Saturday, March 17, 2018

Classes in the Tai Shan Republic: Barbarian and Bard

There are many indigenous “slave race” groups that were never fully conquered and integrated into the Dragon Empire. From the swamps of the Seven Sorrows, these people are often called the “boat people” or the “river people.”
The Barbarian class represents these swamp warriors, who raid Shai Tang Republic and Red Banner troops and towns alike.
There are two types of barbarian-warrior found within these indigenous tribes, and they are represented by the paths below.

Raging Waters
For some barbarian warriors, attacking from aboard the deck of a ship is as natural as swimming or swinging an axe.

            Shrieking Leap.
            At 3rd level, you can jump twice the normal distance you otherwise would be able to in a long-jump as long as you are in a rage. The Raging Waters barbarians often use their well-developed thews to propel them onto enemy boats.

            River barbarians are also known to stand alone atop the deck of a ship and slay all and sundry, guild champion and soldier alike, that come at them, from all sides. At 6th level, whenever you rage you can also make a two melee attacks as bonus actions against two separate targets in your flanks or directly in front of you each round. When your rage ends, you suffer one level of exhaustion.
            Beginning at 11th level, if you succeed at a relentless rage check, your strength bonus is doubled for the rest of the fight.

Blazing Fire
Others among the boat people focus on the use of the best weapon there is against the craftships of Tai Shan: fire.

            At 3rd level you may whisper the secret words of fire to your weapon; tongues of flame will leap up and down it. These flames will last for one battle, but they will severely damage your weapon (it will be unusable at the end of the fight). Anyone struck by a flaming weapon takes an additional 1d4 points of damage and may catch on fire.

            Igneus Mastery.
            At 6th level, you know the secret words to keep your hands safe in fire; you can reach into, grab, touch, and manipulate burning objects, blazing coals, etc., without penalty. They deal no damage.

            Fire Ward.
            At 10th level, you have a chance of deflecting incoming bullets and fire-based magic. You may now save to take no damage from bullets (they are deflected off course), save to take half damage from large gunpowder weapons (mortars), and if you save against a fire-based magical attack, you take no damage; if you fail, you take half instead.

Musicians, writers, and propagandists under the old Empire often journeyed to An’an for training;
there, at the so-called School of the Amber Quill, they would learn some of their master’s secrets:
that is, they were taught to utilize limited applications of spellcraft from the dragon-princes
who deigned to teach there. Since the fall of the Empire, control over this training technique has
lapsed somewhat; while there are still scholars of the Amber Quill, folk techniques for
replicating the dragon’s magic have also given birth to ten thousand “chattering pens.”

Bards in Edero do not have the ability to use a musical instrument as a spellcasting focus.

Amber Quill.
Members of the Amber Quill are all trained in An’an by the remains of the School there. They
possess certain degree of hauteur, knowing they are the most elite of the writer-magicians in the

            Master Historian.
At 3rd level, Amber Quills are awarded the rank of master historian from the school. Choose
two intelligence skills to gain double your proficiency bonus on.
 Deep Lore
At 6th level, you learn two spells of your choice from any class. A spell you choose may be
from any level you could cast, if you were the appropriate class. The chosen spells count as
bard spells for you, but don’t count against the number of bard spells you know.

Mystic Defenses.
At 12th level, you are able to construct brief-lived defenses against magical attacks by using
secret words taught by the School. You may expend a bardic inspiration to add that roll to
your saving throw against any spell.

Chattering Pen.
Members of the Chattering Pen are self-taught, and are also known as hedge mages. They may serve
the powerful guild interests, the Red Banner, or any number of bandit groups, but they are known for
their cunning.

Bonus Proficiencies.
Those who never join the School of the Amber Quill gain proficiency with medium armor, shields,
and martial weapons at level 3.

All Together Now.
At 3rd level you can help your allies in combat, whether by exploiting openings or by buoying up
their spirits. Anyone that has a Bardic Inspiration Die from you can roll that die and add it to a
damage roll made by a weapon or a spell.

Iron Pen.
At 6th level, you learn to imbue a brief enchantment to your quill tips. You can hurl these quills as
darts. They have a +1 magical bonus when thrown by you. If you spend a bardic inspiration when
throwing one, it will gain a magical bonus equivalent to 1/3rd your level (maximum of +5).

