Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Blog Launch

I've launched Lunching on Lamias, which is a new blog for documenting a PbP Campaign I'm in, as well as any other games I get into and/or run. Thanks to Patrick W. for letting me use the "eating a monster concept.

Scratch That

I'm going to create a new blog for the PbP Campaign. Disregard the post titled "New Content".

Friday, December 24, 2010

New Content

While this is still going to be mostly used for discussing Hulgren, there's not that much more I can do in it without players. As such, while I will continue to post about Hulgren, as well as other stuff that has a bearing on it, I may be posting adventure logs for the play-by-post D&D 4e campaign that (should) start soon as well.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Under the Microscope - Part 1

Alexis at The Tao of D&D posted a series of questions about a campiagn. I'm going to answer them from the point of view of a player in the play by post campaign I'm in.

1. How long has this present campaign been in existence?
It hasn't started yet.

2. How many players do you have, and how many right now were present at the beginning of the campaign?
As far as I know there will be six, not counting the DM.

3. How many of your players are family members?
None that I know of.
4. How many of your present players began playing after the halfway point in the existence of your campaign? How many in the last year (if that applies)?

5. How many long-term players (played for more than a third of the campaign) have you had that dropped out? Were any reasons given?

6. How many short term players have you had since the campaign started who did not come back? How many of them gave a reason?

7. How many of the players in your world have never played a role playing game before?
There's one that has never played a pencil and paper game before. She has played things like Dragon Age, and other RPG computer games though. Not sure about the others.

8. Estimate the appearance rate of your players. How often does your campaign run?

9. Name the three principle reasons for people not appearing in your campaign.

10. How often is it that players in your campaign do not appear without having given a reason?

Item - Blade of the Solstice (winter)

Blade of the Solstice (winter): This powerful weapon is made from everlasting ice and has an intricate tracery of runes along the blade. Anyone that touches it is immediately frozen, and will melt unless taken to a skilled Iceweaver. As it approaches the winter solstice and the nights grow longer it gains power, and the runes take on a strange glow. Its also gains strength when there is a solar eclipse. If the winter solstice and a solar eclipse combine, it forms a shield and set of armor of the same material. They also have runes running over their surfaces, as well as deep within them. In addition the current owner will be bonded to the sword, gaining strength in the same cycle as the blade. The blade and wielder no longer lose power beyond the "halfway point" or when their strength returns to normal. They also gain Iceweaving abilities, and the power to transform themselves into an Ice Prince or an Animated Storm.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Vaenar

Otherwise known as the Realm of Dreams, the Vaenar is a twisted shadow plane, filled with the tormented minds of those trapped within by the many fell creatures it has spawned. These include:

Draehir: A form of incorporeal undead. The Draehir are a friendly race, to most. The calming, peaceful thoughts that those in their domains have influenced the Vaenar to the point that their homes have become an idealized world, resembling a form of heaven. However, they should not be underestimated. They have the ability to channel these thoughts and dreams to create lethargy and apathy. (See the planet of Miranda in Serenity, but without the Reavers.)

Night-ghasts: Trapping living foes within nighmares, the territory of the Night-ghasts is a twisted, foul realm. They can channel the dreams of those they have trapped to inflict pain and terror.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Theme - Winter War

Since it's A. The holidays. And B. Frigging cold out. I figured I'd do some winter themed posts. So here's a version of Winter Wonderland:

Death bells ring, are you listening?
In the snow blood is glistening,
A terrible sight, but we're hunting tonight!
Stalking in a winter-sundered land.

Swiftly now, look up above!
Do you see the Blood Dove*?
Kill it fast, there's a night-ghast.
Stalking in a winter-sundered land.

In the city we can slay;
Kill as we please!
But not today,
For I'm starting to sneeze.

To return to the fire,
Is our desire.
Tally our kills, and cure the ills gained,
Stalking in a winter wonderland.

*The Blood Dove is taken from Telecanter.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sneaky Oddness - We Did What!?!

Again, for a reddit challenge, this time the same one:

Okay, I wouldn't suggest doing this often, lest you lose your players.

Here goes: The players have found a tower, or some other structure. It's pretty obviously abandoned but there are preserved - smoked, pickled, etc. - meats there. This should come after a long time out, and be reasonably easy to fortify, so that they have a reason to stop and stay there. The next morning after a feast on these (of course you can't force them to eat them, but it's up to you to give them a good reason for it.) they are awakened by an attack from whatever the local Orc-Equivalent is. When they arrive at the next town, they find that it's almost depopulated. When they ask around they find that the things that attacked you at the structure were taking and eating, and those preserved meats they ate were actually villagers.

Character - Created By Other

Someone on reddit offered to create characters for any system. As such I've commissioned five characters in my system.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mythology - Part 1: Kaserathi Legends: The Protectorate

Long ago, in the Getring, we were one. Then came the Protectorate. For years we lived in peace with them. But as time went on, more and more of the Kes-kin were... Taken. They returned, yes, some of them. But they were covered in wounds that did not bleed, and began to stink. Protectorate. Pah - They did nothing to protect us! We fed them, housed them, raised their young as our own, yet what we got in return was death! In the end we fled their rule, and left our homes far behind. When we arrived here we split apart, and swore never to come together again that our people might survive if the land turned on us once more.

