Sunday, June 30, 2013

Campaign Design - Race: Halflings

Halflings
(adapted from the Player's Handbook)

Halflings are clever, capable opportunists. Halfling individuals and clans find room for themselves wherever they can. Most halflings are nomads, whether wandering as horse tribesmen on the At'viras Steppes and the Tozlan Desert, or sailing the seas as one of the many sea merchant clans or piloting pirate ships from the Gorovlic Islands, or simply traveling as wandering trading clans in wagons or riverboats. Often they are strangers and wanderer, and others react to them with suspicion or curiosity. Halflings might be reliable, hard-working citizens, or they might be pirates or raiders waiting for the opportunity to prey upon the unwary. Regardless, halflings are cunning and resourceful survivors.

Personality: Halflings prefer trouble to boredom. They are notoriously curious. Relying on their ability to survive or escape danger, they demonstrate a daring that many larger people cannot match. Halfling clans are nomadic wanderers going wherever circumstance and opportunity takes them, and they tend to spend gold as quickly as they acquire it. Because of their affinity for wandering and their smaller subsistence requirements, halflings have come to dominate sea and river trade, as well as controlling most of the inhospitable desert and plains regions of the three worlds.

Physical Description: Halflings stand about 3 feet tall and usually weigh between 30 and 35 pounds. Their skin is ruddy and their hair is usually black and straight. They have brown or black eyes. Halfling men rarely wear beards, but long hair is common, and among the sea faring clans, mustaches are as well. They generally wear simple, comfortable, and practical clothes.

Relations: Halflings usually try to get along with everyone else. Halfling merchants and traders are adept at fitting into a community of humans, dwarves, alvar, khülen, or gnomes and making themselves valuable and welcome. Since human society changes faster than the societies of the longer lived races, it is human society that most frequently offers halflings opportunities to exploit, so haflings are often found in or around human lands.

However, because halflings are so often found among pirate crews and nomadic raiding parties, most members of other races are generally wary around halflings. Even halfling merchants have a reputation as sharp traders, and as a result most people encountering a halfling make sure to keep a clear eye and their hand on their purse.

Alignment: Halflings run the full range of alignments. They are comfortable dealing with change, but they also rely upon intangible constants such as clan ties and personal honor. Many halflings are benevolent and friendly, seeking to establish trading partnerships with outsiders, while others are ruthless and unscrupulous.

Halfling Lands: Halflings can be found wandering the open plains and steppes as well as the wild deserts of the three worlds. Both the At'viras Steppes and the Tozlu Desert are the home of many halfling clans of nomads. However, the true halfling "homeland" is the rocky archipelago of the Gorovlic Islands, and the numerous ports of call that can be found there. Halfling merchant seamen and pirates both make their homes among these small isles, and almost all of the largest halfling settlements are found there. A large number of halflings have completely abandoned life on land, and taken up seafaring, living their lives aboard family-run merchant ships.

Halflings can also be found scattered throughout most lands in small, tight-knit communities of wanderers, usually plying riverboats or caravans of wains. While they work readlity with others, they often make friends only among their own kind.

Religion: Most halflings worship Aíne, the patron of the race, and the celestial mistress of diplomacy and commerce, which are matters close to the halfling heart. Some halflings follow Caire, and others hold Eiur in high regard. Those that ply the rivers and seas of the three worlds are prone to follow Hler, while the nomads and desert dwellers often extol the virtues of Syfa. Those halflings that turn to evil are prone to follow almost any of the Demon Lords, but they are most often found in the service of Vassatar.

Language: Seafaring halflings all speak Gorovlic, while those who wander the wide steppes and deserts most commonly speak one of the many dialects of Tozlan. For dealing with outsiders, halflings commonly learn another language, most often Enslaic, Rhadynnic, or Sorglish.

Names: Halflings from the Gorovlic Islands have names that are typically Gorovlic or Tozlan, such as Bojan, Coskun, Cvitko, Dragan, Erdal, Kursat, Milovan, or Vladko. Halflings that live among other peoples sometimes adopt names similar to those of the local populace in an effort to fit in with their neighbors.
  • Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength.

  • Size: Small. As Small creatures, halflings gain a +1 size bonus to AC, a +1 size bonus to attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but use smaller weapons, and their lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.

  • Movement: Halflings have a base speed of 20 feet.

  • Athletic: +2 racial bonus on Climb, Jump, and Move Silently checks. Halflings are agile, surefooted, and athletic.

  • Lucky: +1 racial bonus on all saving throws. Halflings are surprisingly capable of avoiding mishaps.

  • Fearless: +2 morale bonus on saving throws against fear. This bonus stacks with the halfling +1 bonus on saving throws in general.

  • Sharp Ears: +2 racial bonus on Listen checks. Halflings have keen ears.

  • Automatic Languages: Either Gorovlic or Tozlan plus Enslaic, Rhadynnic, or Sorglish.

  • Favored Class: Scout (from Complete Adventurer).

  • Favored Class: Expert.

  • Exclusive Class: Swashbuckler (from Complete Warrior).

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Campaign Design - Race: Gnomes

Gnomes
(adapted from the Player's Handbook and Races of Destiny)

Gnomes are a race that literally inscribed with the power of magic. No one knows when it was done, but all accounts agree that at some point in the past, the alvar took the gnomish race and infused them with magical power, so that all are now born with luminous runes of power in their very flesh. Because of this, gnomes have become the masters of arcane knowledge. While the alvar have a natural affinity for magic, gnomes gravitate towards the scholarly study of the art, and as a result have come to dominate arcane educational centers, and the practice of alchemy.

Personality: Gnomes are inquisitive. They love to find things out by personal experience. At times they are even reckless. Their curiosity makes them natural scholars, arcanists, and engineers, but their racial tendencies also makes them natural explorers, bards, and investigators. While they are devoted to their studious pursuits, they also have a great sense of humor and love puns, jokes, games, and pranks. Gnomes are contemplative and tend to be somewhat cautious, choosing to study a situation and develop a plan before acting. They tend to create detailed plans for even the most mundane activities, and many are fond of charts, diagrams, and schematics, often making ludicrously overcomplicated plans and devices to accomplish relatively mundane tasks or to carry out practical jokes.

Physical Description: Gnomes stand about three to three and a half feet tall and generally weigh 40 to 45 pounds. Their skin runs from a deep reddish tan to a woody brown. All gnomes are bald, but males grow facial hair, with most sporting well-groomed beards. Gnomes are primarily an urban race, found in cities and towns. Gnomes, even the poor ones, favor the most expensive and well-made clothing they can find, with fine embroidery. long robes and cape, and multiple layers. Gnomes also have a fondness for gems and other fine jewelry.

The most striking physical features of gnomes are the luminous symbols that adorn their bald heads, markings that allow them to tap the arcane power that has been imbued into the race. Most gnomes are proud of their heritage, wearing their luminous markings with pride, but some are resentful of the idea that their ancestors were modified to make the race what it is today.

Relations: Gnomes generally get along well with most other races. Gnomes and halflings tend to be especially friendly, leading scholars in some quarters to speculate that the original stock that the alvar drew gnomes from may have actually been a group of halflings. Others dismiss this as nonsense and attribute the affinity between the two races as being the result of their shared need to stand against the "big folk" that surround them. Gnomes and ironborn are very close as well, for the obvious reason that all known ironborn were created by and in the service of the gnome-dominated Collegium.

Gnomish relations with other races are generally decent, as gnomes have established a racial reputation as being mostly even handed and fair minded, a reputation heavily influenced by the policies established by the Collegium in Enselm.

Alignment: Gnomes are most often good. Those who tend towards law are sages, engineers, researchers, scholars, investigators, or consultants. Those who tend towards chaos are minstrels, tricksters, wanderers, or artists. Gnomes are usually good-hearted, and even the tricksters among them are more playful than spiteful. Evil gnomes are rare, but they are usually terrifying.

Gnomish Lands: The city of Enselm is the heart of gnome culture and influence. Although gnomes can be found throughout the three worlds, usually engaged in some sort of scholarly, arcane, or mercantile pursuit, the largest concentration of gnomes is found in and around the cross-world city of Enselm.

