Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sorceress of Atlantis


Sorceress of Atlantis by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART

A new Character de Jour? HA! You wish. This is an Atlantean Sorceress. Not as mischevious as Lina Inverse or as dumb as Gourry, but . . . She's cool anyhow. Don't cross her path!

I'll have gaming stats up for her sooner or later. :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Alignment

A thought on Alignment in D&D, so why have an alignment system at all? Especially in matters pertaining to character action? So, a query: does evil actually exist and do we need a system to distinguish good and evil in D&D?

Star Trek and Star Wars are two entertainment universes where good and evil have been explored. In Star Wars, evil absolutely exists. It's in stark reality: Sith vs. Jedi, Empire vs. Republic (or the Alliance to Restore the Republic), the Dark Side vs. the Light Side.

In Star Trek, evil is not always explored. It's more subtle in Star Trek. Although extremes did exist: Khan vs. Kirk; Nero vs. Spock. Kirk vs. Commander Kargh. And Picard vs. the Borg Queen. Yet, we have alignment in D&D, evil absolutely must function in a D&D game on paper. In practice, D&D games are as individual as their DMs.

Greywulf runs a horror game about the End of the World. I set up games more along Star Trek's lines: treating each person with their own individual set of beliefs. Not to say that evil doesn't exist in my universe (it does). But I try to take each race into account.

I run the orcs like they were Klingons (a role many argue that is best suited for Hobgoblins). Star Trek's Phase II own Commander Kargh is an inspiration of how I run orcs (also World of Warcraft is a big inspiration). An orc commander is like Kargh, serves his country first and distrusting of his human counterpart. Not necessarily evil, but mistrust of humans may make an orc to act coolly at best.

However, other GMs treat orcs differently. So, what is alignment in D&D for? I believe it is there to describe how certain magic spells interact. Detect Evil detects the presence of evil -- like how Luke could tell the difference between the Dark Side and the Good Side of the Force in ESB on planet Dagobah. Detect evil detects malevolence, hatred, and mal-intent. Detect Good, its opposite, detects peace and serenity. Detect Law detects order, while Detect Chaos gives feelings of confusion.

Some spells are labeled "evil" meaning to use them you use them with pure malice and evil intent. I.e. spells like Drain Soul, and Drain Life (from the WoW RPG) have the evil descriptor since you are taking a piece of a man's soul or draining his life energy from his body.

Some spells are labeled "good" meaning to use them, you use them to preserve life and to preserve order. However, situations can call into question the motive of using such spells. Any spell, whether good or evil, can be used for good or for evil. Cure Light Wounds can be used for malice like a doctor curing a patient he hates against his will (although the Hippocratic Oath may demand him curing the patient anyhow). Spells like cause light wounds or harm may be used to save human life from threat of death against a terrible foe.

So, does alignment suck? I argue, that although our Universe is relative for a reason -- and that good and evil exists in our universe to provide a point to learn and to make choices between the two -- alignment is flawed in a game like Dungeons and Dragons. Some argue to take it away and some spells don't work.

I argue that those spells do exist and they do work. Detect Evil will still detect evil. A feeling of coldness, a feeling of not rightness, death, separation -- Detect Evil will still work in a game without alignments. So will detect good, which produces feelings of oneness, unity, holiness, serenity, and peace.

So do I use Alignment? Yes, I do. But I approach the matter in a complex way. Ideologically speaking, from my point of view, evil has to exist in the Game World as it does in ours. But a character doesn't have to act evil. He has his own motives. This can be serving the best interest of your country (Commander Kargh), feeling revenge after terrible loss (Nero), or being used to slavery, being finally free, and then swearing utter loyalty to an insidious force (Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader swearing loyalty to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious).

Lawful Goodness aside, in the World of Galatea, everything is spelled out.

~ Paladins serve honor, God, and country. They seek to do good, using holy magic along with their martial might. They are the paragons of virtue and thus act as such.

~ Warlocks traffick with demons or use demonic magic. They are viewed as selfish, dark, or evil by the populace at large. Still, very few Warlocks seek redemption by using their magic for heroic ends while others use their magic for malice and evil purposes. The Warlock still attends to a code of honor.

~ There is a code of honor among thieves in the nation of Caithness. This honor works to Caithness' advantage in using thieves and rogues in their espionage program. In the orc horde, honor is everything -- especially among rogues and thieves.

~ Some warriors and wizards totally give themselves to the Dark Side, figuring that the ends justify their means. They work evil to achieve their goals.

~ Some kings, given the trappings of power, are good and righteous kings. Others abuse their power and station, creating laws that perpetuate their state.