Sneaky Oddness

Inspired by the second weekly challenge in /r/rpg (Yes, I know that I posted one from the same inspiration yesterday. I got in on it late.):

The party arrives in a small town (For my game The Hamlet of Hysionat) in the center of a massive storm system. The party has obviously wandered astray somehow, but they shouldn't realize how badly yet. The town has a completely random population, composed of young, old, and in between. The exception is that no-one under the age of 13 lives there. They will gradually become more and more uneasy as half remembered faces assail them from every side. What it is, is the City of Suicides. All those who kill themselves non-altruistically go here after dying. If the party stays too long, they will begin to see the wraiths of those who killed themselves in their individual pasts. This will eventually lead to pleas for them to stay and "help".If they agree they will be found dead the next morning unless they pass a skill check.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Creatures and Cultures

The Warg:

From the histories of Clan Torvin, presumed lost in the Mage-tears Range ten years ago:

The first Warg was found by Clan Morgris, starved and near to littering. They took it in, found that they could bond the pups to their own, and that the change bred true with the dog packs they had. Much of the Morgris wanted to keep this new advantage for themselves, which led to the Clan-Wars [history kept by Clan Kaevorn]. In the end all the Clans received a Warg-bond. But while it provides an advantage in battle, those who have bonded take on the characteristics of the Warg, and the Wargs take on the traits of their partners, with the end result being a complete change of form for both, and by this means the Clans and Packs are strengthened. But until the change is complete they pay for their choice; they become outcasts, forming their own groups until the self-shifting is complete.

Later note: Created for a Reddit challenge in /r/rpg.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Potions - Part 1: Unexpected Dilemmas

I hadn't thought about making potions much. But, as it turns out, I now have to work out a good system for doing so. Why? In my post on Thief's Bane I mention that it can be removed by soaking the afflicted body part in Cyterii and list what it's made of. So now anyone who's playing this knows (No-one that I know of, but I can hope, right?) that Darktainted Liza-grass, Ashen Hunterleaf, and Death's-touch Mushrooms can be turned into something. They'll be angry (and rightly so) if I say they can't make it. So what to do? I'll be working out a suitable process in a later post. If you have any ideas let me know!

The Strange and Lethalish - Lightening Bolt

When you first encounter a Lightening Bolt you appear to have been struck by an extremely small bolt of lightning. That's it. However, the next time you sleep all objects that you were carrying at the time you were struck begin to float away. Only recommended for use in indoor settings.

Let's Say You Find An Inscription...

Or a scroll, or anything else with writing on it, but you don't know what it says. Write one line from a song, a bit of a poem, an excerpt from a book, anything like that. Then you pull whatever you can from it. For example:

The Deathborn.

Half a hundred Teraniirs were hunting on the height; illuminated there for all, by the shadows of the night.

What can they get from it? I can think of a few things that this could provide hooks for:

  1. The players now know that there's something called Deathborn.
  2. They now know that some group of people used to be able to see in the dark by some unknown method.
  3. There was a group of things hunting somewhere. Perhaps they still are?
  4. Where was this anyway? I've never heard of a Teraniir.
What are your thoughts on what they might find interesting in it?

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Strange and Lethalish - Thief's Bane

A gelatinous creature. When placed in a pocket or pouch it attaches itself to any hand other than that of the owner. It then proceeds to digest everything but the bones, which it binds to the wrist stump. A Thief's Bane can be removed by soaking the affected limb in Cyteri, which is a combination of Darktainted Liza-grass, Ashen Hunterleaf, and Death's-touch Mushrooms.

Thoughts on Written Expression

I'm working on a separate script for my world.
Here's a few things to set the tone of the language. 1s are straight lines, 0s are dots ---s are splits between symbols.

So if you were creating the next ones what would they look like? Best submissions get posted with credit to the author.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Strange And Lethalish

Similar to Creature Features or Deadly Distractions from Telecanter's Receding Rules, this covers anything that's not really "deadly" as such, but poses a threat, or impedes the characters in some other way. There's going to be a series of these at some point but they'll probably be interspersed with the other posts so don't expect a nice string of them. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving if you care.

House Rule: Quick Character Generation

Make a list of all playable races and classes in your campaign. Then roll for to determine what race and class you are.

For example:

Keserathi: 1
Nilin: 2
Normani: 3
Geesten: 4
Mistam: 5

So you roll: 1. You're a Keserathi. Now time to choose a class.

Disciple: 1
Soldier: 2
Messenger: 3
Priest: 4

And a 2. So you're a Keserathi Soldier.

Be warned, though; this can cause some rather odd characters depending on the system you use it with.

Combat in Hulgren - Part 1: Basic Rules

HP: Health Points, Hit Points, Damage to Death, whatever you want to call them they're a very important of combat in most systems. So how do they work in this?

All characters have some amount of HP. How many is based on Physical Strength. Some Aspects and classes can increase the amount. Now, on to how much damage you can take:

The Relation Between Physical Strength and Hitpoints: For each starting rank of Physical Strength a character gets 5 hitpoints. They gain 2 HP per level per rank of Physical Strength.

Condition Boxes: All characters get two condition boxes at the start of the game. With higher PS and increased level the character gains more of them. Anytime a character is damaged by a weapon with a wound code they mark off a condition box of the correct type.

The first two condition boxes are Light. The next three are Medium. The final five are Serious wounds. Whenever someone has marked off all of their non-serious Condition Boxes they must roll for unconsciousness against their total CB. When they have marked off all of their serious condition boxes they roll for death and go unconscious automatically.

Unconsciousness: What happens to a character when they get knocked out is dependent on what the rest of the party and the enemies do. If the rest of the party chooses to defend them their opponents can't keep attacking the one that's out. If the enemies choose to keep attacking the same person then they can kill him/her by reducing their HP to -10 (this is to give party members a chance to rescue them.).

Death: Barring insta-kill traps and the like, there are only two ways for the characters to die in this world: Using all serious condition boxes, or having their hitpoints reduced to 0. You should also take a look at this and this.

Anyway, let me know what you think.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Settings - Farewell to the Gesradir?

