Thursday, November 3, 2011
Our Council of Sages, after extensive and dangerous investigation, has at last solved the riddle. The giant beasts are not members of giant animal species that can be eradicated. Rather, they are the result of some sort of natural process which turns normal animals into giants!
This process, this giantism mutation, appears to be most associated with areas of high mana concentration, such as tall mountains, powerful rivers, natural springs, and cave openings. Beasts in those areas are born to normal-sized parents, but due to some magical enhancement, undergo a spectacular growth rate which vaults them to giant-status by the time they mature.
Giantism in Humans
It has been previously assumed that giantism in humans was related to the dark arts or dealings with demons. Many a witch has been burned at the stake when her child evidenced giantism. The Sages now recommend that the Trial by Burning sentence be considered non-mandatory in these cases, allowing the mothers of such children the opportunity to defend themselves in court before being wed to the Burning Man.
Origins of Giant Races
The Sages have even determined that the different mana sources produce different effects in the humans affected with giantism:
- the mana of the river waters produces the race of Storm Giants
- the mana of the volcano fields produces the black race of Fire Giants
- the mana of the underground caverns produces the race of Hill Giants
- the mana of the high mountains is more variable, producing either Stone or Cloud Giants.
As few adult females are ever seen among the Giants, perhaps boys are more prone to giantism then girls. Or perhaps the young human females who are cast out of their homes, when their parents see the giantism at work, are simply less able to survive into adulthood. At any rate, this discovery helps explain why no babies are ever seen among the Giants.
The Rise & Fall of Giant Hordes
This discovery also helps explain the rapid rise and fall of giant hordes, as well as their general state of primitive culture. Giant culture is primitive because all of them are essentially orphaned children, cast out of their homes and villages at a young age (the few that somehow escape the mandatory penalties, that is). As adults giants are unable to produce their own offspring, there is little continuation of culture among them.
Giant hordes tend to rise and fall as people move into areas with high mana. It is an odd twist of fate that these hordes, which usually end up destroying those advanced human settlements, are actually the children of the would-be settlers.
The dynamic goes something like this: after a generation or two of settlement, enough giants arise to be able to destroy the settlement. The lack of settlement leads to a lack of giants, allowing a later generation to attempt to settle the magically-rich area.
The lesson is clear, and has been emphasized by the Council of Sages: the mandatory sentence that falls upon children with giantism must be enforced with renewed vigor! Only when children with giantism are fully eliminated will human settlement in mana-rich regions be secured.
Friday, October 28, 2011
However, magic also streams upward from below. Vocanoes and natural springs, as everyone knows, are locations of powerful magic. Items that have their origins in the earth often retain powerful magical properties, such as crystals and, of course, gold.
The Magical Properties of Gold
The obsessive attraction exerted by gold upon magical creatures is well-known, and of course, felt by humans as well to a certain degree.
Dragons are the most notorious hoarders of gold, jewels, and gems. The possession of these magically-potent items appears to be connected with the longetivity of those magical beasts.
Some have speculated that dragons consume the treasures as food, but this idea is contradicted by the fact that dragon hoards never seem to shrink, only grow. The well-attested observation of dragons swallowing piles of gold seems to be explained as the method by which the dragon carries the treasure back to its lair. Presumably the treasure is regurgitated bird-style into the dragon's hoard, although this has not been observed (by anyone who lived to tell of it) to this point....
The Hoard of the Goblin King
The lure of gold upon the subterrainean goblinoids is also well known, most legendarily in the case of the hoard of the goblin king. Goblins who lair amidst the piles of gold appear to grow large and strong, perhaps owing to the magical properties of the magic-charged gold itself. The gold also appears to be used in their mating practices, as the significant presence of gold in their breeding pens attests.
The Minotaur Lords of Bullhead City
The shifting labyrynths of Bullhead City are reported to be awash in gold. The multitude of aggressive and powerful minotaur who constantly struggle for dominance there, however, has precluded much investigation.
It has been noted, however, that minotaur encountered in the wilds can be distracted and/or diverted by the surrender of bags of gold. Examination of human victims of minotaur attacks indicates that the bullmen have no interest in humans as a food source, only as a source of wealth.
The Secrets of the Dwarven Mines
As everyone knows, the Dwarven Mines are rich in two items: gold and magic weapons. How the dwarves produce magic weapons has long been a mystery, as they show no aptitude for magical ability in any other sphere.
It is suspected that the dwarfs somehow harness great magical power from the gold (and other magic susbstances) as they harvest it from the rocks in their deep caverns. This magical over-exposure may account for madness that overcomes those few humans who attempt deep delves into the Dwarven Mines. The hearty natural anti-magical resistance of the Dwarfs seem to shield them from the ill-effects associated with repeated exposure to these high concentrations of magical power.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Getting into it, I think we were a bit put off due to all the foreign vocabulary and never really used much from it. I think the reason it never took off, more than anything else, was that it was designed to be its own campaign world, it was not really well suited to plug-n-play into the regular D&D world.
