Thursday, June 18, 2020

The History of the Rhadynnic-Naceadan Dual Empire

Excerpts from The History of the Rhadynnic-Naceadan Dual Empire
by Dillion pen’Llefelys
(Published 512 IR)

On the Founding of the Great Houses:

The records detailing the origins of the Great Houses, and their kingdoms they now rule are lost to us, destroyed by the ravages of time and the depredations of our enemies. Our legends hold that more than a thousand years before the founding of the Rhadynnic Sky Empire, Llud pen’Beli founded Great House Llud and assumed rule of Llydaw as gor'Brenin, a kingdom legends hold was established by his father Beli Mawr, the great legendary warrior-king and first Brenin-Mawr of the Rhadynn. As told in The Chronicles of the High Kings, authored by the historian Ymerawdwr Conall III, nine of Llud's ten siblings left Llydaw with their followers to establish their own Great Houses and becoming gor'Brenin of their own kingdoms. The ten Great Houses sometimes fought each other, and sometimes banded together. Legends speak of great wars against the fomor, partholan, and seelie, with the warriors of the ten houses emerging victorious.

The ancient tales speak of many dangers facing the splintered kingdoms of our forefathers, but none so terrible as the dread Hallitsijainen, whose power and evil still plague the free people of the world. For hundreds of years, the Kansattu sent their black-sailed ships throughout all of the Three Worlds, demanding tribute and any who refused to offer wealth and slaves to the Cold Lords were destroyed. Imperial records maintain that the first signs of true unity among the Great Houses came in 1109 YE when Brion, Dewintir, Dyved, Gwydon, and Llydaw banded together to form the Rhadynnic Confederation and together refused Hallitsijainen demands for tribute, a decision that was timed almost perfectly as the Cold Lords were weakened by the Leucadian struggle detailed in the epic poem Epikotos Leucadian1 and the subsequent exploits of the Geureciman General-King Rafaele as detailed in the Song of Rafaele2. Many ships and warbands were sent by the Hallitsijainen to punish the recalcitrant kingdoms, but they were defeated as the Great Houses allied against the common foe under the banner of the Golden Hawk. Within fifty years all of the Great Houses joined the Rhadynnic Confederation, and in 1161 the gor’Brenin of Llydaw was elected to be ruler of the Rhadynn as the first Brenin-Mawr since Beli Mawr. The High Kings set about using their mighty sky ships in coordination with the drake-empowered armies of the Great Houses to resist the Hallitisijainen, marshal great fleets against the Dekkulde islanders, and send their armies against the jattilainen and euroz of Elizon and elsewhere, even against the wild nomads of the At'viras Steppes.

On the Founding of the Rhadynnic-Naceadan Dual Sky Empire:

Although the records I have found do not give a complete picture, as closely as I have been able to determine, finding themselves both under threat from the Cold Lords, Brenin-Mawr Ghilchrist pen’Llud and Christobal Santiago, the Amparar of Oropais, formed an alliance in 1193 YE to unify their domains against this common foe. According to imperial records stored in the Council archives, in 1209 YE, Ghilchrist cemented this relationship by marrying Christobal’s only daughter Alejandra, and when Christobal died in 1211 YE he ascended to the throne of Oropais and was crowned Ymerawdwr Ghilchrist I. Ever after this, the standard of the empire was a two-headed golden hawk on a field of green, showing the union between the two great empires of the Rhadynn and the Naceadans. Ghilchrist I declared the year of his ascension to the throne of the dual monarchy to be a holiday year, and founded a new counting of years to be counted starting with that year as the “0” year and named the “Imperial Reckoning” or “IR”. In 2 IR, Ghilchrist issued his Atal Proclamation, or Prohibition Proclamation, a copy of which signed by the Ymerawdwr’s own hand can be found in the House Llefelys’ collection, in which he ordered all of his subject domains to cease paying tribute of any kind to the infernal and depraved Cold Lords.

