certainly capable of enjoying life – the greatest tavern songs are all dwarven – but when matters get serious they are famous for putting on their “killing face” and not stopping until the job is done.

There are two main dwarf-only territories in the Stânfolde region. The largest and most important are the Thunder Mountains where settlements sit both above and below the earth. The largest of these mountains, Mount Thunor, is their attempt to create as massive a dwarven city as existed in the Black Mountains and by far the larges of their towns. Conversely, the Thûsend Hills near Sûthgeard houses a smaller community dwarves that are mostly refugee clans from the Black Mountains. Along with the many dwarves who have taken up living in human lands they have become very human-like in their attitudes.

Elf
The elves of the Luna Silva, or the Moon Elves, are often considered to be the “elder sons” of the races. This is more due to their longevity as it is not known which of the races, if any at all, was created first. Creatures of the forest, elves are renown for their woodcraft and skill with the bow. Everything they do seems to be touched with grace and beauty.

Moon elves see the glory of God in all his creation and choose to see life as a celebration of Heaven despite the pain in the world. Elven church services tend to be joyous events full of singing and even some spontaneous dancing – it is often joked that it is hard to tell a morning service from an evening revelry. It isn’t that they are never serious – a look at all the elven names in the Valley of the Dead will show what they are willing to risk and sacrifice when needed – it is more a matter of trying to find the light when trapped in the dark.

The Luna Silva home to many small elven villages that usually have public buildings and merchants on the ground and homes in the trees. While there is no equivalent to the dwarven Mount Thunor, the total elven population of the Luna Silva is about equal to the number of dwarves in the Thunder mountains. However, there are a larger number of elves mixed in with human settlements as they are often sought to teach archery to militias or called to duty in the clergy.

Hin
Sometimes called “halflings” by humans, the hin of the Stânfolde region are immigrants from the hin tribes of the Southern Waste who became more “civilized”. While considered somewhat uncultured and barbaric by the other races (who do not kill a boar and use its bones to make a knife as a coming of age ceremony) the fierceness they showed in battle during the war and the food they provide and has made them welcome members of society. Riding specially bred greyhounds and herding pigs on the plains, the hin have become a very common sight over the last few hundred years.

Hin are a very practical sort, in many ways more so than the dwarves. They have a firm belief in working hard and then playing hard – the work you do during the day, be it herding pigs or killing demons, ends with the day and at night you enjoy they fact that you aren’t working. Perhaps the greatest symbol of their mindset comes from their coming of age ritual. The young hin kills a boar and then must carve it in such a way that every part has a use – his first kukri is made from its tusks and his first mug is made from its tanned hide. Nothing is wasted, whether the use be for work or for fun.

The lands of the hin ranges from the Goodwine to the Brembur rivers – they roam the plains, herding their pigs from place to place. Recently they have been settling down more and penning the pigs in, but these settlements tend to either not last long or exist exclusively for the purpose with trading with others. Over the years, the hin have also learned not to graze on the land of farmers so there are currently few conflicts of that nature, but there is concern that as herds and farms grow that there may be trouble down the road.

Human
The humans of the Stânfolde region are often considered the “glue” that hold all the other races together. Their language is the common language, their towns are the center of cross-cultural exchange. While not endowed with some of the extraordinary abilities of the other races, humans remain a vibrant and active member in the goings on throughout the land.

Teifling
The tieflings are the offspring of humans and some lower planar denizen. This ancestry causes tieflings to often be shunned by respectable society, driving them to associate with those on the wrong side of the law. Often tieflings grow up with no family or close relations, and few tieflings feel the need to look after other members of their kind. Despite these obstacles, tieflings often have a strong personal drive to rise to positions of power, wealth, and respect. Statistically, they are templates and not a race unto themselves. The following modifications are applied to an already existing racial template.

Stânfolde Part 1 - Introduction

Here's an old campaign I successfully ran with a friend acting as co-DM. It was actually completed with the characters reaching 17th level and successfully sending Lucifer back to Hell. It was created out a desire to run a Diablo style game along with a lot of elements we wanted to add to the still somewhat new 3rd edition of D&D.

Below is the introduction to the setting. It actually ended up being somewhat incorrect and incomplete as we changes things about the setting while campaign progressed. Later I'll add the character creation document which is pretty much the only other collected source for information about the setting.