Religion: Gnomes are generally more interested in arcane learning than the worship of divine power, however most hold Caire in high regard as the patron of their race, and many have a soft spot for Brid as well. Most gnomes also honor Füllar and Woda, due to the interest those deities have in arcane knowledge. Evil gnomes are prone to worship Ishi and Kivutar.

Language: Gnomes speak Enslaic, which has become synonymous with "Gnomish" in the minds of many people. Most gnomes also speak Rhadynnic or Sorglish. Given Enselm's position spanning the three worlds, and the natural gnomish inclination towards scholarship, many of the best linguists and linguistic scholars in the worlds are gnomes.

Names: Gnomish names are almost always Enslaic in form, although some gnomes have been known to adopt Zwersprache names in the Hartzstadt style.
  • Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -2 Strength, -2 Wisdom

  • Size: Small. As Small creatures, gnomes gain a +1 size bonus to AC, a +1 size bonus to attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but use smaller weapons, and their lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.

  • Movement: Gnomes have a base speed of 20 feet.

  • Luminous Sigils (Su): The sigils that decorate a gnome’s head glow softly, providing illumination equal to that of a candle. Gnomes can make their sigil disappear by concentrating for a moment (as a standard action), but they don't receive the sigil's benefits and can't use any special abilities granted by gnomish words while they're doused. Restoring the sigils to visibility is a free action. Luminous sigils are insubstantial and disappear into any matter they touch. A gnome's sigil remains present and in effect even when a gnome takes another form, unless they would lose their supernatural abilities as a result of the form change.

  • Glyphic Resonance (Ex): Gnomes are the physical embodiment of magical language, so they interact strangely with symbol-based spells. This group includes all spells whose names contain the word glyph, rune, sigil, or symbol. When a gnome encounters such magic, one of two things happens: either the gnome's resonance overpowers the spell, or the foreign magic corrupts the mystical language that defines the gnome. Gnomes have a -4 racial penalty on saving throws against these effects if their level is less than the caster level of the spell. If a gnome’s level equals or exceeds the spell's caster level, she is immune to the effect.

  • Power Sigils (Su): In addition to the array of dimly glowing luminous sigils that decorate their head, a 1st level gnome has a single brightly glowing power sigil that grants them certain bonuses. A power sigil can be discerned from other sigils surrounding a gnome with a DC 10 Spot check and identified with the DC 15 Knowledge (Arcana) check. For every new level of spells beyond 1st that the gnome can cast in different spell casting class, a gnome gains another different power sigil and the bonus granted by each power sigil increases to +2. Depending on the combination of power sigils they choose, a gnome gains one or more extra special abilities. The benefit of each power sigil is given below, along with the Common translation of each sigil's name.

    • Ra (Vigor) +1 bonus on Strength checks and Strength-based skill checks.

    • Cui (Life) +1 bonus on Wisdom checks, Constitution checks, and Wisdom- or Constitution-based skill checks.

    • Gû (Magic) +1 bonus to caster level for all spells and spell-like abilities (up to a maximum value equal to the gnome's character level).

    • Nau (Mind) +1 bonus on Intelligence checks and Intelligence-based skill checks.

    • Cel (Grace) +1 bonus on Dexterity checks and Dexterity-based skill checks.

    • Mân (Soul) +1 bonus on Charisma checks and Charisma-based skill checks.

  • Gnomish Words (Su): Each combination of two power sigil's names makes an gnomish word of great power and grants extra abilities to a character that possesses the two power sigils. The benefits of each word are:

    • Ragû: (vigor-magic) A gnome can use their Strength score to determine the bonus spells they gain for a high ability score instead of the normal ability score used by their class to determine this feature. If they have more than one spell casting class, they may use their Strength score in place of any or all of the ability score used by their classes for this purpose.

    • Racui: (vigor-life) Twice per day the gnome can spend a turn or rebuke attempt as a swift action to gain a bonus to weapon damage rolls equal to their Wisdom bonus. This effect lasts until the beginning of their next turn, and it applies only to weapons with which they have selected the Weapon Focus feat.

    • Racel: (vigor-grace) When the gnome deals damage to a target with a sneak attack or a critical hit, they gain a +2 dodge bonus to their AC against that target until the beginning of their next turn.

    • Cuigû: (life-magic) The gnome can spend a turn undead attempt as a swift action to add 1d8 points to the damage healed by any cure spell they cast before the end of the next turn, or a rebuke undead attempt as a swift action to add 1d8 points to the damage dealt by any inflict spell they cast before the end of their next turn. They may use this ability twice per day.

    • Cuimân: (life-soul) Twice per day the gnome can expend a spell slot (but not a slot holding a prepared spell) as a swift action to gain a bonus equal to the spell's level on turning checks, turning damage rolls, and on attack and damage rolls when making a smite attack. This effect lasts until the beginning of the gnome's next turn.

    • Naura: (mind-vigor) During the time when the gnome prepares spells, they can choose to leave up to two spell slots unfilled to gain the ability to cast any other prepared spell (or spells) of the same level as if it had been prepared with the Still Spell feat. This effect lasts until the next time the gnome prepares spells. They cannot fill the vacant spell slot (or slots) until the next time they prepare spells.

    • Naucui: (mind-life) Twice per day the gnome can spend one or more turn or rebuke undead attempts as a swift action to add a metamagic effect to a spell they are casting with no effect on the spell's casting time or effective level. They must have the metamagic feat whose effect they want to apply. The gnome must expend a number of turn or rebuke attempts equal to the normal level adjustment of the metamagic feat. If they choose to apply the Heighten Spell effect, it costs one turn attempt per level that they heighten the spell, up to a maximum of 9th level.

    • Naugû: (mind-magic) During the time when the gnome prepares spells, they can choose to leave up to two spell slots unfilled to add +1 to the save DCs of all her other spells of that level (including spells from different classes). If they leave two spell slots unfilled, they must be at different spell levels. This effect lasts until the next time the gnome prepares spells. They cannot fill the vacant spell slot or slots until the next time they prepare spells.

    • Celcui: (grace-life) Twice per day the gnome can expend a spell slot (but not a slot holding a prepared spell) as a swift action to gain an insight bonus equal to their Wisdom bonus on Reflex saves and their Dexterity bonus on caster level checks to overcome spell resistance. This effect lasts for 1 minute per spell level of the spell slot expended.

    • Celgû: (grace-magic) The gnome can use their Dexterity score to determine the bonus spells they gain for a high ability score instead of the normal ability score used by their class to determine this feature. If they have more than one spell casting class, they may use their Dexterity score in place of any or all of the ability scores used by their classes for this purpose.

    • Celnau: (grace-mind) During the time when the gnome prepares spells, they can choose to leave a 1st- or 2nd-level spell slot unfilled to add an insight bonus equal to the spell slot's level on attack rolls when making an unarmed strike or a sneak attack. This effect lasts until the next time a gnome prepares spells. They cannot fill the vacant spell slot until the next time they prepare spells.

    • Mânra: (soul-vigor) Twice per day, a gnome can expend a spell slot (but not a slot holding a prepared spell) as a swift action to gain an insight bonus equal to the spell's level to AC and on weapon damage rolls. This effect lasts until the beginning of the gnome's next turn and the damage bonus applies only to weapons with which they have selected the Weapon Focus feat.

    • Mangû: (soul-magic) Twice per day the gnome can expend a spell slot (but not a slot holding a prepared spell) as an immediate action to gain an insight bonus equal to the spell's level on the next saving throw they make before the start of their next turn.

    • Mânnau: (soul-mind) Twice per day, the gnome can use a spell slot (but not a slot holding a prepared spell) to spontaneously cast any of their prepared spells of the same spell level. The spell is cast using the caster level at which it is prepared.

    • Mâncel: (soul-grace) The gnome can expend a spell slot (but not a prepared spell) as a swift action to add 1d6 per spell level to their unarmed strike damage rolls and their sneak attack damage rolls. This effect lasts until the beginning of their next turn, and they may use it twice per day.

  • Educated Insight: +2 racial bonus on skill checks for any one Knowledge skill (chosen at character creation). Education and learning are important in gnome culture.

  • Nose for Alchemy: +2 bonus on Craft (Alchemy) checks.

  • Arcane Intuition: Use Magic Device is always a class skill for gnomes; they have an inborn ability to understand and wield magical items.