You see, at the start of the blog I said that I wouldn't be using the any of the races from D&D. Thinking about it last night I came to the realization that Gesradir are actually quite similar to Gnolls. Should they stay?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Colowbags and Other Strange Items

Before you ask where I got these from, they were captchas when I was commenting on something else.

Colowbag: A small bag which renders magical substances harmless when stored in it.

Aphorti: A drink that dulls the sense instantly making the mind more receptive to illusions. Usually combined with Marofi.

Marofi: A powdered drug. It has many of the same properties as Aphorti. In addition it is a stimulant.

Nalplays: A hallucinogen. Also a binding agent. Sometimes mixed with Marofi and Aphorti, then dried and cut into bars.

Scedec: Marofi, Aphorti, and Nalplays. The properties of Marofi are enhanced as are those of Aphorti, but the hallucinatory traits of Nalplays are dampened.




Conip: A magical powder. Upon skin contact, it the affected individual or group begins to have hysterics. Inhalation of the powder greatly enhances the properties. Often stored in Colowbags.



Aciner: A small jar which reverses the nullification of a Colowbag.










Redot: A highly acidic drink. Favored by Keserathi.

Deact: A magical liquid. Acts as a depressant.

Cogbi: A magical receptacle. It is made of air with Runeflames in the sides. Increases the potency of magical substances stored within.

Those without an entry are currently unknown. Any thoughts? All things that you come up with

So Who's This For?

Just to clarify (so no-one gets confused because they were expecting a list of people/groups that can use these rules) I mean what kind of player is it set up for. The kind I grew up with. It's designed for the kind of person that, when asked to choose a specific body part to hit on a dragon, (they were super-high level - it was an attempt to balance the game) chooses the nards (doing 250 points of damage, at which time said dragon decides it's not going to put up with this sort of thing, and vacates the land of the living for more favorable realms). And yes that actually happened. They also have a talent for anti-climax. Another true story is that my dad once planted a Wall of Iron in the air above a Naga that was supposed to have been a huge fight. So I'm trying to make sure that they can still do that... But also that the DM doesn't lose all of their control over the game.

Coming next time: Colowbags and Other Strange Items.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Magic Part 4 - The Disciplines

This an updated list of the magical Disciplines. The basic list was first seen in Magic Part 2 - Magical Structure,and is composed of the "Core Disciplines". This list includes all the non-Core and Sub-Disciplines.

Hulgren World-Reacher
Telepathy Flameturning
Telekinesis Earthmoving
Teleportation Stormweaving
Empathic Magic

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Letters Part 1 - Neither Rain, Nor Sleet...

...Nor Strangeness of Names Shall Keep The Commenter From Their Appointed Rounds.

Muntz said: Do you have a map yet?

Dr_Acula let me know S/he couldn't pronounce the names.

And Emlyn Freeman pointed out somewhere I'd forgotten to cite properly.

So in order:

No, I don't have a map yet. I'm sort of working on one but it's not too important to the main story.

I've made a guide to the names. It should be linked to on the side of the blog.

And I've fixed the citation problem.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Magic Part 3 - On the Ramifications of Disciplines

Well I brought up an interesting, but rather problematic point recently. In my post on The Port of Worlds, I decided that the Stormweaver Citadel had intentionally weakened some sort of magical barrier (ala Master of The Five Magics) to such an extent that it can be used for shipping. No problem. It's a simple enough thing, right? The thing is, that I made the point earlier that A. Messengers are Planegating around like crazy. And B. There's the small matter of an entire CITY having been Planegated in. (Yeah, I know, I could get around that one by saying it's built of local materials. But not if I have the whole thing, instead of just the residents slipping.) So, what to do? Well I've been thinking about it some and decided that weight affects it. Small things like Nilin can get through without any problems, but things like carts are hard to Planegate So, how did a city get through? It came through in pieces at the Stormweaver Citadel, and then slipped until it found a good place to settle.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Building The World - Part 4: The Port of Worlds

Welcome back to Port Glisharn. This time we'll be exploring The Port of Worlds, and thinking some about what exactly the Undwellers are.

So what is The Port of Worlds?

  • It's a buffer district in addition to being the trade center, harbor and manufacturing district. Morstis and Resdis (temporary name, standing for Residental District, although it sounds good enough that I'll add it to the poll) are separated from Immigrants Path by it.
  • It's the contact point for the Undweller Kingdoms. There are also a lot of World-Reachers that now use Stormlamp as a Gating point. The Stormweaver Citadel has weakened resistance enough that it can be used to ship goods. Also in case anyone noticed that this seems inconsistent with messengers Planegating, I will be doing more on that later.
  • Many of those that work on and around the docks have been altered in some way by magical seepage from the Undweller Kingdoms.
So what can we get out of that?

Depending on how many experience a particular change there can either be a whole new race, (like the Gesradir), or only a few people. So if you want to make a new race - simple it came out of The Port of Worlds. Same thing if you want to create a new and strange enemy - you don't have to give an explanation as for why he's the only one of his race left, there weren't ever any more of them!

Now all that's nice, but it doesn't tell us much more does it? So on to the rest of it:

Government: The noble houses have more power here than in Immigrant's Path but it's still pretty limited. So, who's filled the gap? No Customary Service to do it here after all. Interestingly enough though the main government isn't even made up of Hulgren - it's the Stormweaver Citadel. They're not great at it, (to quote a Stormweaver proverb "Well, if they can't take care of themselves, they'll get hit by their own lightning"), but they get the job done well enough once they realize something needs to be done. In other words it's a benign tyranny, whose main flaw isn't despotism it's inaction and incompetence. Whether or not that's good thing depends on the circumstances but they mean well, and they try to get things done.

Religion: Religion is mostly a null matter in here; there are Citadel sponsored temples to The Skylord occasionally, but the lack of residents means that most churches don't find it worthwhile to do more that send in a few missionaries every so often.

