Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Free Items at DAZ

There are a total of three free items at DAZ Studio, so far, that I can determine. They are:

The Anime Uniform items pack comes with Aiko 3, Aiko's morphs, and many uniforms for her. The Safari starter pack comes with many exotic African animals you see in the Zoo, and the Anime Star Fighter pack comes with the Stinger as well as Aiko 3, Mitzu Hair, and Mech Girl. Most of these items were in the 3D bridge pack.

This is a good deal if you want to get started with DAZ.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ice Queen

Who is the Ice Queen?

Tell me who she is, what she is, and why she is there, and I'll stat her up.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Known Lands Campaign Site Launched

I launched my Campaign, the Known Lands, on the Obsidian Portal website. There, you can see the creation of the Known Lands and follow it either here or on the Known Lands campaign website on the Obsidian Portal.

Its still in the planning stages, actually. Someday, I might get around to mapping it. Hopefully.

The Known Lands

Religion in the Known Lands, Pt 4

The last post dealing with Religion in the Known Lands, I promise! This post deals with other religions that are prominent. Religions include: The Voice of the Night (or the Shadow), the Path of Light, the Path of Inspiration, Demonatry and Devilatry, and Satanism/Luciferism.

The Voice of the Night

The Voice of the Night is the opposing religion to the Holy Light although it is wrapped up into it's church hierarchy. Also called The Path of the Shadow, the religion is disorganized and worships the way of the night. Worshipers of the Voice of the Night are often called shadow priests, rogues, and the religion is associated with scum and villany.

Worshippers of the Voice of the Night swear that they hear it's whispers. Others do not, and often their inspiration has created several sects and movements in the Church of the Holy Light. For instance, some are actually zealous. Others have created inquisitions, and others enforce the ideals of the Holy Light seeking power and influence over others.

Game Rules
Actual clerics who hear the Voice of the Night gain access to the Knowledge, Destruction, Law, Trickery, and War domains.

The Path of Light

Religion among the Kalashtar. The Path of Light is typically called a Philosophic Religion, as its adherents do not believe in a Supreme Being as we understand the word. Called Il-Yannah, the Kalashtar seek a turning of the age in the Dream World from a nightmare to a dream of light and goodness. The religion is recounted in the Eberron Campaign Setting (for 3rd Edition, currently) and Races of Eberron.

A few clerics of the Path of Light gain access to the domains of Law, Meditation, and Protection.

The Path of Inspiration

The Path of Inspiration is a religion among the people controlled by the Inspired, the beings that oppose the Kalashtar. The religion is created a tool to manipulate the masses, but it isn't evil. Also seen as a Philosophic Religon, it's adherents do believe in a Supreme Being. This is generally not known. Clerics who ascribe to the Path of Inspiration gain access to the Community, Law, and Meditation domains. The religion itself is recounted in Secrets of Sarlona.

Demonatry and Devilatry

Worship of Demons and Devils. The religion is in direct opposition to the many forms of Christianity and any religion that professes to be good. The people worship in demon and devil cults, and draw power from pacts made with demons. The cults have a lot in common with the Cults of the Dragon Below in Eberron and the Burning Legion cults in World of Warcraft. Although Warlocks (both WoW and D&D Warlocks) are associated with Demonatry and Devilatry, clerics of such mad cults commonly choose their domains from Destruction, Evil, Madness, and Trickery.


Truly a religion of evil, if there ever was one. Satanists do everything BACKWARD to achieve prosperity. Not a truly malific cult, Satanists seek to destroy faith, challenge people, achieve domination; everything backward. Satanism is in direct opposition to Christianity itself and is typically anti-christ. Satanic priests gain their domains from Evil, Knowledge, and Trickery.

Religion in the Known Lands, Pt 3


Okay, Monotheism is the belief in One God. Monotheism has impacted the Known Lands far more than any other religion recounted. Most people in the Known Lands are monotheists or profess to be monotheists. With the exception of the Orcs, who are mostly without a doubt Shamanistic; all cultures are professed to be Monotheistic with the exception of a few.

There are many Monotheistic religions, but two stand out. Christianity and the Holy Light.


Christians are people who express belief in Jesus Christ as the savior of Mankind. With the arrival of the Bretonia came people who expressed and professed Christianity. Christianity in the Known Lands was once very Laissez faire and democratic. However, as the Christians got organized they reorganized a Heirarchy of Bishops, Archbishops, Pastors, and Priests.

Christianity in the Known Lands is very popular, and many people express belief in Jesus Christ and follow what he taught. The chief religious text among Christians, however, is the Bible. Clerics among Christians who profess true Faith in Christ and in God receive the following domains: Good, Healing, and Knowledge. The religion itself is Neutral Good.

The Holy Light

The Holy Light is mostly a philosophy. However, it is placed under monotheism since almost all followers of the Holy Light profess a belief in a Supreme Being or God. People think that the Holy Light is a synthesis of the Path of Light among the Kalashtar and Christianity. But this is not so. Most people in the Known Lands, including the Massalian Elves and the people of Caithness, follow the Holy Light.

There is little difference between Christianity and the followers of the Holy Light on the surface -- but Christians find those who believe in the Holy Light to be misguided. Most followers in the Holy Light do not believe in a Savior. But they do believe in a Supreme Being.