And there are many examples. But one thing is for certain -- Alignment in D&D is flawed. Doubly so in the Paladium Books' family of games. But it is an easy way to describe a character's actions and belief system.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dolphins, Humans, and Ideas


(Neo-Spacian Aqua Dolphin Yu-Gi-Oh! Card copyright 1996 by Kazuki Takahashi)

Okay, this is a post about an idea that I got while surfing Darknest for Roleplaying Opportunities (okay, I don't like violence). You get ideas in the strangest places. The RP called for something called a Deep-Link or something to a Dolphin-humanoid to explore an ocean world. I loved the RP idea I tried to sign up for it!

Well, the person responsible for the post didn't get back to me. So I thought, wouldn't it be great to use the idea from James Cameron's Avatar (no relation to Avatar: the Last Airbender), and run with the idea in a short story?

The story would be an idea story. It's about the idea in and of itself. A marine biologist explores an ocean world as a humanoid dolphin. Great thing about the idea:

A. Life explodes in all directions. Somewhere out in the Universe, or somewhere in an alternate reality; there is a species of humanoid dolphins. What would life be like for a humanoid dolphin (a dolphin with a human-like skeleton)?

B. Anatomy. What would their anatomy be like? (the dolphin humanoid must be able to eat, excrete, sleep, breathe, and reproduce; and most importantly -- make tools and calculate calculus).

C. If I go with a situation like Avatar, how does one Deep link? I tried to think of a Dream state, actually, where the person is dreaming while he controls his new dolphin-humanoid body.

D. A different race? If so, what would be being an ambassador to this race would be like? Dolphins like to have sex with each other, would a dolphin humanoid try to have sex with a human ambassador?

Lots of things to consider. I put up the image of Neo-Spacian Aqua Dolphin to show you an idea of what such a body might look like. I hope Mr. Takahashi won't mind. :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Herbs and Spices of Galatea


Again, the old Occult Lore we've worked on has come to mind. Occult Lore has rules for Herbalism and awakening the magical properties of certain plants (herbs). So, I thought I should list some real world herbs that can be found in the World of Galatea.

Herbs are different from spices since they often contain properties that help the body to heal and or feel better. Spices makes food often taste better and carry their own special properties in interacting with the body. First some definitions:

A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, leaf, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for the purpose of flavour, colour, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth.

A herb is a plant that is valued for flavor, scent, or other qualities.[1] Herbs are used in cooking, as medicines, and for spiritual purposes.


Culinary Herbs
This list, from Wikipedia, is by no means complete. But the spices and herbs used are culinary in nature and may be used in certain alchemical concoctions to add flavor. Certain herb mixes are used in the Cathness Isles of Galatea.

  1. Colombo (paprika, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, ginger, black pepper, star anise, cardamom, cloves, mustard grains, saffron)
  2. Curry Powder
  3. Five Bays
  4. Herbs de Provence
  5. Old Bay Seasoning
  6. Quatre ├ępices
Magical Herbs
the Magical Herbs of Galatea are used by Alchemists in the preparing of magical draughts, potions and elixirs. Some of these herbs also contain medicinal qualities and are often used in tinctures, infusions, poultices, and other important medical uses. These herbs, however, can be awakened by a specialist in herbs or a Wylder witch as they are attuned to have certain magical properties. This list is from Occult Lore.




Each has a history. Mistletoe, for instance, is a plant that is very opportunistic and is considered to be a vampire plant. Mistletoe is also used in rituals in the faith of the Ancients (a pagan religion) as well as a symbol of immortality among those who worship the Ancients. Henna is used for tattooing. The Imperial Willow tree contains salicylic acid, which is important in treating headaches. And the Pomegranate is a tasty fruit with various properties.

The rules for awakening these herbs' magical properties are found in Occult Lore (for now). In the hands of an Alchemist, the following magical items can be created from these magical herbs (except oils, from More Magic and Mayhem):

Journeyman Products:
Minor Healing Draught
Philter of Minor Defense
Philter of Lion's Strength
Weak Troll's Blood philter
Minor Mana Draught
Minor Rejuvenation Draught

Expert Products:
Philter of Minor Fortitude
Philter of Minor Reflex
Lesser Healing Draught
Swiftness Philter
Philter of Wisdom
Philter of Water Breathing
Swim Speed Philter