However, re-reading it as an adult, I am really appreciating it for its amazing creativity and thoughtfulness. I do not intend to run a "oriental-only" campaign, but I have thought of some cool ways of incorporating it into my campaign milieu.
Integration into AZ Adventures
The premise of AZ Adventures is a dawn-of-civ frontier-type scenario, in which multiple colonizing groups are converging in AZ, struggling for dominance. I had previously postulated that a group of "Asya monks" had set up a monastery nearby Sin City (see here http://oldschoolpsionics.blogspot.com/2010/12/asya-monks-of-arizona-overview.html). I am going to run with that idea and expand it further: In fact, the monks are just one aspect of another major colonizing group (the Asya) approaching from the northwest.
Aside from being an Asya population center, Sin City will be run by Yakuza gangsters clans! Reading the description of Yakuza, it is as if they were perfectly designed to run the place. The text even says Yakuza come with 3 proficiency slots, one of which is automatically GAMING. Ha!
And, yes -- NINJAS! Ninjas will definitely be part of the Sin City experience. They are basically Thief Acrobats with the ability to Assassinate, but they have to maintain secret identities, going by night as Ninjas but by day as something else. Special Ninja powers include walking on water, and, at a high level, passing through walls!
Presiding of Sin City on the "official and public" level, will be one noble clan, with the family leader (Daimyo) and crew of Samurai. While they function as the public face of the city, they are not, however, the true rulers of the city, which is controlled by the Yakuza clans. Lots of intrigue, plot lines, and adventure hooks to be explored there.
The Shukenja are the religious priestly-monk types, close in kind to Clerics. They have one temple in Sin City itself.
The Sohei are the warrior-priest monks, essentially like Paladins, great fighters who are able to cast cleric spells at a high level. They live with the Shukenja.
Wu-jen are powerful spell-casters, but they are more like wild shamans than civilized magic users, and they do not live in the city. Their spell abilities are like a combination of Magic User/Illusionist/Druid.
The Bushi are the low-class common fighters of the city, and the Kensai are the "sword-obsessed" martial artists. While PCs might run into a gang of bushi who would attempt to beat them up and rob them, an encounter with a Kensai would be a challenge to a one-on-one duel, like a shootout on a Wild West street....
All in all, as you can tell, Sin City would be a very fun place to adventure in.
Asya Colonizing Pressures
As a colonizing group, the Asya would be pressing in two directions: southward down the Colorodo River and eastward across Rt.666. A conflict point with the Arya would be in the river-side trade town at Blythe. Conflict with the Derjuden would be focused along the northern roads, as they Yakuza tried to move into control of the trade routes.
The Wu-jen would be naturally friendly with the shamans of the Dineh, and unfriendly towards the Druids of the Arya. Perhaps some Monmore missionaries would be present in Sin City, but not much direct contact between those groups would be evident, as they are on opposite sides of the state.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
"Various devices for seeing at a distance (such as crystal balls, various scrying devices such as dishes or pans of water or mirrors, and spells such as clairaudience) are DETECTABLE."
The astral nature of remote viewing
The explanation for this potential detectability is the fact that they scrying device is a form of assisted astral travel. The astral spirit of the remote viewer actually goes to the location being viewed. That is why someone viewing a scrying device goes into a trance while viewing, as their spirit is actually undergoing astral travel, their conscious mind cannot be with their physical body.
Countering the Scrying Attempt
If the creature being observed is a magical creature/spell user/psionic, it has a change of realising that he is being observed.
Detection of Invisibility Table, pg.59 of the DMG
As per the DMG, if the creature realizes he is being observed, he can cast a darkness or a dispel magic upon the spot of observation (described in the DMG as a "small disturbance in the air caused by the magical viewing"), which is the location of the remote viewer's astral body.
Vulnerability to astral attack
If the creature being observed, or anyone at the remote viewing location, has psionic powers or the ability to see into the astral plane, the remote viewer would also subject to psionic attack. Attempts at "soul capture", such as a magic jar, could be conceivable as well....
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
--Perhaps DreamLand is defined by a movie, or a book!
Saturday, April 30, 2011
The astral plane is the spiritual counterpart of the material world. It is, literally speaking, "the spirit realm". It touches the material world at all points, being co-terminus with it, but on a different "wavelength".
Friday, April 29, 2011
A race of evil, genius, psionic, demon-worshiping, jungle-dwelling snake-men... Win! Hard to beat that for a nice villain for fantasy high adventure.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Floating balls of pure energy and anti-energy, that is what we are talking about here. The idea is definitely more sci-fi-fantasy than traditional fantasy.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
I don't care what anybody says, this is a cool monster. Alright, admittedly, I think the problem is the picture. Some kind of weird flying duck, not exactly epic, yeah, I get that.
But when you consider this thing as an example of a creative, fun, and frankly HORRIFIC monster to throw at your players, well, it is hard to beat. If the duck-image throws you off, just change it so it looks like some bad-ass little demon-looking thing. It doesn't matter what it looks like, it is invisible in the ethereal state anyway.