The Holy Light is surprisingly laissez faire despite the priesthood that exists. The religion of the Holy Light is organized; and can get very dogmatic. Unlike Christianity, which is considered to be a Mystery Cult or Mysterious Religion (something most Christians would reject is the word -- Cult) the Holy Light isn't considered a cult. Just a way to follow and attain spirituality.

Game Rules:
Clerics of the Holy Light can choose the Community, Glory, Good, Healing, Knowledge, and War domains.

Religion in the Known Lands, PT 2


Polytheism is the belief in many gods, although as you have read, there is but One God dealing with the Known Lands. However, this does not make idolatry impossible. Idol worship and pagan worship is worship in a polytheistic sense. Their are two polytheistic movements in the Known Lands: Oerthism and Olympianism.


The original Polytheistic model of the Known Lands until the arrival of the Bretonia in Ancient Times was Oerthism (also known as the D&D pantheon). Oerthistic clerics still exist, but they are pretty much underground when other religions such as the Path of Light, the Holy Light, and Christianity has taken prominence. Oerthists do not have places of worship any more except for hidden temples.

The Deities worshipped include:
  1. Bahamut
  2. Boccob
  3. Corellon Larethian
  4. Ehlonna
  5. Erythnul
  6. Fharlanghn
  7. Gruumsh
  8. Heironeous
  9. Hextor
  10. Kord
  11. Kurtulmak
  12. Lolth
  13. Moradin
  14. Nerull
  15. Obad-Hai
  16. Olidammara
  17. Pelor
  18. St. Cuthbert
  19. Tiamat
  20. Vecna
  21. Wee Jas
  22. Yondalla
  23. Dennari
Their domains are recounted in the Deities and Demigods supplement for the Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition game.


Olympianism has come to the Known Lands with the arrival of the Bretonia. It's a pagan idol religion that comes from the people of Hellas, or the Ancient Greeks. The pantheon is tight, but worship is underground. Most Olympian clerics all look to Zeus, although the others are often worshipped. The pantheon includes:
  1. Zeus
  2. Aphrodite
  3. Apollo
  4. Ares
  5. Artemis
  6. Athena
  7. Demeter
  8. Dionysus
  9. Hades
  10. Hecate
  11. Hephaestus
  12. Hera
  13. Hercules
  14. Hermes
  15. Hestia
  16. Nike
  17. Pan
  18. Poseidon
  19. Tyche
Their domains are recounted also in Deities and Demigods.

Religion in the Known Lands, PT 1

Question: How many gods are there in the World of the Known Lands?

Answer: There is but one God.

Question: How many religions are there in the World of the Known Lands?

Answer: There are many religions.

There are many religions in the Known Lands, but only one God. This is simply because Religion in the Known Lands is a complex tapestry of beliefs and practices. All Religions in the Known Lands profess that they are the true way to attain Spirituality -- that is a relationship with God. But few, if any, can actually help a person attain Spirituality. As a result, you get arguments and religious wars in the Known Lands -- where war is fought between the faithful and the infidel.

In the Known Lands, religions range from the Polytheistic to the Monotheistic, to religions built around a philosophy to attaining Spirituality. The Religions of the Known Lands include:

Shamanism is a way of worshipping and expressing animistic beliefs. Shamans communicate with spirits of the Known Lands and other realms. This grants them seership of the past, present, and future. It also lends them the ability to command, entrap, and banish spirits both malign and benign. Such manipulations bring great potential dangers for the cleric and those associated with him. So you get some unpredictable results.

Shamanism is practiced among orcish cultures as well as any free pockets of shifters who still enjoy a tribal or totemic society. Shamanism is also found among civilized cultures. Shamanism is expressed in four different religions:

Orc Shamanism -- Orcs in the Known Lands were originally a Spiritual, shamanistic people while in Outland and Archaeron. The primal totem of the orcs was and still is, the wolf. Although there are other totemic spirits followed by orc shamans: such as the eagle, lion, and fox -- the wolf represents the people of the orcs as a whole. Orcs pattern their civilization after the Wolf. Due to the belief that wolves pair and mate for life, the orcs' marriage pattern is usually patriarchal and monogamous. Orc society encourages heterosexuality as a way of propagating orc culture due to the association of orc culture as a whole to the wolf.

However, the Ashanti orc tribes have taken up a replacement for the wolf due to living in lands without the wolf. The Ashantis have taken to the Eagle for their cultural association. Still the effects are the same.

Game Rules
Orc Shamans use the Shaman class from World of Warcraft d20. They gain the Animal and Spirits domains (the Spirits domain will be recounted here). Most orc shamans in the Known Lands will have a Spirit Wolf form.

Shifter Shamanism -- Shifter Shamanism is much like the Orc Shamanism. Although Shifter shamans take a large variety of totems and spirits as their guides on their spiritual journeys. Shifter shamans are usually Dreamsight shifters since these shifters are unusually close to the Spirit World. Shifter communities in the Known Lands are totemaic or tribal. They too, encourage heterosexuality and discourage homosexuality. Shifter marriages are more unstable than orc marriages, but they do work.

Game Rules:
Shifter shamans use the Shaman class recounted in the World of Warcraft RPG. They also gain the Animal and Spirits domains. Shifter shamans must choose a totemic animal and gain the Druid wildshape ability instead of the Spirit Wolf form (to shift in that animal form only).

Druidism -- Druidism is a "new age" sort of religion descended from Shamanism. Druidism is embodied by the druid class and is worshipped by nature loving cultures. Druidism is universal but is mostly found among the Elves and Eladrin; although there are a growing number of humans that subscribe to Druidism. Human druids have a great amount of influence in Caithness, but not as great as other religions to be recounted later.