On House Llud and the Imperial Faith:3

In their realm, House Llud promoted the holy faith the Lords of Heaven, and made it the faith of the nation, elevating the priests of the Holy Faiths to an honored place in their lands. In 1158 YE Brenin-Mawr Iain I founded the holy order devoted to Yng named the Milwr Awyr, also called the Warriors of the Sky, to guard the ten kingdoms from the depredations of the heathen Rodhar dragon raiders and godless Sjorover island pirates4. In 15 IR, Ymerawdwr Ghilchrist II granted the Milwr Tarian an Imperial Charter, an order of holy warriors devoted to Heim intended to serve as guardians for sacred places, monasteries, and temples. Upon his ascension to the throne in 126 IR, Ymerawdwr Kunagnos II issued his Eithrio Proclamation or the Exclusionary Proclamation in which he declared the worship of the Lords of Heaven the true faith of the Sky Empire, and specifically outlawed a list of cults condemned as demonic in nature5 and the worship of the vile power of the Ilkeastasisin. Those heathen faiths not mentioned in the document were still tolerated, but quite properly looked upon with disfavor.

In his first act upon ascending to the throne in 135 IR, Ymerawdwr Kunagnos III gave Imperial sanction to the Milwr Dwrn, a sect devoted to the Celestial Lord Forseti, to rule over and guard the land provinces of the Sky Empire. In that same year, Kunagnos III ceded Ranska to this order or holy warriors who henceforth directly ruled that land in the Ymerawdwr’s name, and under the laws of Heaven, until it was lost to the Hallitsijainen in 418 IR.

On the Crusades:

Few things more defined the reign of the Ymerawdwr’s than their enmity towards the cruel and unholy Kansattu Empire, a hatred driven to a crusading zeal by their alliance with the holy faiths of the Lords of Heaven. In 42 IR. Ymerawdwr Tamnais II launched the first Imperial crusade and conquered Saksa, claiming it as a foothold that he claimed would allow the conquest of all Ilkeas. Ymerawdwr Artur II continued these just and holy wars, seizing most of Ranska in 73 IR, and launching attacks into Kreikka before dying in glorious service to the gods on the field of battle, while Ymerawdwr Seain II completed the conquest, having assumed complete control of Ranska by 105 IR. After many more wars, Ymerawdwr Seain III conquered the province of Kreikka in 122 IR. The Ymerawdwrs built armies, fought great just and holy wars to press the Hallitsijainen, and the Sky Empire prospered for many years under the benevolent and protective eyes of Heaven, but the evils of the world, as is their nature, tirelessly worked to undo the work of the faithful and righteous.

In 391 IR, after years of war, the province of Kreikka was overwhelmed by heathen nomads, and was lost. Beginning in 402 IR. the Hallitsijainen began a campaign of corruption and depravity against the province of Ranska, engaging in a series of small wars, the records of which speak of terrible cruelty visited upon the good people of that land by the invading armies. By 412 IR, the weak-minded Ahaliat tribesmen in Kreikka were subverted by the corruption of the Hallitsijainen, and became subservient to the Kansattu Empire, allowing the terrible Verijuoma to rule over them, slavishly worshiping his power. Saksa soon fell apart into small territories ruled by disloyal Lesser Houses, who turned away from the just rule of the Ymerawdwrs and sought unholy alliances with the Cold Lords. Saksa completely disintegrated by 427 IR. Finally, in 418 IR. Ranska was invaded and conquered by the depraved Kreikkans and the cruel Hallitsijainen, the Milwr Dwrn were smashed, and Miesurmata and Herranoita became the lords of this realm. Proud and loyal subjects of the Ymerawdwrs and the remnants of the Milwr Dwrn fought on desperately against the invaders, some holding out for years, but eventually all were hunted down and destroyed.

On the Last Crusade and the Fall of House Llud:

In 427 IR. Ymerawdwr Cearnach VI was killed in battle during his failed campaign to try to retake Ranska. His son was crowned Ymerawdwr Cearnach VII, the boy-emperor, even though he was only eight years old at the time of his ascension. In this time of need, the Lords of Heaven sent the Arwr to the aid of the recently crowned Ymerawdwr bearing with him mystical artifacts of great power. In 434 IR. accompanied only by Nyniaw pen’Beli, the Arwr journeyed into the Kansattu Empire, and over the next several years stole or destroyed many objects of power that the Hallitsijainen valued greatly, and used the blade Kersyti to destroy the Hallitsijainen Susiherra and Sarviherttua and several of their most powerful and vile servants. Emboldened by the Arwr’s successes, Cearnach VII launched a great and holy crusade in 441 IR, seizing Pisekost and Varoastrov in 444 IR.