  • Automatic Languages: Enslaic and either Rhadynnic or Sorglish.

  • Favored class: Wizard.

  • Favored class: Adept.

  • Exclusive class: Arcane Engineer (from Path of Magic).

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Campaign Design - Race: Ironborn

Ironborn
(adapted from the Ebberon Campaign Setting and The Book of Iron Might)

The Ironborn are a race of living constructs made to serve the Collegium. They developed sentience as a side effect of arcane experiments that sought to make them into useful and versatile servants. With each successive model that emerged from the Collegium's arcane forges in Enselm, the Ironborn evolved until they became a new kind of creature.

Personality: The ironborn were made to serve as bodyguards, spies, trackers, and other types of servants for the mages of the Collegium in Enselm. When they are called upon to perform a task, they pursue it with single minded dedication, displaying adaptability impossible for mindless constructs. Though they are created to serve their wizardly masters, the Collegium recognizes their status as free-willed beings, and grants them their freedom after a set period of training and service. Once on their own, some settle into lives as artisans or laborers, while others wander as adventurers or enlist as mercenaries. Though ironborn have been created for almost every possible purpose, most have been built for combat, serving as an iron ring to guard their arcane masters in the Collegium.

Each ironborn was built for a specific purpose, and most pursue that purpose with a focused intensity. Even when granted their freedom, many Ironborn choose to remain in the service of the Collegium to continue to pursue their purpose. Others don't feel the call of their vocation as strongly, but they still feel confident in pursing it - it simply feels right to follow the prescribed path. When freed, they may leave the service of the Collegium but still pursue their predetermined calling. Still others choose an even more independent path: questioning the method of their creation, studying the nature of sentience and consciousness, and pondering what it means to be alive. Some outsiders speculate that this last group of ironborn are actually the reason that the Collegium built the race, but if so, the Blue Mages are not forthcoming with confirmation.

Physical Description: Though other races fall into standard ranges of height, weight, and size, the ironborn face no such restrictions. Each is crafted to fulfill a specific purpose. Warriors might be eight feet tall, with massive barrel chests and hulking, spiked arms. A scout or explorer might be no taller than a halfling, with nimble hands and strong legs.

Most ironborn are crafted from iron, steel, bronze, copper, silver, and sometimes mithril, adamantium, or darkwood. They have humanoid shapes and bodies built to enhance the purpose for which they were built. In all other respects, their shapes and forms are as varied as their personalities and vocations.

Relations: As the designed servants of the Blue Mages of the Collegium, the ironborn are seen by many as extension of their creators' will. Those on generally friendly terms with the Collegium, such as the Hartzstadt dwarves, will generally react favorably towards an ironborn they encounter. Those who fear or distrust the Blue Mages are likely to view any ironborn with suspicion, even and ironborn that claims to be acting on its own. Many outsiders will assume, for good or ill, that any ironborn is actually a servant working on behalf of the Blue Mages.

Alignment: As befits creatures created by the carefully even-handed Collegium, the ironborn tend towards neutrality, and a majority tend towards lawfulness, with an innate respect for authority. They were built to serve, not to wonder whether their service is right. Though they are capable of independent thought and moral speculation, most do not choose to wrestle with ethical questions.

Ironborn Lands: The ironborn have no lands of their own, but their "home" is Enselm, where all known ironborn were built in the arcane forges of the Collegium. Many free ironborn have migrated elsewhere, often taking up residence in places like Hartzstadt where they are accepted into dwarven society, or, for martially inclined ironborn, places like the Shield Lands where their skills make them welcome immigrants.

Religion: As constructed beings designed to serve an order of arcane spell casters, most ironborn are simply uninterested in religion. In some quarters, the idea that an ironborn could have a soul or would be of interest to a divine power is regarded as heretical. Even so, a not inconsequential number of ironborn venerate one or more of the celestial powers, and a handful have been known to honor some of the infernal lords. Most religiously inclined ironborn favor Heim, Füllar, or Wünd. A very small number of ironborn have been created specifically to serve as divine spell casters, all of whom have been devoted to Füllar, who the most religious of the ironborn have claimed as the patron of their race.

Language: As all known ironborn are created by the Collegium, they speak Enslaic and either Rhadynnic, Sorglish, or Zwersprache.

Names: As one might expect, ironborn typically have Enslaic names, although as creatures that are sentient from the moment of their creation, they typically choose their own names, usually at the end of their initial training. Some ironborn bear perfectly ordinary Enslaic names, while others take a name that is a description of themselves or their built in purpose. A handful ask their creators to bestow a name upon them, seeing this as a mark of their fealty. Names are one area in which the ironborn sense of humor and love of puns comes into play, and many have names that are a play on words or a groan inducing pun.
  • Living Construct (Ex): Ironborn are living constructs with some of the advantages and disadvantages of both living creatures and constructs. A living construct is a subtype of construct, given sentience and free will through powerful and complex creation enhancements. A living construct is a sentient, artificially constructed creature that combines aspects of both constructs and living beings.

    • A living construct has the type “Construct (Living)”, and is not subject to spells or effects that only target humanoids, monstrous humanoids or other creature types.
    • As a created life form, a living construct has a Constitution score.
    • A living construct is affected by spells that target constructs as well as spells that target living creatures. Because of this, damage dealt to a living construct can be healed by a cure light wounds spell or a repair light damage spell, and a living construct is vulnerable to disable construct and harm. However, spells from the healing subschool provide only half effect for a living construct.
    • A living construct is not immune to mind-affecting effects.
    • A living construct is immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, nausea, and energy drain.
    • A living construct is not immune to death effects or necromancy effects, except those mentioned here.
    • A living construct responds slightly differently to reaching 0 hit points than other living creatures do. At 0 hit points, a living construct is disabled, just like a living creature. He can only take a single move action or standard action each round, but strenuous activity does not risk further injury. When his hit points are between -1 and -9, a living construct is inert. He is unconscious and helpless, and he cannot perform any actions. However, an inert living construct does not lose additional hit points unless more damage is dealt, exactly like a living creature that is stable.
    • A living construct cannot heal damage naturally. It must be healed or repaired.
    • A living construct is subject to critical hits.
    • A living construct does not need to eat, sleep, or breathe, but he can still benefit from the effects of consumable spells and magic items such as heroes’ feast and potions.
    • A living construct is immune to the effects of fatigue and exhaustion.
    • A living construct can be raised or resurrected.
    • A living construct cannot benefit from the rage ability, whether such ability is gained as a class ability (such as the ability of the barbarian class) or as the result of a spell or magic item. As a created life form, a living construct simply does not have the necessary metabolic elements to rage.
    • A living construct is vulnerable to antimagic zones, dead magic zones, and areas where magic is suppressed, just like a normal construct.
    • A living construct suffers none of the drawbacks and gains none of the benefits of aging. They never die of natural causes and are immune to any attacks or effects that age a character.

  • Ability Scores: An ironborn may take a +2 racial bonus to any ability score other than Strength in return for a -2 penalty to any other ability score. Or, an ironborn may take a +2 bonus to Strength in return for a -2 penalty to any two other ability scores. Ironborn are custom-built and created with the attributes best suited to their intended purpose.

  • Size: A standard ironborn is Medium size. However, as living constructs, they can be built in other sizes. Some ironborn are Small, and a very small fraction are built as Large creatures.

    • Small ironborn gain a +1 size bonus to AC, a +1 size bonus to attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but use smaller weapons, and their lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character. A Small ironborn takes a -2 penalty to Strength in addition to the usual ironborn racial ability score adjustments, or it can drop the penalty to Strength in exchange for not gaining the secondary benefit of any ironborn feats that have a primary and secondary benefit unless they take the feat twice.
    • Large ironborn gain a natural reach of 10 feet, can use larger weapons, and their lifting and carrying limits are twice those of a Medium creature, but take a -4 penalty on Hide checks and a -1 size penalty on attack rolls and AC. A Large ironborn takes a -2 penalty to Dexterity in addition to the usual ironborn racial ability score adjustments due to their ponderous bulk. If they take an ironborn feat that has a primary and secondary benefit, they do not gain the secondary benefit unless they take the feat twice.

  • Movement: Medium and Large ironborn have a base speed of 30 feet. Small ironborn have a base speed of 20 feet.
  • Feats: Ironborn characters may (but are not required to) select feats from the list of ironborn feats.