Culture: Well it's nowhere near as bad as Immigrant's Path - you can walk around here without worrying someone will kill you for a couple of Hespli - but that's about it. You'll still need to be careful so that you don't get robbed. On the plus side the fact that the Stormweaver Citadel sponsors temples means that there are safe places to go every so often; once the thugs learned that each priest is also a fully qualified Stormweaver they decided to leave them alone.

So time to visit the notable locations.

The Pickled Head

Description: Mostly dockworkers here. It tends to be a fairly clannish place at first but you can get past that if you try. Also some of them are taking money from the nobles to pass information about the Stormweavers.

Theme: The distrust for outsiders masks the dangerous undercurrents of dockside politics.

Aspect: Hostility To Others Hides Spies.

Face: Gravthar Grint-Nalmiun - Tough But Fair Lorshki Bartender.

Notes: Lorshki are a one of a kind race. They have gills (and lungs), are covered in a layer of thin scales and have nictating membranes.

Stormweaver Citadel

Description: Below Stormlamp a city floats upon air... Benevolently bemused by the strange customs of our world, the first World-Reachers created the Stormweaver Citadel as an enclave where their own Plane reaches through and manifests itself... Gendren Ehtri, Historian.

Theme: The main meeting point for World-Reachers of all kinds.

Aspect: Many Planes In One.

Face: Shorvin Tu'Qarn - Master Stormweaver With Things To Do.

Miscellaneous Temple of The Skylord

Description: A temple of the Skylord. Not much else to say, except that they're safe.

Theme: The Skypriests offer safe haven to all who need it. As long as you keep the laws, that is.

Aspect: Safe Shelter In Chaos.

Face: Temple Highpriest - Varied Aspects.

Enjoy your stay here in The Port of Worlds, but use the time to brush up on your dipplomacy. We're going to Morstis next time.

Building The World - Part 3: Immigrants Path

Now we have an overview of the country, and more importantly one of the city, allowing you to give a rough description of the surroundings based on what part of Port Glisharn you're in, but that doesn't really help if you want to go to the Pickled Head in The Port of Worlds, does it?

So let's take a look at what we know about Immigrants Path.

  • It's the only way into the city unless you use magic, although it might, be possible to scale Stormlamp and enter the city by way of the Stormweavers Citadel.
  • It's also responsible for customs in both directions - which in Port Glisharn is a slow process; a good Lightkeeper can create all sorts of illusions, as can a skilled telepath, while a talented Empath can make you believe that you love/know them/are trustworthy and their goods don't have to be searched at all. So customs can be... Tedious. If there are enough people the control over at least one will slip given time, so it can be a long wait. As a result there can be nearly anything waiting to be passed in a storeroom if given time.
  • It's the poor district.
Not a lot to go on, but it's better than nothing. What can we infer from it?
  • The population is composed mostly of Vergers, Nilin, Keserathi and Gesradir, mostly working either in The Port of Worlds, or as cargo haulers for the Customary Service. There are a few of the poorest Undwellers, but they aren't really welcomed by the surrounding community.
  • The Customary Service will be mostly run by the high-class Undwellers, Geesten and Normani.
  • Will the magical seepage from those few Undwellings that are here (mostly inhabited by mages unlike the ones in Morstis) be enough to cause changes? No answer as of yet but it's interesting to think about the effect it would have - especially on those that have already had changes occur, such as the Gesradir who were one the Normani crews of ships that entered the Undweller Kingdoms, or those that aren't from this world at all.
Religion: Due to the lack of any temples it is difficult to be sure of what religion pervades here. It can be assumed however that the World-Reachers and Undwellers have different religions, for most part than the Hulgren that live here.

Government: The Customary Service is the direct government here; although they accept orders from the noble families they don't ask for them.

Culture: Think of real cities. You know how some of them can be really nice in most spot but there are places you just don't go? Well most of Immigrants Path is that way - basically if it isn't directly patrolled by the Customary Service it's a bad idea to go poking around in it.

Now let's take a look at some places within the district:

Jolenta's Den

Description: Gesradir whorehouse catering to anyone with the Haspli.

Theme: Whatever you want you can get - so long as what you want is a Gesradir.

Aspect: Assumed nature hides fierce loyalty.

Face: Jolenta Greffthli - Gesradir Madam Whose Bite is Far Worse than Her Bark.

The Darkhouse

Description: An upper class (for Immigrants Path) brothel. Caters to travelers and Customary Service officials. After new owners acquired the building, they have gradually transitioned to Keserathi, (hence the name) as customers are intrigued by their slight transparency.

: Watch your back in The Darkhouse. One of the people inside is a slave and has taken to killing customers.

Aspect: Exotic Pleasures Hide Murder

Face: Seenta M'Anyal - Keserithi Madam Not Above Her Own Trade

Registrar's Office

Description: All travelers to Port Glisharn must receive a pass to get beyond Immigrants Path. The Registrar's Office is the place that dispenses them.

Threat: Keep quiet if you enter Port Glisharn during the day - Mardin Kivani may be full of himself but he can still stop you from ever getting into the city.

Aspect: Good Man Held Back By A Pompous Fool.

Faces: Mardin Kivani - Normani Bureaucrat With An Inflated Ego and Litrin Vender - Friendly But Discouraged Geesten Petty Official Who Fears His Ambitions Will Never Be Met

Morni's Pit

Description: The best smithy in Immigrants Path, Morni's Pit is where most travelers go to buy repairs or equipment.

Threat: While her shop offers the acceptable services there are rumors of shadowy deals with the Hruskliir family.