Heartened by the success granted by the Lords of Heaven, Cearnach VII landed his fleets on Jaotuli Island in 446 IR. quickly destroying its garrison, and laid siege to Pelkonnoitus in the same year. Not content with these successes, in 449 IR, filled with the might of the Lords of Heaven, Cearnach VII moved his grand imperial army from Pelkonnoitus up the Taikajulma River to directly attack Iltorni. In the siege of the dark tower, the Arwr was killed in combat with Murskilta who was destroyed at the same instant. After a year of siege, Ymerawdwr Cearnach VII, the last member of House Llud, was killed on the field of battle before the gates of Iltorni, leaving no heir. The Kansattu forces attacked the ring of besiegers around Iltorni during the depths of winter from within and without, crushing them in battle. The once proud armies of the Sky Empire were smashed by the Kansattu legions and their ships burned on the cold beaches of Ilkeas.

On the Whelming of Llydaw and the Fall of the Rhadynnic-Naceadan Dual Empire:

After Cearnach VII’s death, the infernal Hallitsijainen summoned their vile powers in a great enchantment to smash Llydaw, which they whelmed under the sea, leaving scattered islets where the landmass of the great island of the Ymerawdwrs once stood. From that point forward, Llydaw has been known as Llœgyr, the Lost Land. In 455 IR the remaining Great Houses met to elect a new Brenin-Mawr to lead them, but the just claim made by House Llefelys of Alwyr, was contested by demands made by House Amæthon of Brion, and House Arianrhod of Crœsfan, which prevented the Houses from agreeing upon a single successor. In a great parallel tragedy, the death of Cearnach VII, ended the dynastic succession of the Amparars, throwing the Naceadan nation of Oropais into chaos. Because of the treachery of Houses Amæthon and Arianrhod, wars have begun as those false claimants have sought to displace the valid claim of House Llefelys.

To the dismay of all righteous men everywhere, after the fall of the Ymerawdwrs the churches of the Lords of Heaven have found the holy message of the true Gods difficult to spread, as many lacking in stoutness of heart attributed the extinction of their most ardent mortal advocates as a sign of their disfavor, or, more heretically, their impotence. In Oropais, many of the weak in spirit have turned to the infernal treason of Arrioism as the advocates of that heresy postulate the destruction of Llydaw to be a sign of the disfavor of heaven. In 487 IR the Arrioist church illegally seized the imperial holdings of the Amparar of Oropais, trumping up the Writ of Oropais as a justification. Many others turn away from Heaven’s path and take refuge in the long-discarded faith of the y’Grym, a heathen faith foolishly and readily embraced by House Amæthon and House Gwydion.

Cursed by the infernal powers, our people suffered a further insult, when in 494 IR, the great dragon sire Mahthildin descended upon Carmathen and destroyed all those remaining there to claim as his own the holy treasures of the Sky Empire and the holy relics of the Lords of Heaven. In 504 IR, calling the sinking of Llydaw and the assault of Mahthildin signs of the displeasure of Heaven, the Fielidor of Arrio publicly called upon our people to set aside the true faith in the Lords of Heaven and embrace his apostasy, a plea all right thinking people rejected as obviously heretical.



1 A detailed review of records from the remaining Imperial archives now located in the Council libraries leads me to the conclusion that the events detailed in the Epikotos Leucadian took place during the reign of gor’Brenin Fionn I of House Alwyr at some point between the years 995 YE and 1005 YE.

2 Although the Song of Rafaele is somewhat vague in its attention to details such as exact dates, correlating the poem with other sources leads me to conclude that Rafaele’s exploits took place at some point between 1050 YE and 1150 YE.