  • Composite Plating (Ex): The composite plating used to build the ironborn provides a +2 armor bonus. This plating is not natural armor and does not stack with other effects that give an armor bonus (other than natural armor). This composite plating occupies the armor/robe body location, and thus, an ironborn cannot wear armor or magical robes. Ironborn plating can be enchanted just like armor can be, though they must be present for the entire time it takes to enchant them. Composite plating also provides an ironborn with a 5% arcane spell failure chance, similar to the penalty for wearing light armor Any class ability that allows you to ignore the arcane spell failure chance for light armor lets you ignore this penalty as well.
  • Light Fortification (Ex): When a critical hit or sneak attack is scored on an ironborn there is a 25% chance that it is negated, and damage is instead rolled normally.
  • Rust Vulnerability: An ironborn suffers damage from a rusting attack, as it disintegrates its body. Use the damage value given for the spell or effect if one is mentioned. If a damage value is not given, the ironborn makes a save using the DC and save type indicated for the effect, if any. If no save is allowed or if the save fails, the ironborn takes 1d6 points of damage for each of its Hit Dice, with half damage on a successful save.

  • Natural Attack (Ex): A Medium ironborn has a slam attack that deals 1d4 plus Strength bonus points of bludgeoning damage. A Large ironborn's slam attack deals 1d6 plus Strength bonus points of bludgeoning damage, while a Small ironborn's slam attack deals 1d3 plus Strength bonus points of bludgeoning damage. This is a natural weapon.

  • Automatic Languages: Enslaic and either Rhadynnic, Sorglish, or Zwersprache.

  • Favored Class: Monk.

  • Favored Class: Warrior.

  • Exclusive Class: Commander (from Path of the Sword).

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Campaign Design - The Grym

Followers of the druidic tradition believe that the most powerful force in the universe is the world power, specified by the faith as the Grym, which represents the very shape of creation. While the devotees of the Lords of Heaven (and their evil opposition among the cults of the Lords of Hell) ascribe divinity to ethereal spirits divorced from, but holding authority over, the mundane world, those who follow the druidic teachings see the divine in the very elements of the world: The sun, the sky, the water, the earth, the trees and the other elements of the natural world. Druids consider the various spiritual beings honored by other faiths simply to be subordinate manifestations of the Grym. Although most common among shifter communities, where it is often the dominant faith, the druidic tradition has adherents of all races, mostly humans, halflings, and dwarves, but also including giants, gnomes, goblins, and orcs among others. Druids are almost all unified by their shared knowledge of the ancient Aralaic language, but on most other issues one can find few commonalities that could credibly be said to extend throughout the faith.

Druids teach the power of the natural world, and claim they draw their abilities from it. According to the druids, only by unlocking the secrets hidden in the mountains, forests, and rivers can true understanding be gained. Like the devotees of Füllar, druids believe that prophecy can be found in the movements of the stars, but they also believe that omens and portents can be found in the sounds of the wind, the fall of rocks from a mountain, the shape of a tree, the currents in a lake, and the rising and setting of the sun and moon. Druid shrines are typically sacred groves, hidden pools, natural springs, or rock formations, but adherents to this faith also erect henges, dolmens, menhirs, and other arrangements of standing stones to mark important holy sites. Detailing all of the druidic beliefs is impossible, since they share so few universal tenets, and many druid circles oppose one another; in rare cases, opposing circles have been known to settle their differences via bloodshed.

Druids believe that a number of religious rites must be performed to honor the Grym, and if done incorrectly will spell disaster. Druids lead and direct these rituals, which constitute an important part of daily life in druidic communities, usually involving complex invocations. These rites are learned during the long years of training. While performing the rituals a druid must not eat or drink, must wear the correct clothing, and must follow a variety of other specific taboos. Unlike most other churches, there is only a loose governing authority over the druids, and the rites vary from place to place, and some druid circles have dark and sometimes frightening interpretations of the appetites they attribute to the Grym. Druid practices come in a variety of forms: Because the Grym is an all-encompassing entity, circles can be found that variously espouse the divinity of the orderly, random, benevolent, or even malevolent nature of the world power.

In organization, druids are far less centralized than the priesthoods of other faiths. Each druid begins his career as a member of a druid circle (and unless he becomes a hierophant, may stay one), a loose collection of like-minded druids connected by ties of family, clan, tribe, philosophy, or merely locality. Some druid circles are tied to a particular location, and thus they may have many members located in a single area; others may be devoted to a particular belief or philosophy, and thus be comprised of a handful of members scattered across a vast area. Once in a while, a druid finds that his beliefs conflict with those of his circle, and in such cases a druid might seek out a new circle to join or, rarely, establish a new circle. While some details of practice and minor tenets of belief vary from circle to circle, the similarities generally far outnumber the differences, a condition probably attributable to the overarching authority of the hierophants, a council of powerful druids that theoretically has authority over all of the various circles. Within druid circles, there are generally four ranks of members. Although these ranks roughly correspond to the druid class level of the member (due to the requirements of the ordeals), the correlation is not exact, and some junior members of druid circles may not even be members of the druid class at all – adepts, bards, and rangers are the most common non-druid members. Some druids transcend their circles and are elevated to the rank of hierophant, but there is no formal procedure for choosing a hierophant, and the entire process, such as there is, is shrouded in mystery. The ranks are:

Initiate: Initiate are those members studying to enter the ranks of druids and become ovates. They spend much of his time studying under more experienced members of the druidic order. They are not considered full druids until they complete their basic studies and undergo the ovedic ordeal, at which they must demonstrate their skills and learning. Before an initiate may attempt the ovedic ordeal, he must spend at least seven years in study, but some circle members remain initiates throughout their careers, for example, a ranger who is a member of a druid circle might remain an initiate his entire life.

Ovate: Ovates are members of the first level of a druidic circle that is actually composed of individuals who are considered priests of the druidic faith. An ovate has learned all of the legends, stories, histories, and myths that make up the religious foundation of the druidic faith, and has mastered the ability to tap into the power of the Grym and wield power as a result. Ovates are usually members of the druid class, but on occasion, a powerful adept, bard, or ranger might pass the test and become an ovate.

Ollave: An ovate who has trained for fourteen years may undertake the ollave ordeal. An ollave is regarded as a full priest, and accorded significant authority in druid circles. Authority does not come without responsibility, and an ollave is expected to act as a judge, counselor, mediator, or diviner if requested. Ollaves are expected to lead community rituals, and interpret omens, dreams, and signs. Ollaves are almost always members of the druid class, the requirements of the ollave ordeal virtually preclude members of any other class from passing the test.

Druid: While ovates and ollaves are accorded the rank of priests in the druid circle, and thus are technically druids, only the highest ranking priests bear the title druid. An ollave who have trained for at least seven more years (for a total of twenty-one years of training) may attempt to become a full druid. This requires yet another, more difficult ordeal and the assent of the other members of the circle. All members of a circle of druid rank are members of the druid class, and are usually significantly powerful members as well. Full druids are responsible for the governance of their circle, and charged with overseeing the most important issues confronting the circle. Druids are the judges of last resort, the diviners and soothsayers of the most important portents, and so forth.

Hierophant: The hierophants are a shadowy group of powerful priests that transcend the normal circles that druids normally work within.The exact number of this secretive rank is not generally known. Though they are "above" the druid circles, they don't really exert authority over them, but  instead seem to be primarily concerned with pursuing the hidden esoteric and obscure mysteries rather than engaging in power politics. Once in a great while, the ranks of the heirophants gather together to debate some pressing matter, and on even rare occasions they have been moved to act in concert to stave off some dire threat, but these instances are so uncommon that none have taken place within living memory.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Hell: Vassatar

Vassatar

The Finder of Secrets; The Deceiver; Demon Lord of Kobolds, Avarice, and Thievery

Alignment: Neutral Evil.
Domains: (Kobold), Labyrinth, Secrecy, Secrets, Trickery.
Summon Monster: Vassatar's clerics can summon fiendish and shadow creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A halfling skull impaled with a dart.
Favored Weapon: "Greed's ally" (dart or dart thrower).