Dazzling Swordplay.
At 10th level, you can make one weapon attack on a turn you have cast a spell, as a bonus action.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Proposal: Eder'o

The Dragon-Emperors have fallen. The Imperial Wars have drained the once-proud nobles of the Heavenly Empire. Strife, strife beyond imagining has depleted their strength. Now, the cities of the Seven Sorrows must do without their emperor, without their nobility, and without the caste of sorcerer-lords that once ruled them. From the wreckage, the Heavenly Empire re-emerges onto the world stage... in a time of nation-states, absolutism, and mercantile adventurism.

This is a pitch for a 5th Edition D&D setting. It would use modified 5e rules, backgrounds, and races. Rather than a traditional pre-industrial feudal period, the Heavenly Empire posits a modern, industrializing, landscape with political formations that are much more similar to those in the modern period. States, as we now conceive of them, play a huge role, rather than the feudal model of personal loyalty.

BACKGROUND. Before the Imperial Wars, the Heavenly Empire was made and governed by the Dragon-Emperors. These lords were literally dragons, descended from the Primal Dragons who originally divided up the world. In other regions, those dragons were overthrown by the so-called slave races: men, elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, orcs. The tieflings, heirs to the demonic sorcery of the Old Ways, served as the dragon's lieutenants in the Heavenly Empire, and the royal houses in many other lands.

The world was divided between the Empire and the Barbarian States. Those Barbarian States now sit at parity with the former Empire, for the Heavenly Empire has fallen. The Imperial Wars consumed her, with dragon-lords vying for power. The great houses are all but exterminated, and only a handful of dragons remain. The mightiest servants of the Empire, the dragonborn, retain much of their rights and privileges, and make up the burgeoning burgher and merchant classes, along with some of the newly emancipated slave races.

The Imperial Wars began with the death of the Gaolong Emperor and the war of his seven children. Each child took for their base of power one of the seven great cities of the Empire, along the vast and winding river that cuts through its heart and is fed by six lesser rivers: the legendary Seven Sorrows. For that reason, the Imperial Wars are also known as the War of Seven Sorrows, and the heirs to the throne were often colloquially known as "the Sorrows."

After centuries of internecine warfare, the Sorrows were no closer to the throne; whenever a contender died, other pretenders stood up to join the fray in their place. It was, at last, the High Landmenn Council of the great financial city of T'ai Sha that overthrew them and drove out the living Sorrows. A compact between the powerful tiefling sorcerers and dragonborn merchantile class resulted in the expulsion or execution of the living dragons.

Of course, this rebellion, called alternately the T'ai Sha Rebellion or the Devil's Bargain, made liberal use of a surge of anti-draconic feeling in the slave races. The Chained, as they called themselves, formed a faction to themselves, and when the dragons were executed or gone, they threatened to swamp the great cities in violence. The Landmenn, the most powerful of urban burghers in the realm, and the sorcerers quelled the Chained Revolutions and established the Writ of Perpetual Freedom: in exchange for ending their fight, the slave races of the Empire would agree to be freed from servitude and land-bondage.

This worked in most places, except for the city of T'ai Sha. The Chained there had a strong backbone of support from young burghers and students at the University of Celestial Knowledge, where the sorcerers were trained. They seized the city in the name of what they called "Universal Brotherhood", executed every priest within the walls, set her junks on fire, and proceeded to take control of all land and goods for the Universal Revolt.

They were eventually put down by powerful dragonic forces, recruited from amongst the ranks of the former restorationists. The Dragon-General Tunwen attacked T'ai Sha with his iron steamships and flying wizards, and put an end to the Universal Brotherhood -- or so he thought.

Tunwen was named the Grand Marshal of the new Republic of T'ai Sha, but before three years were out, escaped members of the Universal Brotherhood could be found preaching rebellion in the provinces. They warned that the so-called "free wage labor" of the new Republic was little different from the chains of the Empire. "One is made of iron, one of gold, but both bind," Sister-Scholar Lema warned.

The Brotherhood could not stand against the uniting armies of the new Republic, and were driven into the Red Mountains, far to the west, where they raised their banner of rebellion. To this day, the Revolutionary Red State holds the richest iron, copper, tungsten, coal, and oil lands in the former Empire. The Republic of T'ai Sha considers the Red State to be a carbuncle within its borders, an existential danger. The other nations of the world agree: so long as the Red State continues to exist inside of the Republic like a tumor, it gives the lower classes of the world a rallying cry and a red banner to wave.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Spells of Arunia: Blistering Boulder and Dry Matter

These spells were created in the year 512 by the wizard Arneth the Cautious in the town of Stock.

