Saturday, July 18, 2009

Solarian: The Aspects of War Domains

The aspects of war were conceptualized as muses of war, like if instead of Melpomene and her sisters, if there was an equivalent sisterhood of Eris and the other Ares tagalongs. The Aspects of Wars' hierophants would wear alabaster masks with their lips, eyes and cheeks smudged with rust powder.

Battle (Aspects of War)

Granted Power: You enjoy a +1 morale bonus to your attack rolls.
Taboo: You cannot flee from a fight.
1: Sign: You gain a +4 bonus on your next initiative check. 10 min/lvl or until used.
2: Knight's Move: Instantaneously move 5'/2 lvls, target space must flank opponent.
3: Grace: +2 Dex, +10 land speed, melee attacks treated as blessed, glow 60' radius, lasts 1 rnd / lvl.
4: Fire Shield: Creatures attacking you take fire damage; you’re protected from heat or cold.

Murder (Aspects of War)
Granted Power: You enjoy a +1 morale bonus to your damage rolls.
Taboo: You must never allow a defeated foe to survive.
1: Critical Strike: Instant spell; for 1 rnd gain +1d6 dmg, doubled threat rng, and +4 on attack rolls to confirm critical threats.
2: Phantom Foe: Subject is always flanked by one creature. Will sv, 1 rnd/lvl.
3: Find the Gap: Your attacks ignore armor and natural armor. 1 rnd/lvl.
4: Rusted Blade: Touched weapon delivers filth fever. (Comp. Mage)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Solarian: Solarian's Domains

These domains are those associated with the deity Solarian. Each has a taboo which must be adhered to, or the Hierophant (cleric) cannot use that domain any longer. Many of these spells are from non-core books. I didn't need to go above 4th level spells for this campaign, and I always cut corners where I can, so the domains are unfinished.

Silence (Solarian)

Granted Power: You may restore a creature to life that died of damage within the past round. You touch the creature and roll 1d6 per character level; if the total of you roll exceed their negative hp score, the creature is restored to life at 0 hp.
Taboo: You may not speak above a whisper.
1: Mute: Target makes Will sv. or cannot speak for 1 min/lvl. Gaze-attack based.
2: Aura against Flame: Ignores 10 fire dmg/rnd and extinguishes fires.
3: Holy Storm: Good-aligned rain falls in 20' radius, damages evil creatures 2d6/rnd.
4: Globe of Invulnerability, Lesser: Stops 1st- through 3rd-level spell effects.

Power (Solarian)

Granted Power: You do not need to specifically memorize 0th level spells, and instead cast them freely as a sorcerer from your list. You should still memorize as usual because you may lose access to this domain if you violate the taboo.
Taboo: You cannot fight a foe over whom you have an unfair advantage; for example, you must dismount to fight a pedestrian foe, arm an unarmed humanoid opponent, et ceteras.
1: Rhino's Rush: Your next charge deals double damage.
2: Enhance Power: As Cat's Grace, except +4 morale to target's highest ability score.
3: Aid, Mass: As aid, but 1 creature per level.
4: Enlarge Person, Mass: Enlarges several creatures.

Innocence (Solarian)
Granted Power: You enjoy a +2 morale bonus to your AC and spirits cannot attack you with melee attacks, nor control you with compulsions. Compulsions originating from non-spirits function normally.
Taboo: You may not gain taint.
1: Remove Fear: You resist -2 of morale penalty and gain +2 to saves for 10 minutes.
2: Spell Immunity, Lesser: As spell immunity, but only 1st and 2nd level spells.
3: Purge Sin: Subject that is not you loses 1 taint, takes 10d6 subdual damage.
4: Transfer Wounds, Greater: Heals 4d10 +1/level, caster takes half that as subdual.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Solarian: Knowledge (religion)

In this game I had a little blurb or benefit associated with each level of the various knowledge skills. This ended up being a little too much work to keep track of, but wasn't too bad for the smaller player group at the time.

Knowledge: Religion
(gods and goddesses, mythic history, ecclesiastic tradition, holy symbols, undead)

1: The most popular deity in your region is Solarian, here is his profile and symbol:

Solarian is god of the sun, innocence, silence, youth, and beauty. His Hierophants describe him as a mute child, and say that he displays very little interest in or capability for understanding speech. The rooster is holy to him.

2: Here is a list of the other widely accepted deities and their associations:

Ilia -Purity, Childbirth, the Moon
Aspects of War -Battle, Emotion, Madness
The Spirit of the Soukh -Commerce, Travel, Charms
Defiled Woman -Rape, Betrayal
Great Worm -Transformation, Hunger
Ivory Father -Progenitor Deity

3: Here is the genealogy of the gods:

Ivory Father begat Solarian and Ilia, Aspects of War, Defiled Woman, Great Worm, and the Spirit of the Soukh. Ivory Father was then slain and devoured by his daughters the Aspects of War. Neither Ivory Father nor Ilia are much worshipped, and Great Worm is only almost solely worshipped at Silk Waters.

4: You may purchase potions of cure light wounds for 50 gp each, at any oasis where you are able to peacefully interact with the market.

You are also familiar with the Hexachord:

It represents the totality of your pantheon, with the central circle being mankind and each deities' symbol encircling it. They are, starting from the top and proceeding clockwise, Ivory Father, Aspects of War, Ilia, Great Worm, Spirit of the Soukh, and Solarian. Ivory Father is included out of respect, Defiled Woman is regarded as a demon and as such is not included.

5: More about the Genealogy of the Gods:

Many do not consider Defiled Woman or Great Worm to be true deities, as Defiled Woman was born much later than the other deities, and Great Worm appears not to be the child of Ivory Father. Indeed, Great Worm is the only deity aside from Ivory Father that seems to have created itself.