The Four Elements -- Earth, Wind, Fire, Water! The four primal forces are worshipped by shamans in civilized human and elven lands. The four elements are recognized as Spiritual Elements in the Known Lands. Worship of these four elements are commonly expressed in a shamanistic way. Although, due to influence of philosophies from Ancient times, Elemental Shamans hardly are as connected to the Spirit World as orc, druidical, or shifter shamans are.

Game Rules -- Four Element shamans take the Cleric class and have access to the Spirits, Water, Fire, Air, and Earth domains.

The Races of Destiny

Humans of the Known Lands; and the Races associated with them (Half-orcs, Half-Elves, Shifters, Kalashtar, Elans, and Changelings) are all descended from the Ancients. In fact, most of them look like the Ancients -- Humans are Ancients -- however this particular fact has been lost.

Humans are one of the most prolific races of the Known Lands. But humanity is varied in its style. And there are many sub-races associated with Humanity. Each are listed below:

Humans -- Humans are found literally everywhere except in Elven, Eladrin, and Orckish lands. They have round ears and a shorter lifespan than Eladrin, and generally look better than orcs.

Kalashtar -- A race resulting from a synthesis of humanity and spirits from the Dream World. Psionically empowered.

Shifters -- A race that breeds true, resulting from the pairing of humans and lycanthropes.

Changelings -- A race that breeds true, resulting from the pairing of humans and dopplegangers.

Elans -- Psionically endowed humans living practically immortal due to the alteration process.

Half-Orcs -- beings resulting from a human and orc pairing.

Half-elves -- Beings resulting from a human/elf pairing (usually High Elf or Fair Elf, hardly Massalian Elf, but those pairings do happen).

NEXT: Religion in the Known Lands.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Reorganizing the Player's Handbook

In the unlikely event that I will purchase a Player's Handbook for 4th Edition, I wonder if it would be smart to break the binding of the book and to reorganize it into a logical fashion. Although I don't agree with the current Player Paranoia that grips WotC at this time (just look at the GSL); Uncle Bear has some good reasons to try it. And Greywulf tried 4e old style.

Here are the reasons why I don't have 4e yet:
a). my priorities have changed. I am unmarried, 34 year old virgin and it's about time I take care of that in my life.
b). Wizards of the Coast changed from a happy, fun loving company to one that fears it's customers (points to the GSL).
c). My gaming group isn't fond of it.

Largely, if I do get it I will have to break the binding on the pages and reorganize them so that it will be easily organized. It would be easier to get the PDF and probably redo the book that way. But I don't want to spend $40 twice.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Why the Orcs are named after African Tribes

If you have been following my blog, you'd notice that the three orc nations in the Known Lands are named after African Tribes. This is not because of a racial slur on my part in any case. Sure, the orcs are often protrayed in RPGs as rapacious, evil, and destructive. But recent franchises has taken a fresh, new look at the orcs lately.

a). World of Warcraft. In World of Warcraft, the orcs aren't necessarily evil in their own right. Having escaped domination by demons the orcs have redeemed themselves. They are considered good guys, doing what is right based on their own code of honor. Just that they view humans as enemies and vice versa.

b). Eberron. In Eberron the orcs are also treated differently than they have in campaigns based around Dungeons and Dragons in the past. Orcs are treated as a misunderstood heroic race. They managed to keep abberations and demons out of Khorvaire and not the other way around.

c). Culture. Most of the time, orc culture is built around war; and not around peace. Orc culture is often based on the Roman Legions from Tolkien's time. Instead of using Roman culture to define the orcs, I turned to Africa. Mostly because of, once again, World of Warcraft. The orc village of Garadar reminds me of African motifs. Thus, the reasons why the orcs of the Known Lands are associated with the African tribes. ;)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Computer is fixed!


My computer's faulty video card has been replaced and this is not going to happen again. No more faulty nVidia cards. nVidia has come through. I'm back, and I'm ready, baby! My Miles Gloriosus is back and ready to kick some proverbial butt for the raiding. Of course, I'm picking up my baby tomorrow.

NEXT: Humans in the Known Lands. Or, the Spawn of the Ancients!

Why Am I Not Online . . . .

I am usually online, typing away playing World of Warcraft, preparing my Miles Gloriosus for participation in raids. However, today I am not doing any such thing. Yesterday, my video card on my MacBook Pro had given out so I had to take into the Apple Store for service.

nVidia had created a batch of malfunctioning video cards. I got the card twice, so naturally Apple has vowed to replace the card with a better functioning video card. So that it won't happen again. I was going to post more on orcs, but I'll probably do that later.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Orcs of the Known Lands

The orcs of the Known Lands are made up of several clans. Although their are three divisions of orcs in the Known Lands. The Orcs, like the Eladrin, are an offshoot of the Ancients of the Known Lands. Unlike the Eladrin who made it to Arborea: the forebears of the Orcs made it to the Wartorn world of Archaeron and the world known as Outland.

There, through evolutionary pressure, the Ancients changed from a human appearance to one that is more bestial and neanderthalic. Thanks to predators and other evolutionary pressure. When the Ancients of the Known Lands fought in the great Illithid War that spanned a small part of the Galaxy -- both the orcs of Archaeron and the Eladrin of Arborea returned.