--Imagine your spells just being eaten in midair... Could be a real disaster in the middle of a battle...
--Then, your head starts to get woozy and you go all glassy eyed as this thing starts feeding on your mental energy...
If you can turn ethereal, you can just wack these things to death (since they have AC 9 and no physical attacks). But if you can't turn ethereal, you could be in for a real rough time.
It has an emaciated look because, like the Githyanki, it is a physical being which spends most of its time in an ethereal state. Like the undead (and probably the Githyanki to a limited degree), it eats the spirit energy of living creatures.
Any psionic or psionic-like powers attract their attention. It will consume psionic and magical power first, and feed directly on someone's INT points if it doesn't get enough psionics or psionic-like magic energy
--Psionic-like magic is considered 5 psionic points per spell level;
-- 1 INT point equals 10 psionic points.
-- it will need to eat 101-200 psionic points before it breaks of its attack (10-20 INT points, yikes!)
You definitely want to add these nasties to your encounter tables, even if you don't have psionics per se, because they are attracted to the psionic-like magic too.
Psionic ability: nil
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
3x per day:
1x per day:
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Psionic Warrior Class
Ability Restrictions, Experience Points, and Hit Points
As in the old school 1e, the prime traits of the Psionic are INT, WIS, and CHA. In order to progress down the path of the Psionic Warrior, the PC must start with minimum scores of 13 in each of those traits, with a 16 in at least one of them.
Due to his regular training in the psionic discipline of Body Weaponry, the Psionic progresses physically and martially on the same pace as the Cleric class (gaining 1d8 HP per level, and using the Cleric combat table).
However, the exacting nature of his studies means that the Psionic Warrior uses the Magic User XP table for advancement, and acquires weapon proficiencies at the same rate as Magic Users (1 per five levels)
Armor & Weapons
For hand-to-hand melee combat, the Psionic Warrior is required to rely on his Body Weaponry discipline (i.e., no melee weapons).
Psionic Warriors are allowed to use light missile weapons (darts, sling, throwing dagger). These weapons are extremely effective in their hands, as they are given subtle telekinetic guidance (+1 to hit per level, +0.5 points damage per level, 1 psionic strength point expended per throw). [Thus, for example, a 10th level Psionic Warrior throwing darts is +10 to hit and +5 damage, as his darts always seem to be thrown with great force and find their mark in deadly places.]
The Psionic Warrior is prohibited from wearing any armor, and always seeks to carry the absolute minimum encumbrance possible (even scrimping on necessities like food, water, and blankets, relying on his mental disciplines instead).
--Sensitivity to psionic power and psionic-like spells, range of 3'' per level – gained at 1st level
--Blind combat: no penalty fighting while blinded, versus invisible opponents, or in darkness – gained at 2nd level
--Immunity to surprise – gained at 3rd level
All Psionic Warriors start out with the following psionic powers at 1st level:
--Mind Over Body.
Starting Psionic Ability Points
Roll d100, adding 1 point to the total for each point of INT, WIS, and CHA score above 12. In addition, if 2 of these scores are above 16, the number of points is doubled, and if all 3 scores are above 16, the number of points is quadrupled. The base score (1-100) plus bonuses (1-72) are added together. The total is the psionic strength of the individual, the strength for attack and for defense. Psionic ability is double psionic strength (10-344). One–half of psionic ability is attack strength, one-half is defense strength.
Additional Psionic Ability Points per level
1d12 (maximum of 344 points)
Acquisition of Psionic Combat techniques (by level)
1st - Mind Thrust, Mind Blank
2nd - Ego Whip, Thought Shield
3rd - Id Insinuation, Mental Barrier
4th - Psychic Crush, Intellectual Fortress
5th - Psionic Blast, Tower of Iron Will
Acquisition of New Psionic Disciplines
At each new level, roll d20 for the new psionic powers gained:
03-12 1 minor discipline
13-19 1 major science
20 1 minor discipline and 1 major science
Choose from the list of psionic powers, or roll randomly.
Special Psionic Warrior Class Powers
At the indicated level, the following powers are gained. Powers are usable one per round, once per day. Starting at 8th level, powers are usable twice per day, and at 15th level, powers are usable thrice per day:
2nd – Detect Lie
3rd – Locate (object/animal/plant/person)
4th – Jump or Protection from Normal Missiles
5th – Charm Person/Mammal/Monster
6th – Paralyzation
7th – Spectral force or Hallucinatory Terrain
8th – True Seeing
9th – Forget
10th – Commune (with dead, with divine, with nature)
11th – Mass Charm or Mass Suggestion
12th – Antipathy/Sympathy
13th – Phantasmal killer
14th – Geas
15th – Disintegrate
(Effects of these powers are as of the spells of the same name. No verbal, somatic, or material components are required.)
The Phoenix bird, as written up in the 1e MM2, is quite possibly the APEX monster of Good alignment. Naturally, it would only be used in some high-level situations, especially against great demonic forces.
3x per day:
1x per day:
1x per week:
3x per day:
1x per day:
1x per week:
Monday, April 18, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011