A Respectable Shop Fronts Illegal Business

Face: Morni Kilmarn - Nilin Smith Who Gives A Fair Price

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Building The World - Part 2: Port Glisharn

Port Glisharn, has several sections - the most notable being Immigrants Path, The Port of Worlds, Morstis and Stormlamp. In this post we're going look at what their roles are. Also please remember that the entire city is underground including the port.

Immigrants Path: All who seek entry to city by non-magical means must enter here. It's the residential district for the lower classes. Customs also resides here, so at any time there can be very nearly anything in the multitude of storerooms.

The Port of Worlds: The trade district and harbor. Also the main center of contact with Undwellers. Has a large population of World-Reachers attracted by the shielding against slip provided by the warded caves.

And, Morstis: The noble's part of town. Undwellers, World-Reachers and Hulgren all coexist here under the rule of the Ehtri family.

Building The World - Part 1: An Overview

Well, so far I've been focusing mostly on Archetypes and Magic. Important as they are, they don't function without some place for to work in. As such let's take a look at the main area of the Hulgren Octumvirate.

Port Glisharn: The Ethtri family's one-eight-capital. Also the main city for trade with the World-Reachers and Undwellers.

Various Glaciers, Reefs, Infernos, Shadows, Sunkeeps, Cyclones and Undwellings. Each is ruled by a Disciple of the applicable Discipline. So a Darkturner has a Shadow, a Stormweaver has a Cyclone, an Iceweaver has a Glacier, a Seaweaver commands a Reef. Undwellings are the homes of Undwellers, who will be expanded upon at a later date.

Histrin: A World-Reacher outpost. Current location is unknown due to a failure of the Slipholding that kept it in one place.

Well now we've got a missing city that's hopping around at random, a new group of races, a whole bunch of varied locations, and a one-eight-capital. That should be enough for a while.

Coming soon: Building The World - Part 2: Port Glisharn.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Sample Character

Well I'm going to make a character based on the Disciple Archetype so that it's clear what you would do as far as phases and everything.

Name: Akren Dushti.

Race: Halfbreed (Nilin-Kaserathi).

Akren Dushti w
as born in the shadows of Port Glisharn, to a Nilin and a Kaserathi. From a young age he showed a talent for Flameturning. Upon coming of age to leave the shielded caverns, he began to learn his ancestral magic of Darkturning.

Aspects: Affinity for Flameturning, Shadowborn. Bonus Aspect: Firebrand.

As he went further into his chosen course of study however, he left his friends far behind in the slums of Immigrants Path. He mastered Darkturning quickly, but the process changed him. What he witnessed gave him a strong sense of justice in addition to the more negative effects of the experience. However...

Aspects: Regrets leaving friends behind, Strong sense of justice. Bonus Aspect: Tainted by Darkness

Soon after he mastered Darkturning he had an encounter with someone named Mistkri Jrane.
She quickly used her Empathic powers to seduce him. Jrane eventually gained such control over him that she was able to force Akren to destroy a small town named Gistver's Way. He soon realized that the people he had slaughtered had done nothing worse than shun a petty thief but it was too late to undo his actions. Jrane fled upon receiving word that he had learned the truth of her orders. He has told no-one of what he did but it haunts him to this day, and he hunts for her constantly.

Aspects:Distrust of empathy, Guilt over slaughtering a village forces him to hunt Mistki Jrane.

Well that's all for now! I don't have any other players so I can't do the guest stars.

You know what I'll take a stab at it anyway. I'm stupid like that.

His search was soon interrupted by a chance meeting with Lishtri Mornal, who was engaged in a losing battle to protect Velgeen Narshir from the mad Earthmover, Gornishi Traklan. He was forced to make a difficult decision however as her companion was an Empath. In the end his strong sense of justice and the information she promised swayed him to her side. His assistance was crucial in defeating Traklan and the three parted ways amicably after she provided him with a critical clue as to the whereabout of Jrane.

Aspects: Able to work with those he distrusts if not doing so will be a gross injustice, Loves Lishtri Mornal.

While he was investigating the information he received from Mornal he entered the Reef of the powerful Seaweaver Rasid Morka, believing it to be a natural lake-shore. He escaped with the help of Kintris Salnir, and agreed to train him in the basics of Darkturning.

Aspects: Fear of drowning, Distrust of Seaweaving and Seaweavers, especially Rasid Morka.

All Aspects: Affinity for Flameturning, Shadowborn, Regrets leaving friends behind, Strong sense of justice, Distrust of empathy, Guilt over slaughtering a village forces him to hunt Mistki Jrane, Fear of drowning, Distrust of Seaweaving and Seaweavers, especially Rasid Morka. Bonus Aspects: Firebrand, Tainted by Darkness.

Skills: Superb: Lore, Stealth (Added by Shadowborn). Great: Close Combat, Learning. Good: Ranged Combat, Ride, Deceit. Fair: Athletics, Burglary, Pickpocketing, Survival, Average: Sleight of Hand, Gambling, Survival, Resolve, Alertness.

Stunts: Fair Flameturning (Added by Affinity), Great Flameturning, Fantastic Flameturning. Fair Darkturning (Added by Shadowborn, which mimics an affinity in some respects), Great Darkturning, Fantastic Darkturning. Fair Teleportation (Mimics the natural ability of Vergers), Fair Summoning.

Archetypes of Hulgren, Part 3 - The Things Themselves

Here's a couple of Archetypes to start with. I'll update this as I come up with more.

Remember that for each Discipline any character uses, they gain an extra Aspect showing how it has influenced them. How much this Aspect affects them ranges from mildly (one stunt spent) to being a significant personality trait (three or more stunts spent).

Disciple: Equivalent to the Mage in D&D.

Basic "builds" are: World-Reacher (Flameturner, Earthmover) and Hulgren (Empath, Summoner) They're fairly self explanatory given the way magic works in this.

Soldier: Someone trained to fight, likely by the military.