Although the Ancients managed to defeat and crumble the Illithid Empire; they found that their cousins looked monstrous. Br0wn skinned, tusked, and powerfully built -- they also walked with a apish slouch.

After the Merebemoch (Great Flood); the Orcs came to represent Technology, the Eladrin represented the Mind, and the Humans represented Spirit. So, when the Races had divided themselves the Orcs claimed the Dragon Mountains and the savannah and the serenghetti lands to the south. The Eladrin claimed the forests, and the Humans were left with everything else.

The Ashanti, Chocwi, and Makonde

The Orcs are divided into three nations when the Known Lands were divided amongst Humans, Eladrin, and the Orcs. These included the Ashanti, the Makonde, and the Chocwi nations. The Ashanti nation settled in the Savannah, the Serenghetti, and Jungles of the land of Ophir. The Gomer orcs settled on the lands west of the Dragon Mountains, and the Magog settled on the lands to the East.

However, powerful changes to both nations by Dragons and fel magic have caused them to diverge in appearance. Both races are bred for War when discovered by dragons. Taught warlock magic, and used in conjunction with the elvish Pelagasiri and the Human magogian and gomerians; both tribes were used for conquest and world domination. The Ashanti, however, live out a peaceful existance with fewer wars with other tribes that split off from them.


All orcs have the same basic appearance. The differences between nations is apparent in skin color. Orc males are massive and brutish looking creatures. Weighing in at 250 to 300 pounds and standing from 6 to 7 feet in height, they are not a small race. Even orc women tend to be only a half-foot or so shorter and 50 to 100 pounds lighter than most males (and some of them are equal in stature to their male counterparts), having broad shoulders and muscular, powerful bodies. Orcs tend to have coarse and bristly hair and beards, often black or brown in color, graying with age. Their skin ranges from a light green to a dark drab olive to grayish brown. Eyes are usually brown, though a rare few have blue eyes. Orcs have broad, flat noses, tusk-like teeth jutting from their lower and sometimes upper jaws, and large, pointed ears. Orcs wear a variety of clothing styles, from furs and hides in some clans to heavy metal armor in others. They favor clothes of hide, and armor and arm themselves with a variety of gear.

Orc hair colors occasionally has tints of blue or violet. Orc eye colors include blue, brown, hazel, amber, and red. Pure blue eyes are quite rare in the orcish race, and are seen as a sign of great destiny or doom. Orc males sometimes choose to grow beards that are wild and untamed, while others prefer them to be braided and tasseled. These beards always hang from the chin, as orcs do not grow heavy facial hair above their upper-lip. Orcs have large heavy jaws from which protrude sharp, tusk-like teeth, heavy brows, a broad and flat snout-like nose, and pointed ears. A fair amount of sexual dimorphism exists between the Orc sexes, with male Orcs possessing more extreme orcish physical characteristics, most noticeably broader shoulders and larger tusks.

The Ashanti -- All of the Ashanti are brown skinned. This results from bark brown to a reddish brown. Hair color among the Ashanti have stronger blue tints than violet tints, since red hair is unknown among the Ashanti.

The Makonde -- All the Makonde orcs, now known as the Gothicos or the Horde; are green skinned. This is due to genetic manipulation by Dragon and fel magic.

The Chocwi -- All of those of Chocwi descent are red skinned. Also through genetic manipulation by Dragon and fel magic.

Other Tribes

The Hocs -- The Hocs are the result of even more primitive living and backward genetic drift. Often called Jungle Orcs the Hocs are what you get when you cross a gorrilla with an evil disposition for war. They are grey skinned and look even more menacing.

The Kamba, Kalenjin, and the Mandinka -- Offshoots of the Ashanti, the Kamba, Kalenjin, and Mandinka have ebony black to chocolate black skin because of the environment they live in. Their hair is mostly ebony black.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Elves in the Known Lands

Elves in the Known Lands come in five different varieties:

1. First, there are the Fair Elves. Known as the Eladrin in the D&D 4th Edition game, their civilization was conquered by the invading Pelagasiri Elves from the Dragon Mountains. They were enslaved by the Pelagasiri and forced to serve as a servitude race. As a result, many of the Eladrin has fallen from grace. The Pelagasiri have intermingled with the Eladrin, and bred the Eladrin, into the Fair Elves. Or those that are made fair. The Fair Elves have lost most of their Eladric traits, including the glowing eyes. But being bred into a slave race with the idea to serve has made them the most beautiful of all the elves. Fair elves tend to be slaves. They also tend to have blonde, auburne, and black hair with green, blue, violet, or red eyes.

2. The High Elves are the second. Those that are High and noble. They were once the Pelagasiri elves -- elves bred but for one purpose. War and conquest. Wielding the magic of demons, having solved the Riddle of Steel, and developing their own arcane arts from those taught by the Orcs in the Dragon Mountains -- the Pelagasiri invaded the lands of the Eladrin and slaughtered many and brought the Eladrin, once a thriving Early Bronze Age civilization, to a dramatic close.

The Pelagasiri then interbred, intermarried, and enslaved the Eladrin. To show that they are the Highborn, and the Eladrin were humble, the Pelagasiri took the name High Elf. The High Elves named themselves the Highborn, and split the Eladrin into Fair Elves and Low Elves. The High Elves tend to be wizards. They also tend to have black, brown, light brown, auburn, and blonde hair.

3. The Low Elves or Commoner Elves as the High Elves called them, are Eladrin who were forced from their station to do the common work. They are commoners, unlike the High Elf aristocracy. They look like high elves, except they are commoners. Low Elves tend to be sorcerers and warriors. Their hair color is the same as the High Elves.