3 No record exists of an Imperial charter being granted to the Milwr Llwon, also known as the Order of Oaths. Scholars have speculated that the founding of and sanction granted to the holy order of warriors devoted to Tiwas predates the Sky Empire, and may have been instrumental in legitimizing the ascension of the Ymerawdwrs.

4 In 492 IR House Llefelys ceded the island of Lleyn to the Milwr Awyr to replace the ports lost to them when Llydaw was destroyed.

5 The cults listed include cults devoted to (among others) Abonde, Bål, Belial, Darmas, Gangyn, Halpas, Iku-Tyrma, Ishi, Kalma, Khil, Kivutar, Lug, Ninkurra, Oxoßi, Seþra, Sirchade, Surtan, Tunar, Tuni, and Vaßatar. In addition, the document banned worship of the faiths promoted by the Hallitsijainen, specifically banning the Verituska cult. These denominations are known as the Eithrio Cults.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

House Rules - Exotic Armor

Exotic Armor

This is a list of exotic armors that do not appear in the Player's Handbook, but that I use in my campaigns. All of these armors and shields require the user to take either the Exotic Armor Proficiency or Exotic Shield Proficiency feat to gain the full benefit of these armors and shields. As exotic armors get added to my ongoing campaigns, I will add more to this listing. These armors have been adapted from Dawnforge: Crucible of Legend, and Hammer & Helm: A Guidebook to Dwarves.

This list uses several abbreviations to show what sourcebook the entries were drawn from. For guidance as to what sourcebooks these abbreviations reference, see my key to Sourcebook Abbreviations.

All of the material contained on this page and other pages of this blog is presented in accordance with the terms of the Open Game License.

Armor
Light Armor
Cost
Armor/Shield
Bonus
Max Dex
Bonus
Armor Check
Penalty
Arcane Spell
Failure
Weight1
Medium Armor
Cost
Armor/Shield
Bonus
Max Dex
Bonus
Armor Check
Penalty
Arcane Spell
Failure
Weight1
Heavy Armor
Cost
Armor/Shield
Bonus
Max Dex
Bonus
Armor Check
Penalty
Arcane Spell
Failure
Weight1
Shields
Cost
Armor/Shield
Bonus
Max Dex
Bonus
Armor Check
Penalty
Arcane Spell
Failure
Weight
Breaker Shield
20 shillings
+2
-
-3
15%
15 lbs.

Armor Descriptions

Breaker Shield: A breaker shield is a devious invention favored by orcs that causes their opponent;s weapons to shatter or snap when they hit it. This large shield is covered with jagged metal or specially carved wooden fins that can trap and break weapons. Any time a character using a breaker shield takes a total defense action, he can attempt to sunder an attacking opponent's weapon as an attack of opportunity. This does not provoke an attack of opportunity. If the opponent's attack misses by less than the total armor Class bonus provided by the total defense action and the breaker shield, then the character may attempt to sunder their opponent's weapon.

Only Medium and smaller weapons can be sundered by a breaker shield. Only proficient users can use the special ability of a breaker shield, which requires the Exotic Shield Proficiency.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

House Rules - New Magic Armor and Shield Special Abilities

Armor and shields may have special abilities, such as acid resistance or fortification. Special abilities count as additional bonuses for determining the market value of the item, but do not modify defensive bonuses (except where specifically noted). A single shield or suit of armor cannot have a modified bonus (enhancement bonus plus special ability bonus equivalent) higher than +10. A suit of armor or shield with a special ability must have at least a +1 enhancement bonus.

This list uses several abbreviations to show what sourcebook the entries were drawn from. For guidance as to what sourcebooks these abbreviations reference, see my key to Sourcebook Abbreviations.

All of the material contained on this page and other pages of this blog is presented in accordance with the terms of the Open Game License.

Daylight Ward: (Wrath and Rage: A Guidebook to Orcs and Half-Orcs) Armor and shields with this special ability grant creatures with light sensitivity the ability to ignore the negative effects of sunlight and daylight spells.
  Aura: Moderate abjuration; Caster Level: 2nd; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, endure sunlight; Cost: +1 bonus.

