08/3/14

The Tua’theen & Koriari

Tua’theen

The Tua’theen are a proud people who’s ancestry can be traced back before humankind. They came to this planet sometime before the Mage War when it was still a major port for this part of the galaxy. At the end of the war, the few survivors found themselves stranded, calling this world home ever since.

This race might best be described as elves. They are taller than your average human, with (on average) a thinner more athletic build. Their ears are pointed slightly as well. For the upcoming pathfinder campaign, we will be using the elven template for these people for game purposes.

At this point, it should be mentioned that all Tua’theen can wield magic to some degree,  with a few exceptions to the rule (More on that at a later date). Some say it was from them in-which human kind first discovered their own abilities.

Currently, the Tua’theen are split into two groups. One to the north and one to the south. Honestly, I haven’t decided quite yet weather they are split due to a difference of opinion or other reasons. These two groups, however, are not an war but do bump heads on occasion. Mainly they just hold allegiance to their own faction.

They are an uncommon folk, spread out across the world. While there are small pockets and villages here and there which could be considered a Tua’theen community, you are most likely to see one either on the Island of Molir working with the academy, or in Capitol City. The average life span is 200 years.

Koriari

The Koriari are known for a love of stories, song, drink, and most of all a keen business sense. This is yet another alien race, though had to change themselves in order to survive after the war. The Koriari underwent a serious change and alteration, and threw in a few extra changes as well. They adopted dna from both animal and Tua’theen giving them the following traits:

-More hair. The Koriari typically have fur which runs from the base of their hair all the way down their backs, with males showing more than females.
-Tails. Yup, tails. Cat-ish people.
-Larger than human incisors.
-Low light vision
-Enhanced sense of smell.
Magic. Though very rare, a few Koriari can effectively use magic in a more than practical sense. It’s important, however, to note that nearly all of them can use low level magical items to some degree.

I should also like the point out that they’re my version of a halfling, as they stand roughly 3′-4′ tall on average. They also have quick reflexes.

07/6/14

The University: Pt1

Magical abilities in humans begin around puberty, and therefor are mandatory checked between the ages of 10 and 16. It is not unheard of, though very rare, for such abilities to manifest before such time and such occurrences are dealt with accordingly. For this segment, we will be covering a brief overview of the mark of all magus, as well as why Molir was needed in the first place.

Why Molir Was/Is Needed

Magic can be dangerous. In fact, it can be very very dangerous. Sure, there’s the benefit of heating a cup of tea with no fire, causing a ship to fly, or bending a broken bone. There’s also the ever impending threat of another war and of those who would use their gift to do harm. Yeah, sure we have the occasional missing limb or exploded kitchen, but we could have seas boiling and the very planet rocked to it’s core. Talking the end of the world here. Strong magic had only been around a short time before the Mage War began, and by the end, nearly all was lost. For it’s own survival, those few who were left decided not to get rid of those with magical ability completely, but to keep them in check — and in tight control.

They have each individual who has tested to even carry the mark (genetics) of magical ability tagged permanently. For these people, the ‘University’ of Molir can see everywhere you are at every minute. They know if you’ve cast anything wrong, what you’re strongest attributes are. They, perhaps, know more about you that you do yourself. I should like to note that this devise is not to… micromanage character/players, but to offer them more challenge. There are ways to get away from the eyes of Molir if the time comes.

The Mark

After any child is tested positive, they are sent to the Island of Molir. Often their families already live there or, if not, are offered to join them. As soon as the text is positive, the child is kept near their guard until reaching the island and the whole time on the island until they receive their mark.

The ceremony is very quick and very painful. I haven’t exactly dreamed up the specifics other than it uses some remnants from Mage War, and is excruciating. Pain going into you and nearly every cell screaming in pain as you can feel it flow through you. Often, some sort of sedative is added as well to help. After examination, the individual has a mark on their upper left arm in which the appearance varies by the individual. Imagine arcane symbols, tribal markings, some language no one can understand. It changes with you reflecting a part of who and what you are in  away few (or none) can understand.