4. The Drow: certain Eladrin escaped the invasion of the Pelagasiri and moved North into the steppes of the Known Lands. Upon reaching their new home, they made a pact with the dark Spider Goddess. Over the years, their skin darkened and their hair bleached unnaturally and they became a cruel race. Known as the Drow, these evil elves plot to conquer the world themselves for the glory of their dark Spider Goddess. The nation they rule over is known as Lotharis.

5. The Massalian Elves are from the Kingdom of Massalia (Marseilles in French). They are a colony of Eladrin that escaped the depredations of the evil Pelagasiri. Based off of the blood elves of World of Warcraft, the Massalian Elves are driven to rescue their brethren from the High Elves. Their culture is an awful mix of decadence and Spartan tastes. Their government is autocratic, timatic, oligarchic, draconian, and democratic all at the same time.

However, over the millennia, the Massalian Elves were unable to free their brethren. And they saw their Eladrin brethren change and lose the glow in their eyes. The Massalian elves also changed. Their ability to tap demons and devils for a supply of magic power has changed them as well. Their glow in their eyes have changed either to a bright fiery yellow, red, or green. Or, they can suppress their glow to reveal irises that are green, red, blue, violet, gray, or icy. The Massalian Elves' hair tend to be black, but fiery brown, red, golden, or carrot orange. The Massalian Elves tend to be Warlocks.

6. The Eladrin that escaped made some ocean going boats and sailed into the West, looking for lands uncontrolled by the Pelagasiri. These Eladrin were never heard from again.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Known Lands

My brain was going 100 miles (161 km) an hour last night, creating the Known Lands (or the Known Realm, a while back). This was simply because I was reading a lot in the World of Warcraft RPG. Reading about Blood Elves, how the RPG was put together, and so forth.

So, lets put the Known Lands together. There are four things about the Known Lands:

1. Macro-ly The Known Lands are set on three Continents about the size of Europe, Africa, and Asia.

2. Most Campaigns are set on the Isles of Caithness.

3. The Isles of Caithness are about the same size (and same latitude) as the British Isles.

4. The campaign is designed for both Rolemaster and Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Editon (d20 System).

The Isles of Caithness

The Isles of Caithness are named after the old Earldom of Caithness, located in Scotland. Caithness is also inspired by the GURPS Banestorm setting. Caithness is a land divided, unequally, between several civilized races and savage races.

The Civilized Races are those that live with high civilization:
1. Elves
2. Humans
3. Kalashtar
4. Changelings
5. Dwarves
6. Halflings

The Savage Races are those that typically are barbaric and uncivilized:
1. Orcs
2. Shifters
3. Trolls

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Miles Gloriosus, Paladin of the Blood Knights

Well, I did it. I created my own Miles Gloriosus on World of Warcraft. The idea of playing a braggart soldier is highly appealing. So, lets create his stats using the World of Warcraft Roleplaying Game (White Wolf) and Unearthed Arcana from Wizards of the Coast (available on d20srd.org).

Miles Gloriosus
Race: Blood Elf
Class: Blood Knight (Paladin)
Alignment: Lawful Good
Affiliation: Horde
Level: 3

Abilities: Str 17, Sta 12, Agl 13, Int 17, Spr 13, Cha 16 (8)
Hit Points: 24
Skills and Feats: Concentration +7, Diplomacy +4, Handle Animal +5, Knowledge (Military Tactics) +8, Knowledge (Horde Politics) +6, Knowledge (Religion: Holy Light) +8, Profession (Military Commander) +6, Swim +3; Combat Expertise, Power Attack, Weapon Group Feats (Axes, Basic, Heavy Blades, Exotic Double Weapons)
Special Abilities: Blood Elf Traits, Activate Aura, Aura of Might (Devotion Aura), Aura of Good, Detect Undead, Divine Health, Divine Grace, Holy Strike (1/day)

Initiative: +1 (Agl)
Armor Class: 16 (Chainmaille 15 + Agl), touch 11, Flatfooted 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+6
Attacks: +7 Blood Elf Double Scimitar +1 (1d6/1d6 18-20/x2, 15 lb., Slashing)
Full Attack: +7 Blood Elf Double Scimitar +1 (1d6/1d6 18-20/x2, 15 lb., Slashing)
Space/Reach: 5ft/5ft
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +2

Combat Gear: Blood Elf Double Scimitar +1, Chainmaille Suit (AC 15), 2 potions of cure light wounds.
Paladin Spells Known (none)

Hook: "STAND ASIDE EVERYONE! I take large steps!"

Roleplaying Tips: Miles Gloriosus has overweening pride. He thinks that he's the most admired, most powerful warrior in all the Horde. He believes he is a man's man, more handsome, intelligent, and personable than Thrall. He also believes that he is the Paragon of Blood Elven Virtue. Play him up by bragging about his attributes.

If you need inspiration in playing him, watch A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum and pay close attention to Miles Gloriosus; and the classic play Miles Gloriosus ("Famous or Boastful Soldier") by Titus Marcus Plautus (I included a video link below).

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Setting the Stage: Story Synopses

Last time, we got into who! This is the Character synopsis of the story (and campaign). However, setting the stage is -- SETTING THE STAGE!

So, lets go through a brief description of what the story (and campaign) is about. This is called a Synopsis. This helps you, the GM, guide the campaign in a general direction (players, as I have found out, screw with your story's direction in weird ways).