The map uses the central region from my favorite map and is specifically the original one mentioned in that post.

Ancient History

In the time before, all the world was a paradise surrounded by dreams and Heaven.  Man and beast lived in harmony and they all feared and worshiped the Creator and his magnificent Silver City.  However all was not well in the City as one of the seven chosen of the Creator, Lucifer, led a rebellion against his Lord and his brothers.  The reasons for this rebellion is unknown, perhaps not even Lucifer knows any more.  However the archangel and his followers were cast down from the Silver City in Heaven and they fell towards earth.
Lucifer and his followers pierced the world, going through it, and emerged on the other side. Where he passed he left corruption. The mortal realm there was blasted, the low spiritual realm turned dark and the realm of dreams turned to nightmare. Mortals now found themselves surrounded by both dreams and nightmares, light and dark spirits.
Still the Fallen went downwards until he found himself in a place the opposite of heaven.  It was barren and empty save for he and his followers.  Unrepentant and full and rage at his Master, Lucifer swore vengeance – swore to one day to return to the Silver City as lord and master.  What began then is what is known as the Eternal Conflict – Lucifer’s continual attempt to make his realm of Hell more powerful than that of Heaven.  This ongoing war is fought in dreams, in the spirit world and in the realms of man.  Sometimes it tips in the direction of one or the other, but never has one side ever some close to claiming victory.  For those on Earth, many have chosen sides in the Eternal Conflict and some have even made a difference.  For most, though, they simply live their daily lives unaware that a battle rages about them and hope to end their time on earth in peace…

Recent History
                Over one hundred years ago the Kingdom of Stânfolde was an important nation.  Sitting neutrally between two mighty empires who were continually at odds with each other it was made incredibly rich with trade.  Nestled comfortably between the Goodwine and Sylfren rivers, it was also blessed with rich farmland and natural resources.  Its leaders were wise and the people pious.  At least for a while.
                The major trading city of Caldhâm was the capitol of the kingdom and trade center between the two empires along the connecting river.  About five hundred years ago King Anandarân declared that he had made a deal that ensured that the kingdom would be prosperous forever more.  He stopped attending church services and rumors began that he was leading some dark ceremonies himself.  Civic leaders began to join him – those who refused disappeared.  The countenance of the people of Caldhâm darkened.  Churches began to close or mysteriously burn down.
                In the southern city of Sûthgeard, the leaders of the church and government grew greatly concerned.  The darkness that seemed to have overtaken Caldhâm seemed to be growing.  The dwarves of the Thunder Mountains reported that nothing had been heard of their kin in the Black Mountains for months and the elves of Iggath had likewise disappeared.  The south began to mobilize for war.
                And war did come.  Small skirmishes between cultists and strange beasts and demons began to occur throughout the south.  As the civil war formalized and battle lines settled, it was determined that few of the original inhabitants of the north still lived.  The army that the south now faced seemed to be comprised wholly of monsters and demons and it was massive.  They completely ignored the Old Road and headed across land towards Thunder Pass, only sending a token force to Brembur Ford.
                The leader of the southern armies, a dwarf named Tharam from the Thunder Mountains, proposed a bold plan.  The army of the dwarves, reinforced by the bows of the elves, would hold Thunder pass alone.  The bulk of the army would quickly defeat the foes at Brembur Ford and then come from behind to smash the enemy.  This was executed just as planned – the dwarves and elves held the pass for three days at a staggering loss of life, but when the main army arrived from behind the demon hordes had no chance.  Those that weren’t slaughtered fled to the Darkwood and the south was saved from the immediate threat.

Modern Times

                Today, there is no more Kingdom of Stânfolde.  The land was so shattered by the war that only the city of Sûthgeard remains along with various other small towns and villages.  All “civilized” life resides south of the Brembur River save for New Edor which is little more than a remote fortress.  North of the river are monsters, demons and worse.  Continual military force is needed everywhere to counter the constant demonic appearances that seem to arise.  Only through the effort of tireless individuals is the land kept from falling into eternal chaos…

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Chaos Scar - Final Thoughts

Size and Setting
The map of the Chaos Scar doesn't come with a scale and even the details in the adventures tend to give conflicting information about the size of the Scar. On top of that is the placement of the Chaos Scar within the Nentir Vale in later 4th edition products. If you go with the placement in the Vale, the Chaos Scar is about 5 miles long or about 500 feet per square. The hints in the adventures indicate it the scale is more like 1/2 to 1 mile per square which really makes it too big to place in the Nentir Vale.