 

 

05/23/14

Magic Items PT1 – Simple Items

Magic items are, in the Shadows of the Mage War Campaign, items which cast spells. There are several ways in which these items work. for this installment, we will discuss simple ones found most often in the form of rings and other small jewelry. These items have the ability to bring for an incorporeal item or beast as well as protect the user. Below are some short and brief examples of several summoning items.

Weapons

Basic Dagger Ring
A simple glowing blue dagger with +1 dmg.
Cost: 1 Mana

Tools

Lock pick Ring
Lock picking set with +1 lock picking.
Cost: 1 Mana

Summoning

Spirit Companion Rings
Summons a small, medium, or large animal to your side to perform simple tasks. Some rings allow sentient animals which may preform more complex tasks.
Cost: Varies

Protection

Protection items offer an invisible shield that covers the skin over the entire body offering protection from various elements or direct damage. Cost varies, but is channeled the same as the rest.

Easy enough, right? Simple summoning items have no effect on the wearer unless they’re being actively used, at which point one will have to dip into their mana pool. In the case where one item will need to become unused so something else may be channeled, a full round must pass. To switch, you must disuse an item at the end of your turn, picking up the new one on the next.

From a DM standpoint this can also add a bit more flavor in items to offer your players. Not allow players will be able to use them as an obvious point, but you can also require other personal sacrifices for greater or other effects. More about those later on once they show up in this test campaign.

05/21/14

Character ‘Backgrounds’ for Shadow of the Mage War Campaign Saga

I still don’t like the use of the word templates to describe this. For the upcoming campaign, I’ve decided to give my player characters an added bonus or two that fits in with their characters background, story, and pretty much how much they’ve fleshed it out. My plan is that this will offer not only an added instinctive to build on characters, but to offer a slightly flavorful push on things as well. My players are starting at level 1 despite the fact that they’ve already been studying in their chosen paths for some time. For now, let’s say Backgrounds.

I will also say that you can keep anything you gain in these backgrounds until it seems unreasonable for the character to do so. For example, if you choose to change to a different profession where you’ll start learning a whole new set of skills. Another example may be that you are simply no longer capable of a certain ability. However, once you start in something new, the previous past is lost. Over time, skills and abilities you once learned may be forgotten.

Blue Guard Trainee
So, you’re training to be one of the Blue Guard, ‘eh? Learned a few tips & tricks but aren’t there quite yet. Likely, you’re still working under a superior officer or receiving newcomer training at the Academy of Molir on the northern coast of the island. You may even be a seasoned character looking to start in something new. If any of these are the case, you may pick 2 of the following bonuses at level 1 and an extra bonus at level 5.

  • +1 DEX/WILL per 5 levels on path (Choose 1, Round up)
  • +1 MANA per 2 levels on path (Round down)
  • -1 Hour Rest Required
  • +1 SPEED
  • +1 Added spell resist per 2 levels.

Mage
This is an available selection for any spell-caster training at the Academy and concentrating on magical studies. You may pick 2 of the following bonuses at level one and an extra bonus at level 5.

  • +1 INT/WIS/CHA per 5 levels on path (Choose 1)
  • +1 MANA per 2 levels on path
  • +1 Radius to area spells
  • + 1 DMG FROST/FIRE/NATURE/HOLY/ETC spells PER LEVEL (Choose one)
  • +1 LUCK
  • +1 per level when rolling to recognize a spell
  • 1 extra spell per day from your list
  • +5 RESIST in FROST/FIRE/NATURE/HOLY/ETc. (Choose one. Must work with your strongest area of spell-casting)
  • SPELL:  MINOR HEAL – Heal a minor wound (2d4 dmg) at the cost of one mana point for 1 hour. RANGE 2 SQ

Scholar
For those who seek knowledge above all. You may pick 2 of the following bonuses at level 1 and an extra bonus at level 5.