When not disguised, Vassatar appears as a black-skinned kobold. He is physically weak and cowardly, using protective wards, disguises, and traps to keep those he imagines are his enemies at bay. And because he is paranoid, he imagines everyone his his enemy. As he is the very essence of greed, he imagines that everyone is after his possessions as well, and so secretes them in hidden vaults protected by elaborate and deadly traps and snares. He is a liar and a cheat, advocating that one should obtain and keep wealth by any means possible, and as a result, even the other demon lords despise him.

Before the War in Heaven, Vassatar fell in love with Aíne, and sought to woo her, but she was repelled by his grasping rapacity and selfishness and rejected his suit out of hand. In the War in Heaven, he was snubbed by the other demon lords, and only Belial regarded him as anything other than an annoyance, sending him to serve as a spy. After the demon lords seized Aíne as their prisoner, they left Vassatar to guard her, and he surrounded her cell with an array of deadly traps and unsuccessfully renewed his attempts to win her affection. When Caire overcame his pitfalls and other deadly devices to rescue Aíne, he humiliated Vassatar and earned the kobold lord's enmity forever.

Vassatar is the patron of thieves, con-men, and kobolds. He is the living embodiment of greed and avarice, and is looked to by merchants who seek to fleece their customers rather than engage in honest trade. Misers, hoarders, and skinflints are also his within his concern, although many do not realize that they are honoring him through their actions.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Hell: Tuni

Tuni

The Reaper of Life; The Bringer of Darkness; Lord of the Crypt; Lord of Ghouls; The Closed Mouth; Demon Lord of Death and Darkness

Alignment: Lawful Evil.
Cleric Domains: Darkness, Death, Murder, Necromancy, Undeath.
Unholy Warrior Domains: Darkness, Envy, Undead.
Summon Monster: Tuni's clerics can summon corpse and shadow creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A six-fingered white hand, or a white right hand.
Favored Weapon: "The reaper of the living" (scythe).
Related Classes: Unholy Warrior.
Related Prestige Classes: Champion of the Dark Seven.

Tuni is always depicted riding a pale, spectral horse and carrying his great scythe, with which he cuts down mortal lives like wheat. He is always shown in a gray cloak with a hood that hides his features in impenetrable shadow, and no legend details his appearance further. Tuni is silent, just as death is silent. His name is rarely spoken, as no mortal desires to draw this entity’s attention to themselves.

All of Tuni’s clerics are male, and are expected to become husbands to one of the priestesses of Tunar. His clerics are said to take vows of silence and obedience to their spouses once they are married, serving as powerful lieutenants to their wives. Many of Tuni's clerics choose to become undead, to better serve their infernal master and better serve as tools for their spouse's will.

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Hell: Tunar

Tunar

The Pitiless Queen; The Blood-Drinker; The Dark Lady; Demon Mistress of Vampires and the Underworld

Alignment: Lawful Evil.
Cleric Domains: Deathbound, Envy, Infernal, Mysticism, (Vampire).
Unholy Warrior Domains: Darkness, Envy, Undead.
Summon Monster: Tunar's clerics can summon axiomatic and fiendish creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A six-fingered white hand, or a white left hand.
Favored Weapon: "The lash of lamentation" (whip or whip-dagger).
Related Classes: Unholy Warrior.
Related Prestige Classes: Champion of the Dark Seven.

Tunar always shows herself as an unbelievably ugly old crone dressed in a black cloak. She is said to be so terrible in appearance that any mortal who sees her will flee in horror until they collapse from exhaustion. Her hair is entwined with poisonous snakes, and her skin is pallid and deathly. Tunar is usually represented holding a barbed whip with which she tortures those who displease her until the torment drives them insane. She is the spouse of Tuni and their worshipers are invariably found together in an order of priests known as “The White Hand”. Tunar and Tuni rule the dreaded land of Helas from their underworld fortress named Elvidnir, located in the deepest pit of Hell.

All of Tunar’s clerics are female, and each of them is expected to find a mate from among Tuni’s priesthood. The land of Loring is a stronghold of her worship, and she and Tuni are counted as the supreme powers of that realm.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Campaign Design - Race: Changelings

Changelings
(adapted from the Ebberon Campaign Setting)

Changelings are subtle shapeshifters capable of disguising their appearance. Originally created as a result of unscrupulous alvar experiments aimed at developing the perfect spies and assassins for use in the internecine struggles of Pilosian politics by magically crossbreeding doppelgangers and humans, they are now a separate race distinct from either of their ancestral roots. They do not possess the full shapeshifting abilities of a doppelganger, but they can create effective disguises at will. This ability makes them consummate spies as intended, but also makes them excellent criminals, and many changelings live up to that potential.

Personality: The changelings are a created race and their reputation is colored by the purpose for which they were created. As such, they have a varied set of reactions to their heritage. Some changelings are resentful of their heritage, and seek to avoid it, attempting to blend into whatever society they find themselves in, using their abilities to adopt a persona as a member of whatever other race they find most advantageous. On the other hand, some changelings wholeheartedly embrace their heritage, although the expression this takes can vary. Some changelings refuse to use their abilities to disguise themselves, instead insisting that the world must accept them on their own terms. Others embrace their mutability and take on an array of ever changing personalities, usually ending up employed in a variety of professions where their shifting appearance is an asset.

Physical Description: Changelings strongly resemble their doppeganger lineage, with only a passing nod to their human heritage. They generally stand between five and six feet tall. Unlike true doppelgangers, changelings do have gender in their natural form, but may shift between genders as they wish. In their natural form, changelings have pale grey skin and thin white hair. Their limbs are long and slightly out of proportion compared to other humanoids. Their faces have slightly more distinct features than a doppelganger's, including a hint of nose and lips, although their eyes remain blank white and the rest of their facial features don't look quite "finished".

Relations: Few outsiders trust changelings. Many, however, have reason to do business with them. Most members of other races treat changelings with extreme caution. Most changelings live as minorities in communities dominated by members of other races, and because of their natural abilities, they are often viewed with suspicion. Compounding matters, many changelings distrust their own kind, preventing them from working together for a common goal.

Changelings have a complicated relationship with both humans and the alvar. Because they are descended from humans, changelings generally are either envious of the "normal" nature of humans, or regard humanity with some of the same contempt as their doppelganger forebears bear towards humans. As the entire race is the result of alvar experiments, changelings are usually either grateful to the alvar, or angrily resentful. Those who embrace their racial stereotype as spies and assassins are most likely to be friendly with the alvar, while those who reject it are most likely to be bitter and resentful.

Alignment: Changelings of all alignments exist, but most gravitate towards the neutral alignment. They focus on their own concerns without regard for laws or morals. Many have their own code of honor, but are also fiercely independent. Some refuse to engage in assassination, while other embrace that path as the ultimate expression of their racial destiny.

Changeling Lands: Changelings have no lands of their own, but most are found in Enselm and the the regions that formerly made up the Rhadynnic Sky Empire. A fair number can be found living in the various Pilosian city-states. They are most often found in large cities where they form the backbone of the criminal underworld - changelings are the core of the feared Sang Frere - although many also work as spies, entertainers, couriers, investigators, and sometimes adventurers.

Religion: As befitting their mutable nature, changelings are found among the worshipers of almost every Lord of Heaven and Lord of Hell. Lódur is most common celestial lord honored by changelings, as many seek to emulate his ever-shifting nature and his personification of the unpredictable nature of luck. Changelings often honor Aíne for her dominion over diplomacy and commerce, Woda for his dominion over hidden knowledge, and Füllar as the master of prophecy. There are relatively few changelings who follow any of the three brothers, but those that do are often staunch proponents of their doctrines. Evil changelings tend to gravitate most toward Gangyn the mistress of assassins, Vassatar the demon prince of thieves, and Sethra the demon princess of lies. For somewhat obvious reasons changelings are among the very few devoted followers of the ever changing demon lord Sirchade.

Language: Changelings speak Enslaic, Rhadynnic, Sorglish, or Quolin as their native tongue, a choice made at character creation. They often learn many other languages to facilitate a multitude of disguises.