Fleet: (Wrath and Rage: A Guidebook to Orcs and Half-Orcs) Fleet armor is built using the very lightest materials and processes available. It also incorporates ingenious springs and roller to move the wearer quickly along the ground. A creature in fleet armor increases its base speed by +10 feet. Only light armor may be imbued with this special ability.
  Aura: Moderate transmutation; Caster Level: 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, expeditious retreat; Cost: +1 bonus.

Grudge: (Wrath and Rage: A Guidebook to Orcs and Half-Orcs) Grudge armor and shields excel at defending against one type of creature. Against the designated foe, their effective enhancement bonus is +3 better than normal. To randomly determine a designated foe, roll on the following table:

d%Designated Foe
01 - 05Aberrations
06 - 13Animals
14 - 20Constructs
21 - 25Dragons
26 - 30Elementals
31 - 35Fæy
36 - 40Giants
41 - 45Magical Beasts
46 - 50Monstrous Humanoids
51 - 53Oozes
54 - 58Outsiders, Chaotic
59 - 65Outsiders, Evil
66 - 70Outsiders, Good
71 - 75Outsiders, Lawful
76 - 77Plants
78 - 85Shapechangers
86 - 92Undead
93 - 94Vermin
95 - 00Humanoid (choose subtype)

  Aura: Moderate conjuration; Caster Level: 11th; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, summon monster I; Cost: +2 bonus.

Horselord: (Wrath and Rage: A Guidebook to Orcs and Half-Orcs) This armor is built for mounted combat and includes spurs and intricate systems of rings to tie the wearer to a mount. It grants a +10 circumstance bonus on Ride checks. Only light and medium armor may have this special ability.
  Aura: Moderate transmutation; Caster Level: 2nd; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, creator must have at least 8 ranks in Ride; Cost: +1 bonus.

Pack Mule: (Wrath and Rage: A Guidebook to Orcs and Half-Orcs) Armor with this special ability is designed balance as much weight as possible on the hips, allowing its wearer to carry far more weight than normal. A wearer of pack mule armor suffers no encumbrance penalty for carrying a medium load, and incurs only the normal penalty for a medium load while carrying a heavy load. The wearer's maximum load is unchanged. Only armor may have this special ability.
  Aura: Moderate evocation; Caster Level: 8th; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, divine power; Market Price: +2 bonus.

Ram: (Wrath and Rage: A Guidebook to Orcs and Half-Orcs) Ram armor is specially reinforced along the joints and buttressed with heavy struts that run along the wearer's back and shoulders. it also includes various handles and grips on the back. The wearer gains a +8 competence bonus on Strength checks made to break open doors and the armor's construction allows a second person to aid the attempt, adding another +2 circumstance bonus to the check if successful. Opponents who attempt to grapple the wearer also gain a +2 circumstance bonus on the grapple check from the many handholds on this armor. Only medium or heavy armor may have this special ability.
  Aura: Moderate evocation; Caster Level: 9th; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, force ram; Market Price: +1 bonus.

Seeming: (Wrath and Rage: A Guidebook to Orcs and Half-Orcs) Armor of seeming is a favorite of assassins and burglars alike. Once per day, with a command word, the wearer can instantly disguise himself as with the spell alter self as if cast by a 6th level caster (1 hour duration). Only armor may have this special ability.
  Aura: Moderate transmutation; Caster Level: 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, alter self; Market Price: +2 bonus.

Tailored: (Wrath and Rage: A Guidebook to Orcs and Half-Orcs) Tailored armor must be built for a particular creature. When worn by the intended wearer, its armor check penalty is 1 better than that of masterwork armor (thus, +1 tailored hide would have an armor check penalty of -1). A suit of tailored armor worn by anyone other than its intended wearer does not confer this benefit, and actually worsens the armor check penalty by 1 - just as if the armor were not masterwork. Only armor may have this special ability.
  Aura: Moderate transmutation; Caster Level: 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, creator must have at least 8 ranks in Craft (Armorsmithing); Market Price: +1 bonus.

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