6: More about the Hexachord:

Deities on the left side are male, deities on the right are female. The higher a deity is on the hexachord, the more powerful he, she, or it is in relation to the other deities (ie Ivory father was the most powerful, Great Worm is the weakest). Defiled Woman's power remains largely unknown.

7: Extra domain option
You gain access to a domain pertaining to a deity of your choice, you retain the option of access to that domain.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Solarian: Dying Of Thirst

Saliva becomes thick and foul-tasting; the tongue clings irritatingly to the teeth and the roof of the mouth .... A lump seems to form in the throat ... severe pain is felt in the head and neck. The face feels full due to the shrinking of the skin. Hearing is affected, and many people begin to hallucinate... then come the agonies of a mouth that has ceased to generate saliva. The tongue hardens into "a senseless weight, swinging on the still-soft root and striking foreignly against the teeth." Speech becomes impossible, although sufferers have been known to moan and bellow.

Next is the "blood sweats" phase, involving "a progressive mummification of the initially living body." The tongue swells to such proportions that it squeezes past the jaws. The eyelids crack and the eyeballs begin to weep tears of blood. The throat is so swollen that breathing becomes difficult, creating an incongruous yet terrifying sense of drowning.

Finally ... there is living death, crawling on your hands and knees: "your lips disappear as if amputated, leaving low edges of blackened tissue; your teeth and gums project like those of a skinned animal, but the flesh is black and dry as a hank of jerky; your nose withers and shrinks to half its length, and the nostril-lining showing black; your eyes set in a winkless stare, with surrounding skin so contracted as to expose the conjunctiva, itself as black as the gums...; your skin [had] generally turns a ghastly purplish yet ashen gray, with great livid blotches and streaks; your lower legs and feet ... are torn and scratched by contact with thorns and sharp rocks, yet even the freshest cuts were so many scratches in dry leather, without a trace of blood"

Solarian: The Free

This is a write-up for a campaign that I ran based in a fantastical version of the Sahara desert. The customs and caste system outlined below are more or less based on the fascinating real-life Tuareg peoples, an amazing culture on whom Frank Herbert based the Fremen. The culture did not end up featuring as prominently as I had hoped, for reason that I will delve into in successive blogs.

The Free

We are known as the free. We are the favored people of the gods, created by Ivory Father to people the earth and be good. Ivory Father made the sky and the world, and had children. His children created the beasts of the sky and land to make the world more seemly. Ivory Father created mankind out of snakes, and told us that we are his finest creation --the other gods agreed. Eventually -and this is something the holy men discuss endlessly- Ivory Father died, leaving his children to care for us. His final instructions to mankind were to "Live free and be well."

The Desert

And indeed, your people live a free life of herding animals from one oasis to another, always following water and the seasons. There are many dangers in the desert, either from divine mistake or deliberate challenge to mankind. Each god or goddess has a favored desert tribe. Yours is Solarian, whose kindness warms the earth.

Your Ways

Your ways have been shaped by the gods and the needs of the desert. Your tribes are divided into castes with unique duties and privileges. The castes of your tribe are:

Ihsid (warrior-aristocrats, +2 Str, -2 Wis)
You are permitted to wield sacred Takoba swords, and even start out with one. You begin the game with the quick-draw feat. You also have a tribal enemy, against whom you have practiced fighting and deal +1 damage against.

Imhad (herdsman, +2 Con, -2 Int)
You begin the game with two bonus feats: Diehard and Toughness. You begin the game with an exceptional mount.

Ineden (blacksmith-wizards, +2 Dex, -2 Cha)
You may cast a number of 0th level spells each day equal to your Wis mod. You begin the game with three potions of random type.

It is considered spiritually unhealthy to touch iron unless you are a member of the third cast (Takoba swords have hilts of ivory or other, nonmetallic substances). Holy men are chosen for their blue eyes, while the Ineden have much darker skin than other castes.
Your men wear veils; it is considered shameful to show one's face (especially one's nose or mouth) to strangers, especially women to whom you are not married. These veils are always indigo, made by pounding plants into cotton cloth. This results in the blue dye rubbing off onto one's skin. After many years, one's skin is permanetly stained blue in the affected regions. In addition to protecting one from the dangers of the desert, veils protect from evil spirits and maintain one's dignity. Indigo and blue are holy colors.

The Old Evil and the First Men

The very first man, Banu Antania, was created as powerful and long-lived, and for whatever reason despised Ivory Father. After Banu deserted him, Ivory Father created a man and woman for each of his children, whose descendants form the tribes today. Eventually, Banu corrupted each of the first men and women, causing them to hate Ivory Father. As they grew more and more wicked, they slowly lost the gift of human form, becoming more similar to the serpents from which they were made. Their children feared them and, recognizing the wrath of Ivory Father, cast them out into the desert.
Eventually, Banu and the other first men murdered Ivory Father. The gods had by then all taken oaths not to kill Banu, and so they locked him and the first men away in chains beneath the earth where they could do no more harm.
The tribes now can live their lives without being tampered with by the Banu Antania.

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Mind, She Is Blown

A major complaint I have had about the d20 core rules is that the classes are largely boring and weak tea after five or six levels. For example, why would you ever want to continue as a pure barbarian after the first seven levels? Assuming you had the stomach to make it that far.

The reason for this is that Wizards of the Coast wants you to need to use prestige classes, thereby creating a demand that splatbooks fill. Although prestige classes (and feats) are obviously a selling point and half the point of splatbooks, it had not occurred to me that marketing concerns might have dictated the nuts and bolts of the basic classes.

The basic classes were intentionally made boring to generate sales for WOTC. Amazing!