  • +2 History per level
  • +1 LUCK
  • +5 to finding information in library situations
  • +5 to one skill (May be taken again at level 5)
  • May reroll one knowledge check per day, taking the better result.
  • +1 Language
  • +3 to knowledge gathering

Explorer
It’s not knowledge you seek but experiences and adventure. You live for danger and excitement, finding thrill at every turn. You may pick two of the following bonuses at level one and an extra bonus at level 5.

  • +1 to disabling and recognizing traps per 2 levels.
  • +2 to JUMP
  • +2 CLIMB
  • May reroll once per day on a save or situation which may otherwise kill you. Use better roll.
  • +5 Perception
  • +1 DEX/CHA per 5 levels (choose one)
  • SPELL/ABILITY: SPEED – +2 to move for 5 rounds. Usable once per day.
05/19/14

The Blue Guard

“The Blue Guard” is the official name given to the organization which polices all magic in Estrucia. Also known simply as ‘Witch Hunters,’ they take orders from a close knit joint section of the Estrucian Empire and the Academy of Molir.

They are in charge of:

  • Hunting down non-licensed mages.
  • Dangerous mages
  • Mages who have broken the law in a terrible way.
  • Testing children for magical ability in the rural farmlands.
  • Guarding special interests.

Their training gives them:

  • To be more resistant to magical effects cast upon them.
  • To track individuals for long distances and periods of time.
  • Close range combat skills specializing in anti-mage tactics.
  • Magical jurisdiction in all of the territories.

The Blue Guard is not the most common sight in the land. This may be partly due to the fact that they are not required to wear uniform for day to day business, having one only for ceremony and when it’s needed for show.  Now you may ask…

Who is likely to be in the Blue Guard?

  • Those sensitive to magical energies and their detection.
  • Mages who aren’t very good at higher magics but do well with combat, tactics, and other skills.
  • Those who wish to wonder, explore the land, and investigate things.

Who else can join?

  • The template can be applied to almost any class as long as the character is the type who relishes the hunt and enjoys not being in the same place for very long at a time. This includes mages of all sorts (wizards, priests, etc) as well as those with no magical prowess at all.

I should like to point at this time that the guard is not full of magical types. They mainly look for those who really can’t do magic but can sense it fairly well or have a natural ability against it. The Blue guard is a representation of humanity’s fight to survive in spite of those who may wish to do it harm. They are the defense against another war.

For the upcoming Shadows of the Mage War campaign, characters are allowed to decree it an area of study at the academy at character creation, though will not be able to fully apply the template until later as a prestige class.  This is due to my allowing a choosing of a small character oriented bonus at character creation. More on Starting templates later. Templates? Is there a better word? Probably.

05/19/14

Illegal Magics

There are several types of magic in Estrucia which are either heavily permitted or outright illegal by the Estrucian Empire. The decisions behind each type have come after the harm each can do when not in check.

Healing
Any healing above basic first aid requires a licensed practitioner. It takes knowledge of bone, muscle, tendon, etc. In order to be able to stitch or grow pieces back together — even with magic. Without proper training, veins may not be properly reconnected or small important bits may be missing.

Resurrection
It is heavily believed that the dead should stay dead. In most cases, this is the truth. No one fully knows what lay beyond this life or what truly makes us us. Memories can be retrieved, and maybe even more, but at no point can one truly be certain that its the same person they knew before. There are several ways in which one can be declared dead and come back, but it is very very rarely allowed.

Necromancy
There are several types of undead. Some are intelligent and some are not. Outside of the research of the academy, all such practices are quite illegal. In most circumstances, however, the one raised is not punished — only the person who brought them back. It is a case by case issue and often tried and judged by calling into the Blue Guard. So no creating ghouls, willing you’re beloved to keep on living past their expiration date, etc.

Teleportation
True teleportation may only be conducted by licensed folk. It is a super quick way to travel, though can be very expensive. This is to ensure all the bits stay where they should while moving through folded space and time. Offices are located within nearly all of the major cities. This law is also put into place to prevent the urge to, say, pop over into someone else’s house and take their things.