Names: Changelings tend to have names similar to the names of the larger culture in which they find themselves, either because they are trying to "pass" and blend in as a member of the society around them, or because they have constructed a false identity to cloak their illegal activities. Thus, a changeling in Rhadynnic lands will usually have a Rhadynnic name, a changeling from Enselm with have an Enslaic name, and a changeling living in Steinigreich will have a Zwersprachen name. and so on. Some changelings, for obvious reasons, use several names, each with a different identity, but think of one particular name as their "true" one. Others have no single name, and don't regard any name as the one definitive appellation that applies to them. For these changelings, the mutability of their race is extended to their name, and even their self-identity.
  • Type: Shapechanger Subtype. Changelings are humanoids with the shapechanger subtype.

  • Size: Medium size.

  • Movement: Changelings have a base speed of 30 feet.

  • Slippery Mind: +2 racial bonus on saving throws against sleep and charm effects. Changelings have slippery minds.

  • Deceptive: +2 racial bonus on Bluff, Intimidate, and Sense Motive checks. Changelings are naturally skilled at deception and intimidation.

  • Lódur's Children: Changelings gain an extra luck point every level for every Luck feat they have. Changelings are the favored of Lódur, the celestial lord of luck.

  • Doppelganger-Blooded: The blood of doppelgangers flows through the veins of every changeling. They are treated as doppelgangers for the purpose of race-restricted spells, feats, magic items and anything else that only works for those with doppelganger blood. In addition, changelings may choose to become Gutter Mages if they desire to do so.

  • Natural Linguist: Changelings add Speak Language to their list of class skills for any class. A changeling character also speaks one bonus language, chosen at character creation.

  • Minor Change Shape (Su): Changelings have the supernatural ability to alter their appearance as though using a disguise self spell that affects their bodies but not their possessions. This ability is not an illusory effect, but a minor physical alteration of a changeling’s facial features, skin color and texture, and size, within the limits described for the spell. A changeling can use this ability at will, and the alteration lasts until he changes shape again. A changeling reverts to his natural form when killed. A true seeing spell reveals his natural form. When using this ability to create a disguise, a changeling receives a +10 circumstance bonus on Disguise checks. Using this ability is a full-round action.

  • Automatic Languages: Enslaic, Rhadynnic, Sorglish, or Quolin. The choice is made at character creation.

  • Favored Class: Rogue.

  • Favored Class: Expert.

  • Exclusive Class: Chameleon (adapted from Path of Shadow).

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Hell: Surtan

Surtan

Evil Prince of Fire; Flame of the Underworld; Lord of the Black Forge, Demon Lord of Fire Giants and Greed

Alignment: Chaotic Evil.
Cleric Domains: Fire, Greed, Havoc, Pact, Passion.
Unholy Warrior Domains: Evil, Fire, Greed.
Summon Monster: Surtan's clerics can summon fiendish and ignan creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A red hand with black fingernails wrapped in flames.
Favored Weapon: "The flame of Hell" (greatsword).
Related Classes: Unholy Warrior.
Related Prestige Classes: Champion of the Dark Seven.

Surtan is the demon lord of fire, and appears as a huge fire giant with reddish black skin and a great mane of hair made from huge streaming red flames who breathes flame from his mouth and nostrils. He is said to be surrounded by an aura of heat so intense that none save Wünd and Hoenir has ever been able to approach him in combat. In battle he is said to wear a suit of crimson mail and carry a great two-handed sword made entirely of fire. During the War in Heaven, Wünd and Hoenir combined with Hler to overcome and then douse Surtan's fire to cast the Demon Lord down.

In folktales and legends, Surtan is portrayed as by far the most dangerous of the giant lords. Clever and cunning in ways that Lug is clearly not, and possessed of an instinct for planning and foresight that elude the rash and rage-filled Iku-Tyrma, Surtan combines the strength of the giants with an intelligence and skill at crafting that makes him the most dangerous of the three to deal with. Surtan is, in addition to his other skills, the blacksmith of Hell, and under his guidance a legion of his servants forged the mighty weapons used by the demonic hordes in the War in Heaven. When he appears in stories, it is often because heroes attempt to infiltrate his workshop to steal some implement of war that he has crafted, and in the versions the giants tell, such thieves always end up cast into the blazing furnaces of Hell.

Surtan hates both Hler and Wünd, but holds a special animosity towards Hoenir due to his offense at being defeated by a mere machine, a defeat that offends Surtan's pride. In a strangely perverse kind of mockery, Surtan's fire giants frequently forge great metal servants to do their bidding and serve as engines of war. Surtan has a surprisingly large following of humans and evil dwarves, but most of his servants are fire giants, who hold him as the patron deity of their kind.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Hell: Sirchade

Sirchade

That Which Lurks; The Many-Eyed Lord; Demon Lord of Slime, Fungus, and Rot

Alignment: Chaotic Evil.
Domains: Blight, Rot, Slime, Suffering, Thirst.
Summon Monster: Sirchade's clerics can summon anarchic and fiendish creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A jaw bone dissolving in a pool of slime.
Favored Weapon: None.

The appearance of this demon lord is without a doubt the most disgusting and loathsome of all creatures. Sirchade is foul and nauseating, dripping caustic secretions and oozing noisome slime and acid. The creature is covered with thousands of eyes of every shape and size that glare balefully from every part of the demonic being. Sirchade has no set form or structure, and can spread itself into a vast pool of slime, or raise itself up into a towering column of vile ordure. Whatever shape it takes, Sirchade is always composed of a mass of blackish greens, foul browns and yellows, and sickly grays and purples.

Unlike many other Demon Lords, Sirchade has no goals, plans, or schemes other than to simply destroy and consume everything it encounters. In the War in Heaven, Sirchade reveled in the opportunity for unrestrained destruction spreading its acidic secretions across the battlefield, but was eventually overcome by Forseti’s might and power and forced to retreat into the abyss of Hell, an insult that has earned Forseti the demon lord’s undying hatred. After the War in Heaven, Woda trapped the Lurking Lord in a pit with sides so steep that the liquefied demon is unable to escape.

Sirchade is reclusive and hates intrusion by any form of solid creature, but surrounds itself with all forms of slimes, jellies, and oozes. Even for a demon lord Sirchade has few worshipers or priests of any kind, but cruel and evil individuals sometimes call upon it anyway, since it is indiscriminate with regard to whom it aids. It is rarely called upon, however, for it always exacts a high price in repayment for its assistance.

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Hell: Kivutar

Kivutar

Mother of Plagues; The Queen of Maggots; The Rotted Temptress, Demon Mistress of Sickness, Pestilence, and Lust

Alignment: Chaotic Evil.
Cleric Domains: Disease, Distraction, Lust, Pestilence, Plague, Temptation.
Unholy Warrior Domains: Corruption, Disease, Lust.
Summon Monster: Kivutar's clerics can summon anarchic and fiendish creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A head, half rotting and worm eaten, and half that of a beautiful woman.
Favored Weapon: "Beauty's end" (kukri).
Related Classes: Unholy Warrior.
Related Prestige Classes: Champion of the Dark Seven.

The mother of sickness, plague, and poison, Kivutar is the personification of disease. She appears in myth as a black skinned twisted old crone clad in a rotting gray shift and cloak. Her mouth foams and hair pulls from her head in clumps. There are boils and blisters over her diseased skin and the flesh is pulled taut over her bones. In myth anything that touches her rots away immediately, affected by a wasting disease or destructive rust and decay. However, she is also able to present herself as a beautiful, ravishing woman, capable of arousing desire in all who see her. This appearance is, however, merely an illusion, woven over her true appearance by her mastery of deceiving magic.

In the War in Heaven, she was unbeatable until Yng struck her with his mighty bow. She was unable to withstand his radiant light and was driven back and cast down into Hell. Because of this, Kivutar and her followers bear a special animosity towards Yng and all who follow him. Kivutar is Füllar’s mother, having deceived Woda with her enchantments into coupling with her to produce the child. She bears great animosity towards the three brother knights Heim, Tiwas, and Forseti and Füllar’s half-sisters Syfa and Vali for their theft of the infant Füllar from her.

This goddess is loosely associated with Louviar, although the chaos and disorganization of her kingdom makes any sort of preference or hierarchy impossible to seriously determine. Her worship is, however, quite common in Polthia, although whether her priesthood enjoys any particular favor in that kingdom is a mystery to outsiders. Her priests always seem to have suffered from some sort of wasting disease that has left marks on their body and faces, although those who rise highest in her hierarchy are those who were once handsome or beautiful before the diseases of their patron ravaged their bodies.

