29 December 2013

Alignment in A Mad God Rising

I have come up with a 3 point alignment system that I think would be great for my campaign and leaves the crap I hate about Law vs Chaos and Good vs Evil 9 point alignment.
This is for my ACKS hack rebooted A Mad God Rising game.

The  axis  has 3 positions, and it is where the individual is placed, or places itself on the cosmological scale.
Cosmos Generally aligned with fundamental forces of reality. Most humans and dwarves are here. Clerics have be aligned with the Cosmos OR the Void, there is no middle ground (because the Weird is weird and has no fundamental forces).
Weird Not really a mid point, although sort of sometimes. It's the position of beings that in some part aren't fully a part of the fundamental reality, or utilize forces that sometimes subvert reality. Elves and other faerie creatures start here. Mages can either be Weird or Void, but NOT Cosmos, same for elves and other faerie creatures.
Void The stuff that isn't outside because their is no outside of the Cosmos for things to be from. Pact-Binders MUST be aligned with the Void because the things the make pacts with don't exist yet do  are from the Void.

All clerics will be  Cosmic OR Voidic. Cosmic would be essentially what a paladin would be like, willing to make sacrifices to protect society at large and acting in accordance with reality and the gods.
Elves would  be Weird.
Goblins would probably be Weird.
Most humans would be Cosmic as they are of fully of the natural world.
A Mage would likely be Weird as she would probably not be arsed to defend people, but also wouldn't go out her way to destroy them, which also why she is Weird and not Void because she has enough ambition and talent to be a mage but so much ambition as to seek powers from outside.
 ALL GODS are aligned with the Cosmos as they are part of what defines fundamental reality. To be of the Weird would to be not a god, but some very powerful faerie creature. To be of the Void is to exist/not-exist and be the antithesis of reality and therefore not a god.

Snipped from my Player's Book

Alignment shows where a person finds their self in relation to reality, the gods, and things outside of reality.
Alignment however is not a descriptor of “good” or of “evil.” There are evil gods, and potentially good workers of the Voidic arts.
There are three such positions, Cosmos, Weird, and Void.
Cosmos: This covers people and creatures that are inherently of the natural world (humans, dwarves, moogles, halflings, and natural beasts), and have not turned away or sought other sorts of power, as well as people that consciously align themselves (clerics and other wielders of divine magic) with the forces underpinning reality, the Gods. All Gods are aligned with the Cosmos as they are part of what defines fundamental reality.
Weird: This covers primarily covers those people whose existence are not a direct affront to the natural world, but are still not fully of it, such as elves and other faerie creatures. Wielders of arcane magic also fall under this because their magics bend the laws governing reality, but still follow their own laws, laws which are, or were those of the Fairie Realms. The closest thing to a God of Weird would be those few powerful fairies rumored to still exist. The elves do not worship gods because they still tell tales of both the damage wrought to them by the Gods of the Last World, and of the ancient Elf and Fairie Lords which all elves could, and some still, aspire to become.
Void: These are those people, creatures, and beings that either directly works to tear down the current reality, or are the product of those forces. Things of the Void break, subvert, and ignore the laws of nature. The undead, free willed or not, are Voidic. Clerics to the fell forces Outside are Voidic. Powerful demonic beings are Voidic.

Brief After Action Reviews of my ACKS game's first two sessions.

This is mostly just scraped from my G+ profile, and may or may not get more fleshed out. I do plan on doing better AARs for future sessions, with pictures.

This also contains spoilers for Frog God Games' Free RPG Day Swords & Wizardry module Hall of Bones, which I notice is not free on their webstore.

My Houserules for Adventuer Conqueror King System

Max HP for first level.

No Attack Throws. I use the Target 20 system with an attack bonus progression based on the attack throw progression in ACKS and descending armor class.

Dungeon traps level. They didn't believe I would take their joking comment seriously but the added level of WTF they expressed when the first pit trap was suddenly deeper made it worth it. This will do four things, add WTF, discourage them from trap checking with livestock and hirelings, make it harder for them to metagame a dungeon any replacement characters haven't been in, and it further encourages them to stay in the dungeon longer. Naturally dungeon traps will only level when the players do, which is only after they have left the dungeon and made it to a civilized place for rest.