Builds: Dabbler, (Weapon)master.
The (Weapon) portion of (Weapon)master is chosen by the player. So you could have a Bowmaster, an Axemaster, a Swordmaster, or any other weapon of the appropriate technology level.
The Hulgren/World-Reacher split applies again, to some degree but only if you use a Dabbler. For example a World-Reacher Dabbler might grab a Fair Flameturning, but a Hulgren of the same Archetype might choose to have a Fair Teleportation.

Messenger: Whether magical or physical a Messenger gets the job done if at all possible.

Builds: Teleporter (Hulgren), Planegater (World-Reacher), Runner (Any), Equestrian Messenger (Any).

A Planegater shifts into another dimension, then back to change locations. This is almost instantaneous, although there can sometimes be problems with doing so, such as getting ambushed by the residents of the plane.

Archetypes of Hulgren, Part 2 - Of Phases

"[All in quotes is from the CoL blog, (actually named Realmcrafting)]In short, phases are a method for laying out a character's past in a clear and mechanically useful fashion. For each phase, a player writes a few sentences about their character's history, covering a particular period in their life. In every Fate game so far, there are five phases as a default. Their names and precise function vary from game to game, but essentially look like this:
Phase 1: Background and Youth
Detail where the character came from, what their childhood was like, what inborn talents and deeply-ingrained beliefs they have.
Phase 2: Becoming an Adult
Detail how the character started "coming into their own," how they began the occupation detailed in their Archetype, what lessons they learned in late adolescence and early adulthood.
Phase 3: The First Adventure
The first truly exciting moment for the character, what thrust them into the adventurous lifestyle they will play during the game proper. The player is encouraged to write the events of this phase in the style of the game: Spirit of the Century as the blurb on the back of a pulp novel, Starblazer Adventures as a comic book synopsis," this game as a journal entry, or text in a biography.

"Phase 4: First Guest Star
The character takes part in another PC's First Adventure phase, establishing a history between the two characters.
Phase 5: Second Guest Star
Same as Phase 4, but in a second PC's First Adventure.
[note that this means that two other PCs will guest star int his character's First Adventure].

The phases serve three purposes:

  1. To lay out a character's history, to make sure every player knows their PC and where they came from.
  2. To establish a shared background between PCs, so that during play they will have both interesting interactions and reason to stay together.
  3. To help establish Aspects...
As you will recall, Aspects are physical or mental characteristics of a character that help define who they are. Logically, anything that defines a person must have arisen at some point in their life -- at birth, if biological; in childhood or adolescence, if a personality trait; in adulthood, if a trauma or deeply-held belief. Thus, phases are a tool for helping a player determine their Aspects.

In Spirit of the Century, Diaspora, Starblazer Adventures, and Legends of Anglerre (the newest Fate-based product, a generic-fantasy game with the same ruleset as Starblazer Adventures), each phase has two associated Aspects, for a total of ten; in The Dresden Files RPG, each phase gives only one Aspect, while two Aspects are unassociated with phases."

Edit: Thanks for pointing out that I hadn't cited this properly. I have a tendency to work on posts over multiple day (and late at night) so it can sometimes be hard to remember that I used a description from there.

Magic Part 2 - Magical Structure

In Hulgren there are two types of magic, each practiced by the group that they're named for. So to use the races that already exist, a Nilin would use World-Reacher magic, while a Verger would use Mindmagic. This isn't to say that a World-Reacher couldn't learn Mindmagic or the other way around but it would be more difficult.

Anyway on to the actual gameplay elements.

"The DFRPG magic is based around two Skills: Conviction, representing force of will, which determines how much power a wizard can summon up as well as resisting mental stress; and Discipline, representing, well discipline, which determines how much power a wizard can control, as well as controlling emotion, resisting interrogation, etc."

However I felt that some things didn't fit Discipline very well. As such some of them (like Empathy) have other skills controlling them.

"[Note: Taken from the CoL blog, hence the orig. craft/crafter tags further in. I changed it to my world so that people don't get confused] The Dresden Files RPG is designed to be low fantasy: living in a hidden world beneath our own, wizards of major power are not only rare, but almost unique. This is reflected in its rule system: for each stunt a DFRPG character takes, their maximum Fate Point total goes down by one, with a maximum of 9 stunts, leaving only one Fate Point left to influence the world. A DFRPG wizard has to spend seven stunts on their magic, reflecting that it takes up most of their life, and that they will never be able to throw around magic like a D&D spellcaster." "Additionally, I didn't like the mechanics of stunts costing multiple slots, as the wizarding abilities in DFRPG do -- so, I radically reduced the cost of things. Instead of a 4-stunt power of Thaumaturgy and 3-stunt Sorcery, I simplified it down to one stunt per Discipline [orig. Craft], with the additional cost of an Aspect related to how that mystical energy changes how the Disciple [orig. Crafter] sees the world."

However the characters became over powered and took uneeded magic. Fortunately one of the people that played CoL came with this:

"Instead of determining how much power a Crafter can summon by Conviction (as in DFRPG) or one of the various Control Skills (as established last time), one stunt allows a Crafter to summon two degrees of power, or Fair (+2) on the ladder.

Suddenly, there is a definitive difference between a dabbler and a serious Disciple [orig. Crafter]. A soldier who wants to fling a little flame can spend a single stunt on Fair Flameturning [orig. Flameshaping], giving them the ability to summon Fair (+2) power -- and a full-time elementalist is going to buy Fair Flameturning [orig. Flameshaping], then Great Flameturning [orig. Flameshaping], and then Fantastic Flameturning [orig. Flameshaping], allowing them to summon Fantastic (+6) power, or six degrees."