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Hell: Khil

Khil

The Reaver; The Leg Breaker; The Seething Chain; Demon Lord of Orcs, Fury, and Savagery

Alignment: Chaotic Evil.
Domains: Fury, (Orc), Power, Rage, Savagery.
Summon Monster: Khil's clerics can summon anarchic and fiendish creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A broken thigh bone wrapped with black chains.
Favored Weapon: "The bloody chain" (flail or spiked chain).

The demonic patron of the orcish race, Khil appears as a massive orc and wrapped in massive black iron chains, that serve as both armor and weapons for the demon lord. The chains are covered in cruel spikes, and their ends are sharpened into deadly blades, which Khil wields as vicious whip-like weapons. He is the towering figure of enraged anger and wrath who is said to be unable to feel the pain of wounds or injury - not even from his own chains whose spikes are pierced through his flesh so as to be secured to his body. He cares only for the field of battle, exulting in the frenzy and bloodlust of combat, glorying in the carnage and cruelty of war. He is the embodiment of war, but not war for some other goal, but rather war for the sake of war.

In the War in Heaven, Khil led the charge of the demon host with a whirling fury, ravaging the foes of Hell with the lashings of his chains, savoring the cries of his dying foes and the wailing of those who quailed before him. But Khil's reckless and unreasoning rage was exploited by Tiwas, whose cunning and skill enabled the celestial lord to outwit and defeat the demon lord. Khil's followers angrily maintain that Tiwas used underhanded treachery to defeat their patron, Now Khil is imprisoned in a tomb of thick, unyielding stone, wrapped in the very chains that served as his weaponry.

As with most of the demon lords, Khil has few human worshipers, but the orcs hold him in high esteem, honoring his strength and wild abandon. Khil bears a deep and abiding hatred for all things, but tolerates this veneration because it seems to amuse him. He is a harsh patron, demanding a level of dedication to battle and bravery from his followers that most would describe as recklessly foolhardy - and a refusal to ever retreat or accept defeat. Khil demands regular ritual blood sacrifices as his worshippers must prove their ability to withstand pain, and their willingness to endure grievous wounds in pursuit of renown on the battlefield. Khil does, however, bear a seething rage towards both Tiwas and Wünd, the former for his role in defeating the demon lord and subjecting him to his long imprisonment, and the latter because of his imprisonment within the living rock of the world.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Hell: Ishi

Ishi

The Red King; The Oathbreaker; The Ruby Sorcerer; Demon Lord of Evil Enchanters, Dark Magic, Pride, and Treachery

Alignment: Neutral Evil.
Cleric Domains: Ambition, Betrayal, Mind, Pride, Spell, Treachery.
Unholy Warrior Domains: Magic, Pride, Treachery.
Summon Monster: Ishi's clerics can summon axiomatic and fiendish creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A ruby scepter.
Favored Weapon: "The rod of rule" (warscepter).
Related Classes: Unholy Warrior.
Related Prestige Classes: Champion of the Dark Seven, Servant of Ishi.

In legend, Ishi appears as a huge man with heavy features wearing rich crimson robes. His head is balding, and he wears a trimmed goatee style beard of black whiskers. He is the lord of dark magic and those who seek to dominate and rule over others. Ishi carries a great ruby scepter as tall as he is, representing his claim to suzerainty over all others, a claim disputed by even the other Demon Lords. Ishi hates all things, and seeks only personal power, seeing others merely as tools to serve his ends. Despite this, Ishi always displays a calm and genteel manner, never showing anger or contempt and always acting with scrupulous politeness, which makes him all the more dangerous. Before the War in Heaven, it was Ishi who negotiated the deal that led to Aíne traveling to the infernal realms to negotiate Rúadan's release, and it was Ishi who broke the oaths that he had sworn to give her safe passage, although Ishi claimed that Aíne was actually a spy sent in bad faith and so his actions were justifiable. In legend, stories in which a mortal makes what they believe to be an ironclad a deal with Ishi only to have him come up with a loophole that later allows him to justify reneging are common. Ishi always scrupulously follows the letter of any agreement, but always twists the words to suit his purposes.

Ishi claims to be the true ruler of Hell, and claims suzerainty over all of the other Lords of Hell, although most of the other Lords regard this claim as being specious at best. On those rare occasions in which he has actually tried to assert his authority, the results have been mixed to say the least. In the War in Heaven Ishi challenged Woda's mastery of the mystic arts and sought to supplant him as the divine ruler. Woda's knowledge proved to outmatch Ishi's, as Woda was willing to make the personal sacrifice necessary to gain a deep understanding of the arcane. While Ishi is perfectly willing to order or compel his minions to sacrifice themselves to his ends, he would never extend himself in such a manner, being, at the core, a coward. Although the battle was magnificent, Woda overcame Ishi, and cast him down from Heaven where the Demon Lord was imprisoned with mystic bonds that hold him motionless. In the councils of Hell, Ishi had a great rivalry with Darmas, with the Lord of Conquest asserting that rule over others is best accomplished by means of physical violence, while Ishi asserts the superiority of intimidation and enchantment for that purpose.

Ishi's followers are often enchanters who seek to dominate and control others. Many evilly inclined alvari honor this deity, calling upon him to fuel their own efforts to dominate others. Ishi's priests rarely act directly, usually serving the ends of their infernal master through a network of minions and intermediaries. His followers favor red clothing, and red equipment. Most of his priests use specially crafted ruby-colored warscepters as their holy symbols, blessing them by beating a slave to death with the weapon. Officially, his priests assert the primacy of their faith over all of the other Lords of Hell, although in practice they only press this claim when they are in a position of unassailable strength. The Rautherra are said to hold this deity as their patron, and the priesthood of this faith holds an honored position within their domains.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Campaign Design - The Lords of Hell: Iku-Tyrma

Iku-Tyrma

Evil Prince of Ice and Frost; The Foehammer; The Lord in the Ice; Demon Lord of Frost Giants, Sloth, and Winter

Alignment: Neutral Evil.
Cleric Domains: Blackwater, Cold, Sloth, Watery Death, Winter.
Unholy Warrior Domains: Pain, Sloth, Water.
Summon Monster: Iku-Tyrma's clerics can summon fiendish and ice creatures using summon monster spells.
Symbol: A block of ice encasing a bloody maul.
Favored Weapon: "The foehammer" (greathammer).
Related Classes: Unholy Warrior.
Related Prestige Classes: Champion of the Dark Seven.

Iku-Tyrma is the demon lord of cold and ice, and is so hateful that he is despised even by other fiends. He appears as a huge frost giant with bandy legs, which are short and malformed and make his gait appear slow. His head is a flat oval with slitted blue eyes and grossly broad features. His skin is a blue tone, and he is hairless save for his bushy white eyebrows. He wears a coat of white fur made from the pelts of arctic wolves and polar bears. In battle he carries a huge maul of cold iron inlaid with nickel and it is said that enemies he strikes with it are knocked to the ground amidst a cold rushing wind. Because they both claim mastery of the waters of the world, Iku-Tyrma has an ancient rivalry with Hler, and the two despise one another with a powerful anger. In the War in Heaven, Iku-Tyrma was confronted by Hler, and was defeated by him and cast down into Hell.

Following the War in Heaven, Iku-Tyrma was condemned to be imprisoned in a massive glacier of ice as just punishment for his part in the conflict. Iku-Tyrma straining to free himself from his icy prison are said to be the cause of the movement of glaciers around the world and his struggles are the source of avalanches and surges of flowing ice. The frost giants say that Iku-Tyrma was imprisoned because the Lords of Heaven feared his strength, and his faithful have taken the Demon Lord's greathammer encased in ice as their symbol to show their reverence for the overwhelming power and strength of their patron, believing that their enemies will quail at the sight of a symbol displaying what, in their minds, is a representation of the fear the Lords of Heaven have for the Demon Lord of Winter.