9 and 30 Kingdoms' Weapon Damage Tables. Well I have them on my screen, but I remembered to use them exactly one time so far. It was on a critical hit. I just need to remember to use them, because they look like fun. The one time I used them the players were all excited, partly because it was a crossbow bolt that ripped through two giant rats killing them both. I'm thinking about trying them out again.

Bum Rush the Titan's D&D Ephemera: 1d4 Tables. I haven't had a reason to use them yet even though I want to because they look like fun.

Firearms. I'm including the Early Modern Firearm rules from LotFP, even though no one has any, mostly because everyone is broke, but also because I sorta forgot to tell everyone. Also, utilizing Brenden S's Firearms Quick Reference sheet. I have also added in proofed armor so firearms don't become too powerful.

Psionics. The 2e Complete Psionics Handbook is the splat book.

Monks. I may or may not make a dwarf monk class.
Heroic Skeleton. Sometimes the walking dead aren't villains.

Shadowcasters: Now called the Tenebraeist.

Warpforged: They are like the long lost high tech versions of Warforged.

Octorok : Because my wife is a fan of the Legend of Zelda series.

Moogles: Because I honestly dislike gnomes, but love what gnomes are used for commonly.
Halflings: Well I held out as long as I could...

Raptors, hobgoblins and mecha. Oh my.

My wife decided that today was paint minis day.
She’s painting her feathered raptors.
I’m painting my hobgoblins.
The raptors are from http://www.garyhuntminiatures.com/_dinos_28mm.html
The hobgoblins are from http://otherworldminiatures.co.uk/
The hobgoblin leader is Pathfinder’s iconic samurai.

11 December 2013

More spoils

Campaign Setting Necromancy: A Mad God Rising

Inspired by +Reynaldo Madriñan and his posts on the origins of his campaign setting, I dug out an old campaign pitch for a game that didn't last near as long as I would have liked, although the reasons were unrelated to the game.
This was back in 2011, back when I was just getting into Pathfinder and thought it was just the bee's knees as it improved on 3.x in many ways. This was also before I was aware of the OSR movement, which is interesting because it was a setting designed around allowing lots of the cool stuff from 3.x/PF with justification for lots of dungeon crawling, in dungeons that were the remains of dead gods. Looking over it with some distance, I still like the concepts I used to mash some cool things form 3.x and PF together, but if I were to attempt to run it again I would probably use a retro-clone, and lightly hack the non-standard magic systems into it.

This world began as many things do, with the destruction of something else. In this world’s case, it was the destruction of the mortal realm, and the faerie realms.
                Long ago, the gods of the mortals and the faerie lords warred. It began with, like many things, something petty; some minor farming god groped the lover of a faerie lord. Or was it because a faerie lord wasn’t invited to a god’s wedding? In the end it doesn’t matter what actually sparked the war. The faerie lords began their invasion of the mortal realm. Their war stretched on for centuries, laying waste to greater portions of the mortal realm as time went on. Until one day several mortal heroes, or minor gods, infiltrated the strong holds of the greatest of the faerie lords and left powerful artifacts of cold iron and mortal death which tore open rifts between the realms funneling the very essences of the faerie realms into the mortal realm. The instability created by this nearly destroyed everything, had the funneling not been bringing the realms closer into alignment with each other, what proved to be final tipping point was the total mutual annihilation of the gods and the faerie lords. The resultant outpouring of divine and fey energies destroyed the remaining barriers between the realms, and their corpses formed the foundation of the new world.
                There are still pockets of the old realms scattered throughout the world, and out amongst the stars.
                Not all the old gods and faerie lords died, and not all that did die are gone. Some of those long passed are still reachable by the use of heretical pacts forged between them and the denizens of the world. Many powerful beings ascended to godhood after the wholesale destruction. More importantly the Well of Souls of All Worlds was cracked loosing the very stuff of souls, incarnum, into the world.
                But the most important thing to note is that when things that can’t die do not die, but linger on, growing mad, its madness can leak into the world tainting it.