Blistering Boulder
Level 3
Range: 0
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1d4+1 rounds per caster level
Casting Time: 1 round
Area of Effect: 20-ft radius
Saving Throw: ½

This spell destabilizes a large stone object, laying an enchantment within it that waits, latently, for the duration of the spell. If the stone is hurled (by any means: magical, mechanical, or by giant), the enchantment will be triggered. When let loose, it causes the boulder or other masonry to rip itself to pieces, flinging dangerous shrapnel and stone dust in a twenty foot radius from wherever the missile impacts. This means the stone does not do regular damage as a siege weapon.

In order to cast this spell, the wizard must pace around the stone, tracing runes in glowing liquid fire with his fingertips. This process lasts for one full minute before the enchantment is complete, and if the wizard is interrupted during this time, the potency of the spell is lost. The runes vanish almost as soon as they are written, laying the magic into the stone.

The shattering, violently splintering stone, sends jagged pieces flying in all directions, doing 1d10 (to a max of 8d10) points of damage for every level of experience of the caster, meaning a wizard with six levels of experience would roll 6d10 for their damage. A save vs. breath weapon is made by anyone within the radius of the blast. A successful save lowers the damage by half. Even those who save will be temporarily stunned if they are caught within the blast, unable to act on their next action.

The material component is the boulder itself, which must generally be of a size equivalent to the ammunition used for a catapult, trebuchet, or giant-thrown stone.

Dry Matter
Level 2
Range: Touch
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous
Casting Time: 2
Area of Effect: One object or creature
Saving Throw: Special

The spell Dry Matter removes the liquid content from a physical body. Typically, wizards would use this for tomes, scrolls or clothing. It could also be used to empty a glass or vial, potentially, if it were stoppered with cork. Something completely sealed, so as to not be porous, would not be effected by the spell, i.e. a bottle stopped with wax, a chitinous shell, etc.

The virtue of the spell is such that anything damaged by water within a certain amount of time (1 hour per level of the caster) can be successfully recovered; this includes ruined books, scrolls, etc. Inks are dehydrated into dust that can be later re-used. The spell can only affect matter up to one cubic foot per level of the caster.

Leather can be cured with the use of this spell, and its power is such that organic ingredients can be prepared instantly, drying them instead of pickling them, for later use by the wizard as components.

The spell effects living things as well, dehydrating them for 1d4 points of damage per caster level. Alcohol exacerbates the effect of this spell on the living, giving a +1 to damage.

Dry Matter does not remove smells.

Locations of Interest in Craftsman's Reach: Aella's Hall

This post is under construction.

Aella's Hall is a dwarven folk-hall that honeycombs the lone peak of Mount Sirune. The central region of the Reach is the princedom of the dwarf-prince Rognvald Thorfinnsson Coalteeth Eldrbrunn, and the Thessalian princes and lords of Kjellos and the Reach have no claim to it at all. This has been dwarven territory since the end of the Wars of High Sorcery, when Aella Eldrbrunn the Smith aided the Second Empire in destroying the sorcerer Mordent the Babbler on the very slopes of Sirune.

Aella's Hall is a major city, boasting no less than 40,000 dwarves. It is visible from a great distance, as the many-layered doors of the dwarven underhalls open out all over the mountain. Above-ground, the city falls down the mountain slopes in steep tiers, stone mansions, workshops, and temples cascading over its surface. The mountain's approaches are warded by monstrously large towers built into the stone--relics from the Stone Giant kingdoms of the First and Second Age.

The southern feet of the mountain shelter a deep valley, which is ringed in by a dwarven ringwall, and in that vale is grown most of the folk-hall's food. The outer city perches on the slopes overlooking the valley, and climbs up the mountains, protected by curtaining walls and fortifications.

Prince Rognvald. Following in the footsteps of the first hall-prince, Aella, Rognvald Eldrbrunn is first and foremost a craftsdwarf and only after that a ruler. The prince's palace within the mountain is said to contain no less than five forges and three furnaces for the smelting of metal and preparation of various crafts. Rognvald applies himself to the task of governing the way he applies himself to the forge: with a fierce dedication, and wielding a hammer. He is the hall-prince, and clan-prince of the Eldrbrunn clan.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Saint Sidgwick of Wilderlund

Born to an elvish father and an Auregniac peasant mother, Sidgwick was a curly-haired half-elf raised as a child-oblate of the Heimiran house of Joy's Rest at the western edge of the Wilderlund. He was a bubbly, laughing child, and the older brothers knew that the grace of Heimir was upon him from a very early age.