Artisan Products:
Healing Draught
Minor Magical Reistance Philter
Lesser Mana Draught
Philter of Poison Resistance
Strong Troll's Blood Philter
Philter of Defense
Fire Alchemical Oil
Shadow Protection Philter
Philter of Firepower
Philter of Lesser Reflex
Philter of Ogre's Strength
Free Action Philter
Greater Healing Draught
Mana Draught
Fire Protection Philter
Lesser Invisibility Philter
Shadow Alchemical Oil
Philter of Fortitude
Mighty Troll's Blood Philter
Philter of Reflex
Frost Protection Philter
Philter of Frost Power
Philter of Greater Defense
Philter of Detect Lesser Invisibility
Frost Alchemical Oil
Catseye Philter

Master Products:
Greater Mana Draught
Alchemical Oil of Immolation
Superior Healing Draught
Lesser Stoneshield Philter
Philter of Greater Water Breathing
Wildvine Draught
Dreamless Sleep Draught
Philter of Detect Undead
Arcane Philter
Philter of Greater Intelligence
Invisibility Philter
Philter of Dream Vision
Philter of Greater Reflex
Gift of Saturn (Gift of Arthas)
Philter of Giants
Limited Invulnerability Philter
Philter of Shadow Power
Philter of Demonslaying
Philter of Detect Demon
Superior Mana Draught
Philter of Superior Defense
Philter of the Sages
Philter of Brute Force
Major Healing Draught
Philter of the Mongoose
Greater Stoneshield Philter
Purification Draught
Greater Arcane Philter
Greater Magical Protection Philter
Major Mana Draught
Major Rejuvenation Draught

All the rules for making these potent conconctions are found in More Magic and Mayhem (available from DriveThruRPG and RPGnow). 4th Edition players: The rules in the book can easily be converted over. The skill system of the two systems -- 3.5 and 4th; are hopefully similar enough for quick conversion.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bonsai Swimwear


Bonsai Swimwear Line by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART

All of the textures are complete. I'll be working on the DAZ Studio Material Presets for all ten. Here are the first five.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Presenting the Lifeguard Speedo


Man in Life Guard Speedo by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART

Someone requested a Baywatch speedo texture. Well, here is another one. Made for you by the guys and gals at Bonsai Swimwear.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sneek Peak at Bonsai Swimwear's Women's Line


Front and back, the new camouflage bikini is to complement the hi performance swim brief.

Translation: This is the camouflage sister of the men's swim brief I've worked on. These textures are for the Lilian Bikini available at DAZ.

Sneak Preview at Bonsai Swimwear's new line



I managed to get a sneak preview of what they are doing over at Bonsai Swimwear. This is the line for men.

Translation: I've been working on textures for the speedo for M4's Basic Wear for a while now, and now I've got the ensemble finished. In stead of working out textures for the whole range of M4 basic wear, I thought I'd bundle these with the Lilian Bikini and the new textures I want to work with it. The line will be Bonsai Swimwear's line (brought to you by me, of course).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Guess the Armor Class


Practicing the Kata by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART

Impractical wear, golden tiara . . . What's my Armor Class?
:D

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Way of the Paladin


* Art Work from Character Portraits, Fantasy Heroines (Mongoose Publishing [Matthew Sprange and company]).

The Way of the Paladin. Paladins are holy warriors who combine religion and war in order to defend their people from evil. They are the epitome of Good and Righteousness, they are paragons of virtue. They fight with a holy zeal and a righteous cause. But any paladin may fall. But the way of the Paladin is glory and honor, and sometimes faith has its own rewards.

So, goes the planned supplement on Paladins. There are three 3 types of paladins in Galatea - Holy, Protection, and Retribution. Each has their own emphasis: the Holy paladins focus on increasing their faith and seek to be true paragons. Protection paladins focus on protecting themselves and others from danger. And the retribution paladin seeks to redress crime, and make what is wrong right again.

All paladins: whether they are Knights of the Blood, or Knights of the Platinum Dragon, or the One -- are ultimately righteous and seek to be pure in thought, speech, and deed. Paladins look to protect their people, and the people see them as shining examples of all that is right and honorable.

Every class has their schools, and so do the paladin. Academies are established by most every race except the orcs -- where the paladin treads a lonely path looking to his own training and defense.

So begins the planned supplement -- the Way of the Paladin.