Certain tasks also require the use of Energy. Energy is determined by the how many "ranks" in the Discipline you're trying use you have. Therefore if you have Fair Stormweaving and Fantastic Earthmoving, you have ten Energy if you're trying to use Stormweaving, but thirty if you use Earthmoving. Affinities add ten Energy to the base amount for the skill and its closest parallel. Energy is required only in combat or some other highly stressful and/or timed scenario, and regenerates at a rate of one point every two minutes. To clarify: in the same way that a die roll isn't needed to ride a horse through an open field (unless you are running from someone/something) but do need one to participate in a horse race, it is assumed that unless there is a plausible reason you need to worry about you Energy the task does not require so much, at any one time, that you will run out. The GM should still keep track of the amount of Energy that a character uses when performing even a simple magical task, however - this could be important if something happens. In addition to Energy certain things will require a success test (not physical combat. That's dealt with by any resistances enemies have) To illustrate: Jeenla Nimri is using her skill at Lightkeeping ("Great") to entertain several (five) people, by creating illusions. When she first begins she must make a success test against their Learning (With "Superb" requiring a +6 down to "Mediocre" which requires a +1 or better.) She rolls a +5 against the first person, easily overwhelming his "Average" score. So he sees "Horses of fire, cantering about each other in the air." Energy used: one point every ten minutes. If she had used those shifts (shift = extra affect for each + above what you need) to "piggyback" sound (from Stormweaving) and heat (from Flameturning) it would have cost her three points every ten minutes. Next she rolls a +6 barely scraping by against the scholar's natural tendency to skepticism. Energy cost: 2 points every ten minutes. Then she rolls a +2, failing to impress the images on the mind of the third person. Energy cost: one point for the attempt. After that she takes a shot at doing two people at once since they both look like they're getting ready to walk out. She rolls a +6. Barely enough but it works (they each have an "Average" Learning which is a +4 or better for both at once, plus two points because it's harder to get through to more than one person at a time.) Energy cost: four points every 10 minutes.

If a World-Reacher tries to learn something from the Hulgren group of magic it costs them two stunts unless they have an affinity. With an affinity it only costs one stunt. What's an affinity? Some races, Archetypes or individuals will have an affinity for certain types of magic. For example Vergers have an affinity for Teleportation. This not only grants them a single "rank" in that group, they have an easier time mastering spells in the group that most closely parallels it. So a Verger has an easier time mastering Air than someone with a different affinity, or no affinity. But those with an affinity have a harder time learning the opposite group (it costs them two stunts). Of course the Hulgren/World-Reacher distinction doesn't apply to everyone. Someone who's half World-Reacher and half Hulgren only has to spend one stunt on any of the Disciplines.

This is a "map" of the magical Disciplines [Later note: This list includes only the Core Disciplines. Those opposite each other are the closest parallel to each other.
Empathic Magic...............Sea/Iceweaving

This is a "map" of groups that are opposites. As such those with an affinity for one have a harder time learning a group on the other side of the "map".


World Reacher............World-Reacher


Edit: Sorry about the periods. I have to use them as spacers or the formatting messes up.

Update: Remember that any Discipline gives you a bonus trait, reflecting the fact that magic changes you as you use it.

Archetypes of Hulgren Part 1 - Skills

In Fate you can make your character specialize in anything you want - or simply give him or her a bunch of skills and stunts you think look cool. So you aren't stuck being a Mage, or a Soldier - you can play a mix of both without problems. Other than that if you mix them you have more trouble than a regular Soldier would due to the complexities of mastering combat (Most games would have the other way. In Hulgren magic is easy.)

So now on to the skills you can choose.

(The skill list from Spirit of the Century. Any changes I make will be covered below it.)
  • Academics
  • Alertness
  • Art
  • Athletics
  • Burglary
  • Contacting
  • Deceit
  • Drive
  • Empathy
  • Endurance
  • Engineering
  • Fists
  • Gambling
  • Guns
  • Intimidation
  • Investigation
  • Leadership
  • Might
  • Mysteries
  • Pilot
  • Rapport
  • Resolve
  • Science
  • Sleight of Hand
  • Stealth
  • Survival
  • Weapons
Fists and Weapons: "Fists" is in this case unarmed. But this is high fantasy and as such usually people will have some sort of weapon, whether that's a sword or a chair leg. So they get mashed up together and called "Close Combat" which includes unarmed for anyone that wants to use it. However the Fate ruleset still allows certain races and/or classes to have bonuses to unarmed fighting, through the use of a Bonus Aspect that adds to Close Combat if you aren't using a weapon.

Academics : This can be renamed Learning, (I.E. knowledge of mathematics, geography, geology, astronomy, anatomy and medicine) to reflect that it isn't quite the formal education we're used to seeing.

and Mysteries: Science can be turned into Alchemy, which is basically low-level chemistry, with the addition that most of the things actually work since magic exists here. Since "Mysteries" was originally things like hypnotism and Far East herbalism etc. that don't apply here, it gets changed to Summoning, and is knowledge of the other dimensions and how to magically pull their inhabitants here, as well as keeping them from suffering "slip" and controling them. The two come together under the name of Lore which is essentially the magical counterpart of Learning.

Guns: Since guns don't exist in this world (the technology level is too low) this gets changed to Ranged Combat.

Drive: This can be changed to Ride and breakdowns/repair checks turned into things like the horse losing a shoe or shoes or injuring its leg(s). As such this includes basic veterinary skills.

Endurance and Might: These can be merged under the heading Physical Strength. Therefore a character with a "Superb" in Physical Strength can take more of a beating and do more damage.

Anyway that's all for now. I'll get back to this with any other changes that need doing later on.

Magic Part 1 - Magic by the Numbers

Please note that rather than create my own explanation of the DFRGP system I grabbed the description used on the CoL blog, since it's a concise and clear description of it.