My assumption is 1 mile per square in order to give room for exploration and plenty of space for all the baddies in the Scar. Since this makes it too big for the Nentir Vale, I've placed it no place in particular except that the town of Wellspring is about two day's travel away, the Quarter Moon Inn is halfway between the Keep and Wellspring and Dardun is also within a day of the Scar.

Obviously there are different ways to do it; these choices have been made to create a certain type of game.

Future Adventures
The Chaos Scar is only meant for Heroic tier adventures but I felt that there were three more adventures that fit the feel nicely with their focus on start-touched themes. "Touch of Madness" from Dungeon #161, "Depths of Madness" from Dungeon #162 and "Brink of Madness" from Dungeon #163 for levels 10,11 and 12 respectively. This is why the town of Wellspring is included as part of the setting. Also including Stormcrow Tor ties them even closer together.

Beyond this I can't think of any pre-made adventures that would naturally flow so the rest would have to be homemade or in a different direction. Usually by this point in a campaign the adventures are writing themselves, however. If you want to get epic, have more stars begin falling from the skies all over as part of an invasion...


Monday, September 8, 2014

The Chaos Scar - Adventure Notes

Some adventures need adjustment to fit into the Scar, others could just use some adjustment to tie them in more tightly to the setting. If the change is simply in who offers the quest I won't list it here as I've already included that information in the rumor and job lists.

1a - Stick in the Mud - Perhaps make Voran's buried teleportation circle more visible once the mud is cleared out. It isn't of immediate use but it makes a nice detail for later on.

1b - Den of the Slavetakers - Instead of Torog, use Chitteruk. "Hand of Torog" rolls off the tongue better, but Torog has little else to do with the Scar and using Chitteruk more than once adds some consistency.

1f - Some Assembly Required - Dardun is relocated near the King’s Wall and the mine that the kobolds are hiding in are located within the Scar.

1i - Elves of the Valley - When the Voice in the Darkness is destroyed, have a Chaos Shard be embedded near the base.

Torak Banehammer - Torak can be a good source to run a series of quests as he searches for the Hammer of Ivak. He might suspect the duregar Barulg from The Hammer Falls of having the hammer first and then perhaps suspect the lost temple of Erathis from Dead by Dawn is actually the lost temple of Moradin before honing on his final destination. He can make for a useful companion character, too.

2h - Slaark's Crown - Nothing needs to be done with adventure but the rivalry with Urgog's goblins in Down the Goblin Hole can be played up, perhaps with Slaark trying to hire the party to take out Urgog.

3c - The Wayward Wyrmling - Have the Stormcrows kill Karonzaxus for a bit of continuity.

3d - Storm Tower - The tower is along the King’s Wall and Lord Drysdale intends to use it as a watchtower which was its use back when the heroes lived there.

3e - Fjorin's Foothold - Can pretty much be played as-is except for its location in the Scar. If you'd like, consider re-skinning the chitine into creepier star-touched baddies whom Fjorin has made a devil's bargain with.

4c - Vanguard Tower – The adventuring group that used to own the tower is almost completely irrelevant. Instead have the tower be Voran’s, mysteriously in tact after the star fell, complete with another teleport location for the PCs to use. The teleportation circle is activated by pouring a decanter of seemingly endless oil on it - the decanter is in the tower.

4d - Stormcrow Tor - The Wrathstone is made from a potent chaos shard and was obtained from the Banite's keep.

4e - Blood of Gruumsh - This doesn't really need any changes; the Scar seems like a perfectly good place for the Colony to try and hide.

6b - The Radiant Morn - Consider having the cultists follow Chitteruk or some other non-existent deity instead of Baalzebul.

7e - Vainglorious - Replace Torm with Moradin. If you'd like, have Torak Banehammer give the quest. If you'd like to keep Moradin followers dwarfy then change Sir Tavil Soarvaren to Tavil Banehammer, Torak's older brother.

8c - The Star touched Grove - The grove is now a remote wilderness location. Use the setups in the rumor and job lists to establish things.