What am I planning to include:
* A discussion of the Paladin class as a whole.
* Holy Paladins, Protection Paladins, and Retribution Paladins.
* A discussion of the various paladin orders (The One, the Knights of the Platinum Dragon, the Knights of the True Cross, the Knights of the Blood, the Sons of Mars, Athena's Pride, and the Sunreavers).
* New feats.
* New schools.
* School specific spells
* School specific prestige classes

Designed for 3.5 Edition rules. All Galatea products are produced under a Creative Commons Commercial Share-and-Share-Alike License.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Finals Week


It's finals week here in DAZ Land. I have to draw a self portrait of myself for my final figure drawing project. Then it's back to having fun writing. I'm planning to do a supplement on Paladins, as the above image suggests. This supplement for paladins is going to be about the Paladin in Galatea and can focus on various paladin orders, schools, and the types of Paladins that are in encountered in Galatea (Holy, Protection, and Retribution paladins). Also on the churches or religions they serve (the Knights of the Platinum Dragon, Christian Knights, The Sons of Mars, Paladins of the One (Orc Paladins), and Knights of the Blood (Massalian Elf Paladins).)

Why? It's easier to do a Paladin book in terms of art than a wizard book. ;)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

WoW Spells Dynamized, pt. 1

No pictures tonight. Just some spells from More Magic and Mayhem converted for use with the Dynamic Spellcasting system presented in Advanced d20 Magic.

Abolish Disease
Conjuration (Healing)
Cleric Spell
Casting DC: 42
# of Slots: 2
Range: Touch
Target: Creature Touched
Duration: 1 day
Saving Throw: Fortitude Negates
Spell Resistance: Yes (Harmless)

Abolish Disease removes diseases normally affected by the remove disease spell. Also, abolish disease protects the target against further infection for twenty-four hours, granting the character or creature immunity to disease for the day. The subject of this spell feels calm and wellness in his being when the spell is cast.


Invulnerable Shield of the Templar
Abjuration
Templar Spell
Casting DC: 39
Number of Slots: 2
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 1 minute/level
Saving Throw: none

The templar transforms a tiny shield into a large shield made of steel. The shield floats near you and protects you from harm. The hanging shield grants you a +9 bonus to AC. Also, the shield grants you spell resistance 10 + caster level. The shield is impervious to damage of all kinds. When the spell expires, the shield returns to its normal size and falls to the ground.

Intensify Magic
Abjuration
~ Wizard spell ~
Casting DC: 34
# of Spell Slots: 2
Range: Touch
Target: Creature Touched
Duration: 1 min/level
Saving Throw: Will negates
Spell Resistance: yes

This spell intensifies the effect of any damaging or healing spells on the target. So, if a spell that harms or heals is cast on a subject, the amount of damage it inflicts or repairs increases by +1 point per caster level (maximum 15 points).


Mage's Detonation (pg. 68)
Evocation (Force)
~ wizard spell ~
Casting DC: 38
# of Slots: 2
Range: 20 ft.
Area: All creatures within a 40 ft. diameter burst centered on you
Duration: Instant
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: Yes

A wizard causes a burst of energy that explodes outward around him. This detonation of energy deals 1d6+1 points of force damage per level (maximum 15d6+15). All creatures in the area are affected except yourself.


Aquatic Form (pg. 69)
Transmutation
~ Druid Spell ~
Casting DC: 25
# of Slots: 1
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 1 min./level
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

You transform into an aquatic mammal such as a dolphin, porpoise, or seal. This form grants you extraordinary movement speed under the water but rendering you incapable of attacking. You gain a swim speed that is equal to double your base movement. While in this form, however, you cannot cast offensive spells without the Natural Spell feat.

(Aspect of the Grove is too WoW Specific for any adaptation, see page 69 of More Magic and Mayhem)
Aspect of the Grove
Transmutation
~ Druid Spell ~
Casting DC: 47
# of Slots: 3
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 1 round/level


Visage of the Lich
Necromancy
~ Necromancer Spell ~
Casting DC: 54
# of Slots: 4
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 1 round/level

This spell allows you to take on the terrifying appearance of a lich, and many of their abilities. The spell makes your skin and bones harden and grow pale. This grants you a +8 natural armor bonus and DR 15/Bludgeoning and magic. In addition, you also gain +6 bonus to Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. you also gain a touch attack that deals 1d8 points of cold damage per 2 levels (maximum 15d8). This also paralyzes the target. And at last, creatures and characters of 5 HD or fewer who gaze upon you must make a will save (DC equal to the spell's DC) or be panicked for 1 round per caster level. Creatures who make their save against this fear affect see past your spell.

Ring of Fire
Evocation (Force Fire)
~Wizard Spell ~
Casting DC: 42
# of Slots: 2
Range: 30 ft.
Area: all creatures within a 30 ft. radius burst centered on you (60 ft. diameter)
Duration: Instant
Saving throw: Reflex half
Spell Resistance: Yes

This spell calls into existence a ring of fire that quickly spreads from you to push back all nearby enemies and objects. The spell deals 1d8 points of fire damage per caster level (maximum 20d8) to all enemies within the area of effect. Creatures who fail their reflex saves are knocked prone and continue to burn, taking 3d6 points of fire damage for 2 additional rounds. Unattended objects also take damage and are knocked back 30 ft.