"When casting a spell, a wizard in DFRPG chooses how much power to summon up, chooses one of a couple simple mechanical effects (Attack, Block, Counterspell, or Maneuver - which places a temporary Aspect on the target), the element it's associated with, and rolls their Discipline to see if they successfully control the amount of power they summon.

For more complex spell,s what DFRPG calls Thaumaturgy, the wizard has to take their time, invoking Aspects, adding ingredients, taking Consequences (a type of purely negative Aspect usually suffered in combat), or actually sitting out of play while they cast the incantation. A bit more complicated for the players, but still manageable."

In any case I need to look at what works. So since I don't have a gaming group as of yet I'll try to figure out how to make things work without one but in the meantime I need to make some Archetypes.

So coming soon to A Toe's Perspective... Archetypes of Hulgren!

Races in Hulgren

Races in this portion of the world (known as the Hulgren Ocumvirate) aren't exactly the standard D&D fare of halflings, elves, orcs, goblins and dwarves. Let's take a look at some of them:


"Normals" are standard residents of the dimension in which Hulgren is located. This means they don't "slip" or have any of the other problems of "World-Reachers".

Verger: Basically human in appearance, but with scaled skin. They also have nictating membranes below their eyelids. Vergers can become ethereal for short time periods and can teleport 30 feet in any direction. For example Kida (Keyed-a) wants to get to a ledge roughly 60 feet up. He has to make at least two "jumps", of at most thirty feet. Now some of you may wonder if he can just jump to a point of the right height in the air. Short answer: No. Long answer: Well first he'll start to fall as soon as he arrives so he won't actually be in range. But he's a Verger so, in theory, he could just go ethereal, at which point gravity ceases to have any effect since it can't pull on something that's not there. But that won't work either - Vergers have to have a solid reference point, so when they're without one (such as when they're in the air) teleportation is impossible.

Now let's assume that Kida wants to get to a ledge 15 feet behind him and 20 feet to the left of him. It could be (argues the person playing Kida) that the thirty foot restriction only applies to each direction. In other words that Kida can get there in one jump because it isn't thirty feet in any one direction, and the previous distance doesn't matter when he turns. But it doesn't work that way. 30 feet per jump, calculated by total distance of said jump is the rule in this game.

Kaserathi: Slightly transparent, like living shadows, the Kaserathi blend with darkness. They have an affinity for Darkturning.

Normani: Normani tend to occupy higher social positions than the other races. They are equivalent to Humans.

Gesradir: The Gesradir are one of the more tragic consequences of the strong magic seeping into The Port of Worlds out of the Undweller Kingdoms. Similar to a Normani, but with a more dog-like snout, and a thick covering of fur. Basically they're somewhat like a dog version of the Rahk from the Coldfire books.


All World-Reachers "slip" uncontrollably at random times. The range of this "slipping" can be anywhere from several hundred miles to a few inches. This is caused by their native dimension calling them back to it. This can be prevented by wearing a Charm. They have an affinity for Flameturning.

Nilin: Grey-black to dead white in color, their skin is without pores leading them to appear as though they are covered in rubber.

Geesten: Brown skin, pointed ears, a long tail, and waist-level height mark the Geesten. They are also adept at a special variety of magic, known as Wandweaving.

Coming soon: Magic.

The Fate Ruleset With a Healthy Dose of DFRPG

Fudge Dice and the Ladder

All task resolution in Fate is done with Fudge dice (named after the Fudge free universal RPG system). They are six-sided dice with two "+" sides, two "-" sides, and two blank sides. You always roll four of them (4dF), allowing for a result of -4 to +4, with distribution heavily weighted toward a result in the middle (-1, 0, or +1)

Almost everything in the game world can be described with an adjective and a matching number, ranging from Terrible (-2) to Legendary (+8). Roll the dice, compare the result to the ladder, and you can see how well an action succeeded.

Since I don't have Fudge dice, but do have plenty of dice left over from D&D, I'll be using d6, with the top two numbers +, the bottom two -, and the middle two blank.

Skills, Aspects, and Stunts

Characters in Fate have three important features: Skills, Aspects, and Stunts.

Skills are anything a character is good at, whether learned or inherent. The Skill list varies based on the needs of the setting: Hulgren includes the majority of the Skills in the Fate ruleset. More on those later.

Where Skills tell what a character can do, Aspects tell who they are: personality traits, points of view, quotes, important people and important objects are all types of Aspects. They are a roleplaying guide to the player, a guide to the GM as to what to include in the campaign, and can temporarily improve a character's skills when they're doing something important and in their nature.

Stunts are little ways to get around the rules, representing special training or equipment: a +2 bonus to Athletics to run fast (and only to run fast); the ability to spot a liar with Deceit rather than the usual Empathy; a sword enchanted to be harder and sharper; etc.

Fate Points

Last, but not least of the core mechanics: Fate Points. Fate Points represent luck, opportunity, or the hand of fate, depending on how you look at it. They power Aspects, certain Stunts, and...

Magic, which I'll explore in another post.

Why? And What is this?

Well I've been working on making a gameworld for a while now. I decided to create a blog for it after reading this.

Anyway on to the world itself. It's a fantasy game, as it seems easier, and less likely that I'll simply end up with a clone of something that already exists. I'm planning on using the Fate ruleset (this will be elaborated on later) with a modified Dresden Files RPG magic system since it seems to be a, simple elegant ruleset on both counts. Yes I know that this is the same basic ruleset used by City of Lives (the setting on the other blog, for those who didn't click the link) but it's a good one as I said. Besides I'm not simply stealing the magic system from CoL (this will be elaborated on in another post) It includes some of the same things but only when they're common concepts like Fire, Water Earth and Air, being used for elemental magic.