                The races of the faerie realm were badly decimated; first by the wars and then by the migration into the mortal realm. The most numerous of them can no longer be truly called faerie. The elves and goblins were at one point the mightiest of the faerie races. Unfortunately they have both fallen greatly from their great splendor. The elves retained much their otherworldly faerie traits, only shedding their immortality and vulnerability to iron. Of course they are no longer preternaturally strong anymore either. The goblins, the poor goblins, the vast majority of their once mighty race of noble warriors have degenerated into savage cannibals. There are a few throwbacks to when they were doughty warriors, and the occasional elf noble chooses to dally with them, giving rise to cunning half-breeds and fearsome monsters. The elves have also been known to dally with humans, for reasons unknown. It is in some circles strongly frowned upon as it is seen as the further weakening of the elven race, at least breeding with goblins is breeding with another fallen faerie race. The final faerie race of note is the gnomes. Gnomes are in many ways the most fae like of the fallen faerie. They behave in ways that perplex their fellow fae and the mortal races. Their innate illusionary magics and unusual coloration further emphasis their strange fae heritage.
+2 dex, +2 int, -2 con
Descendants of the noble faerie lords
Core Rulebook pg 22
-2 str, +4 dex, -2 cha
Savage degenerate faeries
Bestiary pg 156
+2 dex, +2 int, -2 wis
Noble warriors bred from goblins

+2 to one ability score
Love-children of the elves and humans
Core Rulebook pg 24
+2 con, +2 dex, -2 str
Tricksters and lovers of a good time
Core Rulebook pg 23

                The mortal races fared much better, aside from the massive casualties, than the faerie. Those that survived the wars became stronger in many ways, physically, mentally and spiritually. The increased levels of divine energy, along with the additions of the preternatural energies of the faerie and the pure power of creation from the Well of Souls of All Worlds, made magic more readily available to all the mortal races.  The most notable mortal races are the humans, orcs (and the half-breed half-orcs), dwarves and halflings. Of them, the humans gained the most having been the least of the mortal races before the wars. Their natural adaptability increased several fold, allowing them to fill the power vacuum left by stronger mortal races. The orcs actually regressed further into savagery, retreating deeper into the mountains, putting them into greater conflict with the dwarves. The closest to how orcs used to be is surprisingly the result of interbreeding with humans, the half-orcs. Tempering the degenerated savagery of the orcs with the flexibility of the humans, the half-orcs are part of neither world, either too weak for the orcs, or too ugly for the humans. The poor halflings, once living in pleasant villages, now forced to live a nomad existence after the war caused some devastation. Generations after the wars they have grown accustomed to their nomadic lifestyle, living seemingly carefree lives. The least changed of the mortal races are the dwarves; seemingly as stout as the mountains they call home. Skilled craftsmen with metals and stone, their wares are widely traded and imitated.
+2 to one ability score
Curious and adaptable
Core Rulebook pg 27
+4 str, -2 int, -2 wis, -2 cha
Savage degenerates
Bestiary pg 222
+2 to one ability score
The near outcast results of orc raids
Core Rulebook pg 25
+ dex, +2 cha, -2 str
Friendly nomads
Core Rulebook pg 26
+2 con, +2 wis, -2 cha
Stout craftsmen
Core Rulebook pg 21

                The mystical arts we not unknown in the mortal realm and the faerie realms before the wars, of course due to the cataclysmic events that led to the new world, those arts have changed, spread and new arts have arose. The mortal races primarily had their magical might centered on the servants of their gods; arcane magic was not as powerful in comparison to the raw power at the disposal of the mouth pieces to the gods. Conversely, the magical arts the faerie used was both more widely spread, almost every fae had some manner of minor magic at its disposal, and was closest in nature to what is now know as arcane magic. Divine magic was almost totally unheard of as the closest beings to gods in the faerie realms were simply more powerful faeries, and not even the least of the fae would stoop to worship another faerie as a god. Still there were among the fae, those who worshiped the raw power of nature.
                After the wars and the forging of a new world, races discovered magics they had either never seen before, or had dismissed as weak. The mortal races discovered the new found power in the arcane, as the divine diminished, and some of the fae discovered the power in serving gods, all of whom were just as new as the world. In addition, many scholars of the mystical discovered ways to contact and gain power from the remnants of the old gods and faerie lords who had all perished and had their spirits banished beyond the Sea of Chaos. Many communities, churches especially, deemed such magic as foul and dark magics. The old gods were responsible for the destruction of the worlds in the first place was the common rallying call against binders and their pacts. Not all of the new found mystical arts were considered to be foul and heretical. The war and resulting destruction of the Well of Souls of All Worlds allowed the discovery of how to manipulate the raw energy of souls into soul melds and how to bind these soul melds to spiritual centers of the melder’s soul, called chakras.
Core Rulebook
Core Rulebook
Tome of Magic
Magic of Incarnum