Sidgwick displayed a number of minor miracles in his youth, once healing the leg of one of the house's dray-beasts, a donkey called Immanuelus by touch—a clear sign of divine favor. The beast followed him ever after, and became useless as a pack animal for the monastery, preferring to sit outside of Sidgwick's cell as the growing brother read deeply of the philosophy of the ancients.

When he reached his majority, Sidgwick spoke with Abbot Aleharding and they determined that the best course was for Sidgwick to put his inclinations into action. "You will never be able to spread so much happiness here, secluded in our retreat, as you will if you go out into the world." And so Sidgwick chose a destination, and a goal: the old abandoned monastic house of Monkshome, beyond the Aelfwater Lake, at the very fringes of civilized lands.

On his journey there, he met with the nascent Swords of Stock, then calling themselves Fenrus' Very Best, an adventuring company out of the little town of Stock in the shadow of Tyreth Castle. He traveled with them, testing his youthful exuberance against goblins, orcs, and other monstrous creatures. Sadly, his journey was cut short by his death, while exploring the Tomb of General Tullius Antoninus near at hand to Tyreth.

Sidgwick's passing has been mourned at Joy's Rest, and Abbot Aleharding ordered him canonized in the following year. The other nearby abbots agreed, and once the ruins of Monkshome were restored, they were consecrated in his honor.

Though his death is very recent, already shrines venerating him as a servant of Heimir can be found springing up in the north of Craftsman's Reach, where he brought joy and delight. Indeed, Monkshome has been rechristened Saint Sidgwick's, and has been preparing a brew based on Sidgwick's own, which is certain to become a regional favorite.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Sieur Ogmund, the Axe of the North

4th level fighter; S 12, D 7, C 17, I 13, W 10, CA 11; hp 45; #AT 1; THAC0 17; Dmg 1d8/1d10 (battle axe);  AC 2/4/6 (chain armor, kite shield, great helm); Languages: West Varan; AL LG

Gear: Sieur Ogmund wears dwarf-make chain and a kite shield fashioned with the anvil of the order as its boss. He carries a battle axe and an arming sword, preferring in almost all situations to use the axe.

Ogmund Holmgrinn, also known as the Axe of the North, is a lay member of the Order of the Forge Divine. He is 15 years old, born in X.497 in the Kjellan peninsula, fourth son of Greveman Varius Holmgrinn, one of the great lords of that land. He was assigned by the Order to serve as squire to Einar Skyborne, a paladin of the Order. He served in that capacity as a squire and paige to the Swords of Stock, an adventuring party based in the Tyreth region.

The Axe of the North is a quiet, steady knight, who does not lust after glory or seek great deeds, but has a personal storehouse of tales about the famed Einar Hallrson, and who has slain giants in his day. Still young, he is often mistaken as a callow youth, but is a proven warrior, capable of fighting ahorseback or in the battle line. He is known for his unshakeable courage, and if approached about that topic will often reply that nothing can be as terrifying as facing a frost giant for the first time: "The oily stink of their mail; the sight of their weapons; The things we fight today are merely men."

Friday, March 2, 2018

Myrtle's Ribcracker

This spell was crafted in the year X.512 by Myrtle the Meddler, a wizard of Stock.

Level 3

School: Evocation
Range: 100 yds.                     Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 rd/level               Casting Time: 4
Area of Effect: 40 ft radius    Saving Throw: Negate effect, not damage

When speaking the words of this spell, the caster must expend a handful of powdered giant’s flesh; this flesh must be prepared beforehand, by means of a special, laborious process. One frost giant can provide approximately 10 castings of this spell after their flesh is desiccated, boiled, pulped, and ground.

On the first round this spell is cast, the area in the chosen area of effect suddenly changes pressure; an invisible, but immense, force is called into being somewhere overhead. This force slams down like a tidal wave, smashing into everyone and everything in the area. Fragile objects must save or be destroyed. Most creatures in the area will be flattened, crushed to the ground. Those that save manage to throw themselves out of the area, taking the initial damage but not suffering the lasting effects.

Anyone and any creature within the area takes 1d4 points of damage per caster level, to a maximum of 12d4 points of damage at level twelve. They are then pressed by a powerful force from above. The strength of this force is determined at the time the spell is cast—it has a strength equivalent to 1d10+2/caster level. Each round the spell is in effect, creatures pressed to the ground may make a strength check to stand again, against that static strength score. Any creature that stands breaks the effect of the spell.

Once the creatures are pressed down, only those creatures are effected for the duration of the spell.