As with many of the demon lords, Iku-Tyrma has few worshipers, but he is the patron deity of the frost giants, and they hold him as the overlord of their race. Among other races, he is worshipped some who live in Arctic climes or who sail the icy northern waters, hoping to call upon his mastery over the cold of winter for their own benefit.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Campaign Design - Race: Dwarves

Dwarves
(adapted from the Player's Handbook and the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting)

Personality: Dwarves are known for their engineering and mining skills, their superior crafting ability, and their proficiency at war. They love crafts, and the race has produced some of the greatest physical craftsmen in the world. Most dwarven craftsmen prize well made items above all other things and will often prefer a well made mundane item to a poorly crafted magical one. Dwarves are not opposed to investing physical objects with magical powers and many of their products are magical in nature, and many dwarves have become quite skilled at imbuing magical properties into objects.

There are four main national backgrounds for dwarves in the campaign setting. In the northern lands, the Dekkulde Island dwarves are the most violent and warlike. They are also among the foremost shipwrights in the world, and although they rarely sail, they do so more often than their southern brehtren. The dwarves of Felsreich are regarded as the superlative smiths and craftsmen of the world. Their weaponry and armor is considered to be the most desirable, and a crafter's mark from Felsreich is treated as a guarantee of quality. Finally, the dwarves of Steinigreich are considered to be the foremost miners of the world. They dig further that any others in the lands, and have unearthed many wondrous items while delving deep into the secret places under the earth. While their cousins focus on crafting at the forge or mining under the earth, the dwarves from Hartzstadt are masters at building fortifications and other constructions and creating siege weapons, clockwork creations, and other engineering gadgets.

Physical Description: Dwarves generally stand between four to four and a half feet tall and are extremely stocky of build, averaging a robust 160-200 pounds although they do not tend to obesity; instead their body mass is extremely dense, accounting for their great durability. Dwarves generally live into their mid-hundreds and two-hundred year old dwarves are not unheard of. Dwarves have ruddy, reddish-brown complexion, more noticeably red than any human would appear. Their hair tends to be black, brown, or iron gray hair, but some have hair the color of steel, bronze, silver, or gold. They usually have black or grey eyes, but color runs towards gemstone-like colors as well: emerald, ruby, and sapphire. Virtually all male dwarves wear beards in which they take great pride which they frequently braid or weave into some sort of pattern. Their features are blunt and coarse and very few humans would call a dwarf good looking, and most members of other races find them unattractive. The joints and muscle structure of a dwarf are extremely thick and dense, and they have oversized hands and arms, which would give them a slightly "ape-like" appearance if they were scaled up to human height.

Dwarves generally wear well-made and cared for items and frequently have some sort of decorative jewelry. Their love of constructed items is shown in their taste for beautiful, well-made clothes and other adornments although their tastes rarely run to the gaudy or ostentatious.

Relations: Dwarves are generally clannish and tend to trust other dwarves while treating most outsiders with suspicion. A non-dwarf can win acceptance in dwarven society by demonstrating his trustworthiness and usefulness in some way, although the process may take some time. The greatest compliment a dwarf will give to a member of another race is “He made himself like a dwarf”. They are fundamentally honest and forthright. Dwarven traders have acquired a reputation as tough but fair bargainers. In the Three Worlds, dwarves from Steinigreich are generally regarded as the most standoffish and reclusive, while dwarves from Hartzstadt are the most gregarious and outgoing. Dwarves from Hartzstadt are also known throughout the lands as bankers, and powerful dwarven banking guilds mint coinage and operate banks, issue letters of credit, hold loans, and collect debts. Due to their law abiding nature and their superior craft skills, dwarves are generally welcome in most lands, even if they rarely choose to avail themselves of the opportunities.

Alignment: Dwarves are usually lawful, and tend towards good, although these generalizations are by no means universal. Dwarves from the Dekkulde Islands tend to be more chaotic than dwarves from other areas, although they still have a strong sense of honor and are devoted to their clans.

Dwarven Lands: Although they were not officially part of the Rhadynnaic Sky Empire, the three largest dwarven ruled nations now have seats on the High Council. These nations also did not directly take part in the Wars of Succession, as their rulers neither had nor desired a claim upon the Carnelian Throne. These kingdoms are Steinigreich and Felsreich in the north, and Hartzstadt in the south. Although dwarves mostly share a common culture, there are slight differences between dwarves from different nations, variations on a theme so to speak.

Dwarven tradition provides for the selection of leaders by means of a quasi-merit system. Dwarven life is dominated by powerful Guilds that constitute the de facto government of all three of the dwarven kingdoms. Guild members weave their beards into distinctive patterns that Guild Masters are chosen by the members who select their leaders based upon the age and accomplishment of the candidates. A dwarf must distinguish himself through his work, demonstrating himself to be a dedicated and skilled craftsman in his field to be considered as a leader. A dwarf must also possess sufficient years to be considered for a position of responsibility as dwarven tradition emphasizes the wisdom and judgment that comes with age and experience. The emphasis on age results in a pronounced conservative streak among the rulers of the dwarven nations, and even the most liberal of dwarven Guild Masters is typically among the most conservative members of the High Council. In addition to the three nations within the Three Worlds, there are scattered smaller dwarven holdings elsewhere, most notably on the Dekkulde Islands, each ruled over by their own chief or king.

Religion: Most dwarves in the Three Worlds worship Wünd hoping that the divine favor thus obtained will enable them to craft powerful and beautiful objects. Heim and Tiwas are also popular deities among dwarves, as the defensive bent of Heim's creed and Tiwas' zest for the enforcement of law appeals to the dwarven mind set. A number of dwarves from the Dekkulde Islands hold Thunor in high regard as well.

Language: Dwarven characters speak Rhadynnic or Sorglish as well as Zwersprache (for characters from Steinigreich, Felsreich, or Hartzstadt) or Rodharic and Rosprache (for characters from the Dekkulde Islands).

Names: Dwarves from Steinigreich and Felsreich generally have Germanic sounding names consisting of a first name and a second family, guild, or clan name. Dwarves from Hartzstadt generally have Dutch sounding names using the same conventions as their northern cousins. Some dwarves from Steinigreich or Felsreich use the name "von" in the middle of their name, which indicates a claim to nobility. Dwarves from Hartzstadt use the name "van" for the same purpose, and with the same significance.

Dwarves from the Dekkulde Islands have Norse sounding names with a first name followed by a clan name. Dekkulde Island dwarves are also frequently referred to by a nickname or appellation given to indicate some noteworthy accomplishment or feature of the dwarven in question such as "Bronzebeard", "Blackaxe", or "Ironfoot".
  • Type: Humanoid.

  • Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma. Dwarves are tough, but somewhat oblivious and stubborn.

  • Size: Medium size.

  • Movement: Dwarves have a base speed of 20 feet. Dwarves wearing medium or heavy armor do not suffer any reduction in their normal base speed, although they are still limited to three times their speed when running in heavy armor. Dwarven barbarians lose their Fast Movement class ability while wearing heavy armor.

  • Earth Vision: Darkvision with a range of 60 feet.

  • Skilled Craftsmen: Dwarves gain a +2 racial bonus to Appraise checks that are related to stone or metal items, and a +2 racial bonus to Craft checks that are related to stone or metal.

  • Stonecunning (Ex): Stonecunning grants dwarves a +2 racial bonus on checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn’t stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A dwarf who merely comes within 10 feet can make a check as if were actively searching, and a dwarf can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A dwarf can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up. Dwarves have a sixth sense about stonework, an innate ability that they get plenty of opportunity to practice and hone in their underground homes.

  • Stability (Ex): Dwarves are exceptionally stable on their feet. A dwarf gains a +4 bonus on ability checks to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground).
  • Tough as a Rock (Ex): +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison. Dwarves are hardy and resistant to toxins.

  • Terran Blood (Su): +1 racial bonus on saving throws against earth spells and effects. This bonus increases by +1 for every five levels a dwarf attains.

  • Earth Mastery (Ex): A dwarf gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls if both it and its foe touch the ground. If an opponent is airborne or waterborne, the dwarf suffers a -4 penalty on attack and damage rolls.

  • Automatic Languages: Rhadynnic or Sorglish plus either Anfagen Zwursprache (for dwarves from Hartzstadt), Zwersprache (for dwarves from Steinigreich or Felsreich), or Nordlish and Desprache (for dwarves from the Dekkulde Islands).

  • Favored Class: Fighter.

  • Favored Class: Warrior.

  • Exclusive Class: Artificer (from the Eberron Campaign Setting).

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