For the Atlantis campaign, we are going to use my Graphic Novel setup as an example. (ATLANTIS Copyright © 1986, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2009 by Elton Robb. All Rights Reserved.)

Here's the Title:

ATLANTIS is a campaign/Graphic Novel about the hero(es) who teleport(s) from the Present to Atlantis. Their (his) aim is to save a good friend from slavery to a very bad man (Procrustes). She was sold into slavery by her husband, and it is up to the hero(es) to save her from a fate worse than death. On the way to saving her from slavery, the hero(es) run into many misadventures with amazons, dinosaurs, prehistoric creatures, and evil men.

There's a story Synopsis right there. That also serves as the campaign synopsis. We already did the Character Synopsis before.

The next thing to explore is the Theme Synopsis. The theme of Atlantis is friendship, trust and sacrifice vs. enslavement and domination in a relationship. Atlantis explores true friendship: what its about and how it applies.

Finally a Plot Synopsis.

So, there are key plot events that happens in your Atlantis Campaign (players will add their own subplots). The Key Plots in the Atlantis graphic novel include:
  1. Our hero meets his best friend, Celeste, in the company Lounge (trying to keep sets perfect). They have a talk about over old times, and how much they missed each other. After the talk, Celeste goes home.
  2. After going home, Celeste is seized by Atlantean slavers. Her husband explains that he sold her to them and announces that he doesn't love her. They then disappear into the Quantum Time Stream, teleporting to Atlantis.
  3. Our hero visits Celeste's husband, who says that Celeste has been kidnapped by strange men in ancient costumes. Using his power, our Hero teleports himself to the world of the slavers: Atlantis.
  4. After appearing in Atlantis, our hero meets Hiron. Hiron is an inventor and scientist in Atlantis. He lives in an old haunted laboratory where he conducts experiments on Time Travel.
  5. After learning of the situation, our Hero meets Procrustes and finds Celeste among his Harem of Courtesans. Demanding to buy her, Procrustes demands a King's Treasure for her.
  6. Forced to find the Palladium, our Hero plan an expedition to find, procure, and bring back the Palladium to Procrustes as payment for Celeste. Hiron says that the Palladium was secreted far to the West. As far as Fusang, where the evil Fusangite king -- Qin (Chine) keeps the Palladium.
  7. Leon, a new friend of our hero, says that even if they get to Fusang they will need a navigator or guide to get them to Fusang.
  8. Looking around, wondering how they can get a navigator or guide to Fusang, they find a slave auction of several Courtesans for sale. One of them, Astra, is a Amazon taken in slavery has the ability to guide them to Fusang. With the help of Leon, our hero purchases Astra.
  9. After everything is ready, they purchase their mounts: Biguanas. Horses, Leon explains, are very expensive and reserved only to the rich. The giant reptile Biguana mounts are the best way for the group to travel overland.
  10. Traveling West to find the Palladium, our heroes deal with rampaging dinosaurs, Amazons, native peoples, and other prehistoric creatures and dangers (including Yellowstone Park and the Great Salt Desert).
  11. Reaching Fusang, our heroes go to negotiate with Qin for the Palladium (which is a metal statue of a dragon). Qin decides to test our hero's resolve. He has our plow a field using tigers, and then sow the plowed field with dragon's teeth.
  12. Men in full armor spring out of the ground, using swords and shields as their weapons. Our hero is forced to fight them. He defeats them all using cunning and wits.
  13. After showing prowess and wits in battle to Qin, he doesn't just hand over the Palladium. In fact, he accuses our heroes of cheating, and has them thrown into a dungeon.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Miles Gloriosus, Paragon of Virtue

Okay, I just couldn't resist!


Paladin of Tyranny

Miles Gloriosus is the Paragon of Roman Virtue. He raped Thrace THRICE, nearly married his sister, and ... well . . . you just have to watch the video below to see how magnificent he really is.

He'd be perfect as a D&D character! The absolute paragon of a Paladin. All D&D paladins worth their salt would fawn over him and hail him and their absolute ideal. Of course . . . he is his own ideal.

Atlantis: Who?

Okay, I choose to try Greywulf's campaign design philosophy. That is, who? Since our hero (or heroes, in this case) are the Main Character in my (or our story); we need to design an Antagonist for our hero to fight.

Since my story is about a man who goes to Atlantis to save his best friend from slavery (basic premise), it's easy to conclude that his best friend was either kidnapped, or sold. I chose to go with sold by the one person she trusted most -- her husband. So our bunch of Atlantean slavers took her away. But every group of mean baddies of this size needs a leader -- or the story wouldn't make sense.

ATLANTIS acts as the Contagonist to our hero -- Atlantis itself is some kind of Femme Fatale. Trying to get our hero to adopt her morals and her ways and to abandon his modern ways. Trying to present a different point of view. So, Atlantis itself is not our Antagonist. The Antagonist's job is to hinder our hero(es -- the PCs).

Its best to say that the antagonist is someone of influence. Looking back to the rogues gallery we have: Lex Luthor (the self-styled Greatest Criminal Mind of Our Time), Kor (Dax's Antagonist in the Dax and Jaxter games), Norman Osborn/the Green Goblin (Spider-Man's greatest enemy), the Empire (Star Wars' antagonist), the Mandarin, and the Joker (Iron Man and Batman respectively). And there are a lot more. I.e. the Alien Xenomorph figures as the main character in all the Alien films (Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection) . . . but it's definitely the Antagonist. The Blob was the antagonist in the Blob film, and it was the main character (not bad for something made out of cornstarch paste!).