05/18/14

Mana Pool

Mana pool is an idea which allows for better channeling of magical powers as well as challenging the player by allowing them to use only so many (and so strong) of magical items at a time. This idea is borrowed, very vaguely, from the system which revolves around Vampire the Masquerade.

What to Pool Represents
The mana pool is a representation not only of spirit, but of willpower, determination, and very sense of being. It’s your sense of self, and maybe even a representation of your soul. Almost every aware sentient starts out with a little. The knowledge that you belong in the world. You are a part of the world. You are alive.

Game-wise, it’s a nifty little point system which allowed you to do multiple magic things at once such as use items, cast an extra spell, or gain a stat bonus. You have a limited amount of points and can only spread them so far, so players will have to consider and use them wisely.

Starting Points
Each player is given starting points for their pool by the DM upon character creation. For the upcoming Shadow of the Mage War campaign I’m planning, each character was judged not only on class but by age and back-story as well. Unless your players are crafting older wiser folks of a higher character level, I recommend just a basic 1-2 starting amount. It’s more than enough to use basic things and allows for gain through role-play.

Gaining More Points
Players gain more points through development and level. I’ve never specifically used XP in my games, allowing for the group to level when the time feels right. For the Mana Pools, players may be granted an extra point (or half point) for fantastic role-playing occurrences at any time. They will also gain such an amount with each level. The idea isn’t to give too many points ever. A few offers the challenge of what to spend them on and how to spread them out. Offering too many mainly offers a whole lot of math and headache. It also depends on your group. I will try to add in posts later with good and bad examples.

Point Use
To date in plans for the upcoming campaign, there are many uses for the points. Some will be continuing, some temporary, while others offering a negative effect.

Channeling/Items
Some items will allow you to summon things such as simple tools or creatures to aid you. This may be something like a +3 dagger or even a raven to fetch something small from across a gap. These items require a continuous drain on the pool for as long as they are used. For example, a ring may grant you a personal body shield to help shield you from damage or rain and you have a base pool of 5. The ring requires you to channel 3, thereby giving you 2 left for anything else. In general, all items summoned are some sort of transparent and ghostly color, including familiars.

Temporary Drains
A temporary drain gives you a short term effect with a longer lasting hit on your pool. An example of this might be casting an extra level 1 firebolt spell. For this case, one mana point would be locked until a full rest/day has occurred. You got an extra chance to light your foe’s pants on fire at cost of a diminished pool for a period of time. You exerted more of your power than you already had, and have a price to pay. I suggest that for a basic rule of thumb, each spell level will equal one point and all for a day. So a 3rd level spell would lock 3 points out until you’ve had that good night’s sleep and recovered yourself again. This also allows for DM’s to set up special situations where the player/character must choose a greater sacrifice. The character would know that by using this device/scroll/etc, they would be weakened for a good while. The player would have to decide if it’s worth sacrificing 10 out of 11 pts of their pool for even days or weeks in order to use something that may save their whole party.

Permanent Drains
At some point, even greater sacrifices may need to be made. Part of yourself may need to be given to another or something you wish to use requires a permanent piece of your being. These should be story only by the DM. However, it’s points you can use while you will never recover.

Draining More Than you Have
Say you have a pool of 5. Your character knows she’s in over her head, but decides to go through with something anyway. I don’t’ have the math worked out for this yet. The side effects can be DM decided easily enough, however. Likely a drain on health as if the person was hit. This allows that too much of a drain can cause a character to pass out or even die.

Unused Points
Unused points sitting in the pool are still quite useful. For the upcoming campaign, every 3 pts floating free gives the character a +1 in all stats (STR, INT, ETC) for rolls. (Though does not offer extra spell slots, more abilities, or the ability to use something you otherwise could not.)

All in all, I can’t wait to test this plan out. It’s a factor that is in no way equal to how smart you are or how charismatic. It doesn’t matter how wise. Instead of one factor, it is the generalization of many. Something to divy up here or there or to sacrifice completely.