But I digress.

So, who is our Who? Procrustes, Slaver and businessman -- purveyor of flesh and smut. Procrustes is a rich Atlantean with power and minions. He is bulky, about middle aged, and has a beard and mustache. He could also be balding . . . Haven't decided on that one yet. He wears silks, and dresses to prove he has power and controls the slavery operation that operates in the modern day. He is also successful, selling slaves at his house of flesh. Procrustes' personality is a mixture of Phil Silvers and Captain Miles Gloriosus from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. But mixed with care so as there are more Captain Miles Gloriosus and less Phil Silvers.

Now we have our Antagonist out of the way, lets design someone to be our hero's Guardian. The guardian's purpose is to advise, to show our hero the path. But lets make our guardian complex and add in logic to present an interesting character.

Inventors in the Atlantis City builder expansion were presented as liken to mad scientists -- they wore their hair funny and their tunics (called a Chiton) were in tatters. They would wear worn out sandals or go barefoot. Although Atlantean inventors were goofballs, lets go back 50 years to the old time Chemistry set and draw on something more inspirational.

Our complex guardian for our hero(es) is the Atlantean inventor Hiron. Based on Hero of Alexander of olden times, Hiron has invented the device that the slavers used to get to our century to get their new batch of slaves. Instead of a crazy goofball, I want my Hiron to look and act like Burgess Meredith's protrayal of Ammon.

(You can't go wrong with Beverly Cross' and Charles Schneer's casting for the film, everyone was perfectly cast in that movie -- no matter how badly most of them acted [Harry Hamlin in particular]).

I like the portrayal of Ammon so much, that he made the perfect guardian character. So, Hiron would act as our guardian for our hero(es). Then we have two who-s. And we know our third Who, Atlantis itself. So all the story drivers are in place.

So, lets produce our passengers. We need a Skeptic, a Sidekick, a Logical, and an Emotional. After that, everyone is window dressing or extra.

A Skeptic is a disbeliever essentially. Atheists are skeptics, as an extreme example. Our Skeptic would be our hero's mother. She disbelieves in our Hero's ability to get what he wants ("You can't have your cake and eat it too," or "the root of all evil is the love of money," or "you cannot always have what you want"). When he gets to Atlantis, our hero's mother is replaced by another suitable skeptic. Lets call him Korihor and be done with it.

A sidekick has faith in our character's ability and power to get what he desires. A sidekick is always counter to the skeptic. Sidekicks include Bubo the Owl from Clash of the Titans (pictured above), R2-D2 and C-3PO from Star Wars, and Pancho from Don Quixote. I prefer two girls -- our hero's dead girlfriend Anne (who is named after my own dead girlfriend); and the Amazon woman Astra (who guides our hero on his quest, another guardian) who later becomes our hero's slave.

The Logical provides the logic and bearing. He or she sees the world in logical terms. They use reason to view the world and often border on skepticism. They usually follow Aristotle's logic in general, saying: "A tree grows tall and produces wood, leaves, and shade; an olive grows tall and produces wood, leaves and shade; so therefore an olive is a tree." Simplistic, but that is their line of reasoning. I believe an officer of the Atlantean army, Leon, would serve amply as the logical character of our story.

Finally, the Emotional. The emotional runs counter to our logical's logic. He or she sees the world through an emotional lens. Our hero's best friend, Celesta -- wife turned into slave by Procrustes, would be perfect.

And there is all eight characters, except for our hero, of course. :)

Licenses and Lawyers?

Ever heard of the new game, Licenses and Lawyers? You haven't? It's the game we play when we play Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition. There is a good reason why I didn't buy into 4e yet, and that reason is simple enough.

My gaming group is against it. However, over the past few months, a new reason has cropped up. WotC has jealousy. Wizards of the Coast (a subsidiary of HASBRO) is showing how jealous they actually are of their customers.

WotC is incredibly, and incredulously, jealous. This zealous feel of making everything in the Monstrous Manual theirs shows how jealous they actually are of their customers. And with the GSL, they also show how jealous they are of their customers. The Licenses and Lawyers game we are playing with them makes them reak of jealousy. And we put up with the crap. We put up with the crap because the U.S. Constitution guarantees Copyright protection -- and it's abused in this case.

Well, if you look at it literally, you can tell that they are jealous. WotC is run by Bean Counters and not by the people in the RPG R&D department. It's the Bean Counters who are jealous of their customers, not the RPG R&D department. I've talked to a number of RPG designers in WotC, and they are quite happy, wonderful guys and gals. However, I have not talked to the bean counters over them to get their side of the story.

I think it's an awful thing that WotC abuses the guarantees of the Copyright provisions in the U.S. Constitution to make us play Licenses and Lawyers. It would have been easier just to take the GSL away and tell everyone that D&D is closed again. :)

Bringing Atlantis into RPG

One of the wierdest Ideas I have ever had was to bring my own vision of Atlantis into a Roleplaying Game. Since I am writing a Graphic Novel, I thought I might talk about bringing Atlantis into the RPG arena years back.

Problem is: Atlantis has been RPGed out in four different versions. GURPS Atlantis (THE BEST), Kevin Seimbeida's Atlantis (Rifts Atlantis -- the Worst), Twilight of Atlantis (The most realistic), and Second Age of Atlantis (In between). I feel overwhelmed bringing my vision to RPGdom.

What my vision is that it combines several features from all of them. Not so much KS's version as it is WAYYYYYYYY too weird to use. Bringing Atlantis to print is adding a fifth version to the above pantheon of Atlantis in gaming (and I haven't mentioned the Threat from the Sea (TSR AD&D 2nd Edition) and the Aventi [WotC's version]). But Atlantis still makes one of the best subjects for Roleplaying Games.

Still, I want to do an Atlantis campaign again, so I'll build it here. :) I did one before, and this time, I can learn from my mistakes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dealing with Erotic Art

It's time to talk about something that hits so many buttons. Erotic Art, the Art of Love. Many people create art dealing with Eros, and many people demonize it because everything from the most sublime and the most beautiful of expressions to the most debased pornography falls under its category. But what is Eros? Eros is simply the Greek word for Love. At one time, Eros meant true, absolute love in its purest form -- the total acceptance of anyone and the feeling of a deeply powerful connection to a person.

In our culture, eros has become defined as the love we share when we hit the sack with somebody. Eros is fun love in our culture, its no longer defined as a powerful feeling of being connected to someone. That's why cupid, the anthropormorphic manifestation of love, is depicted as a pre-pubescent or pubescent boy with wings. Love has been trivialized in our culture.

Erotic art is a subject that steps on many toes. Many people feel that the act of sharing Eros with another human being is too sacred to be shared in Art. Other people don't care, and exploit the need to see it for gain. Often, in our Victorian/Puritanical culture of the United States, when someone is presented with Erotic art, they are shocked! "Pornography" is the first word that creeps into their minds.

It is for this shock, this rush of adrenaline and the awakening of the sex drive, that most erotic art is packaged and exploited in the name of greed. Why something so pure, and so wonderful be so exploited? How can something that depicts the basic joy of being united with one person be used for evil? The purpose of satisfying one's greed and one's need for money?

I have seen all kinds of erotic art (to my shame, I must confess for much of it). From the powerfully beautiful in both Hetero-erotic and Homoerotic art, to the most debased and monstrous thing you can possibly imagine. I can imagine people creating terrible monstrosities. It's the nature of the universe. People create what they desire, it's part of the purpose of Life to explode in every single direction.

Powerful truths can be seen in it, from the depiction of an orgasm to the happiness of being joined with a person, to the pain and infliction of an art piece depicting BDSM. Some of it is sick and violent not truely erotic at all. But it's classified as erotic art because it happens to make some person out there have his hormones rage (such as BDSM, Violence is an awful thing). So, why is Erotic Art demonized? Why is it hailed as the destructive force of our civilization?

Probably because it's our fault to begin with. I don't know where this obsession to limit or stop procreation comes from, but it's definitely the root of the problem. We have to protect kids and ourselves from the depiction of Eros being enjoyed. We label all such art as Pornography and demand people to avoid it at all costs, as if it were a plague.

People create anti-pornography organizations and do war and fight against Pornography as if they are on a moral crusade to save us from ourselves. The terrible thing about this is, no one understands the true principles of how to defeat pornography. Or no one seems too.

As a DAZ Studio artist, I have created erotic art. Some of it I have destroyed, erasing evidence that I am also capable of creating monstrosities. The temptation, or the drive, to create Erotic Art is really overwhelming sometimes -- sometimes I bend to peer pressure. However, being forced to display the best of the erotic art that I have created with DAZ Studio on Renderotica -- a site that contains much violence -- is really stupid!

As an artist, I strive to create art that reflects the beliefs I have about the body, and about life in general. This includes the depiction of sex at certain times, because I believe sexual union is a joy that is due to all human beings in its own time and season (ironic, though, that I'm an unmarried virgin). My beliefs will come out in my art. It's inevitable, I'm sure. But to display such sublime and beauty on a site that promotes violence is really the pits. However, it's the only place where I can post my creations without censure.

I really do believe that Erotic Art should be about love, joy, and union. The joining of man to woman (or the opposite). The rush of positive energy, the feelings of true love, and true power. This sort of Art should be celebrated. But our culture has thrown out the baby with the bathwater. Any such art I create -- even to show how divine sex really is -- and I put on this blog will label my blog as adult. How fair Life is.

That being said, I know the consequences of displaying erotic art on my blog, and they are unwanted.

Monday, March 2, 2009

4e Classic Play

Clark Peterson over at Necromancer Games is trying to make 4e feel better for us who enjoy our D&D in certain recipes. What he is doing is taking out the heart of 4e as it is now, and transplanting it with the heart of AD&D or OD&D.

Although I said my piece on the forums, I think the idea is good and sound. For me, I want to play a 4e game where it's gritty and the danger is real. Heroism comes from with in, and unless you are playing Superheroes with the conviction that someone has got to save the world, I'd rather play 4e with combat where it's scary (combat should be deadly and lethal).

When I chimed in, Clark said that 4e isn't really for me, and yeah he's right. But when, or if, I DM 4e I'd like to DM a game I'd be more comfortable DMing. And Clark is going to attempt that. Pop on over to the Necromancer Games' forum and take a look at what he's doing and say hi!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Private Commission, redux

My cousin had me redo everything, which allowed me to return to the set and redo everything. Including lighting. This was a chance to add some SFX to the pictures. Below, she's firing a freeze ray. And the picture below that one, a lightning bolt.

Its really cool!

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