Sovereign's Blessing
Transmutation [Blessing]
~Paladin Spell~
Casting DC: 34
# of Slots: 2
Range: Close
Target: 1 creature
Duration: 5 minutes
Saving throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes

This spell will imbue your target with holy power, granting him a sacred bonus to all ability scores equal to +1 per 4 caster levels (maximum +4). The blessing gives a feeling of confidence to the target.

~ next: the spells from pages 70-75!

All spells' game statistics are under the Open Game License.
Section 15:

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document Copyright 2000-2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Rich Baker, Andy Collins, David Noonan, Rich Redman, Bruce R. Cordell, John D. Rateliff, Thomas Reid, James Wyatt, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game Copyright 2003, Blizzard Entertainment

World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game Copyright 2005, Blizzard Entertainment

World of Warcraft: More Magic & Mayhem Copyright 2005, Blizzard Entertainment

d20 Advanced Magic Copyright 2005, Guardians of Order, Inc.; Authors David and Michelle Lyons.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Character du Jour: Enchantress


It's time for my own Character du Jour. I bring you, Megan Nightsky, an Enchantress of the world of Galatea and the Nation of Caithness. Not designed for the 4th Edition of D&D, this is for the 3.5 Edition of D&D. Megan Nightsky is a true Enchantress -- she is capable of adding enchantments to items and destroying enchanted items.

Alharizen looked around for an enchanter to enchant his weapon, sacrificing all of his magic items in the process. All the rest were too expensive; until he espied a young woman at a forge. She was almost naked, so Alharizen had to avert his eyes before he could ask.

"Yes, I can enchant your sword," said the young woman. "It will cost ya, but less than what you expected. I'm just trying to make my way in the world too."

Alharizen beemed, even though the young woman was immodestly dressed.


Megan is the youngest daughter of Astral Nightsky and the only heir to his lands. The young maga is taught by Astral himself, but specialized in ice spells over fire or regular wizard spells. She frequently substitutes ice in her Firebolt and Fireball spells. An Artisan Enchanter, she is has become quite the Enchanter since completing her Artistic enchantment -- a magnificent sword enchanted with Icy Chill.

Before she could learn Enchanting, however, she had to enchant 3 items and destroy them to prove that she could become a journeywoman Enchanter. Her master, Svala Higgensdotter, was a cruel taskmaster who rarely divulged what she could learn. Eventually, she made the journeyman tier, and left Svala. She adventured herself, having many misadventures, before finding other masters who could teach her the Expert and Artisan tiers of Enchanting.

Megan Nightsky CR 10
Female Wizard 5/Enchanter 5
NG Human
Init: 2; Senses: Listen , Spot
AC: 12, Touch 1o, flat-footed 12
hp: 38 (10 HD)
Fort: +1, Ref: +1, Will +4


Speed: 30 ft. (8 sq.)
Melee: +1 Longsword of Striking +5 (1d6+1)
Base Attack: +5; Grp +5
Atk Options: None
Combat Gear: +1 Longsword of Striking, Light Crossbow, 2 potions of Cure Moderate Wounds

Dynamic Spellcasting Bonus: +9
Dynamic Wizard Spells Known: Acid Arrow (DC 28), Arcane Lock (DC 26), Arcane Mark (DC 15), Blast Wave (DC 43), Blur (DC 25), Cat's Grace (DC 26), Command (DC 20), Dampen Magic (DC 26), Daze (DC 16), Detect Magic (DC 17), Dimension Door (DC 34), Dispel Magic (30), Fireball (31), Firebolt (DC 34), Ice Barrier (DC 44), Identify (DC 37), Invisibility (DC 26), Lesser Firebolt (DC 27), Magic Aura (DC 22), Magic Missile (DC 20), Magic Weapon (DC 22), Obscuring Mist (DC 20), Read Magic (DC 17), Resist Energy (DC 27)

Enchantments known: Journeyman (10): Weapon - Lesser Striking (100 EP), Lesser Elemental Slayer (200 EP), Armor - Lesser Defense (100), Lesser Health (100 EP), Shield - Lesser Blocking (100 EP), Lesser Resistance (100 EP), Lesser Fortitude (200 EP), Bracer - Lesser Deflection (100 EP), Cloak - Lesser Charisma (150 EP), Lesser Protection (200 EP); Expert (6): Weapon - Magic Strike (150 EP), Striking (300 EP), Armor - Health (300 EP), Lesser Mana (500 EP), Cloak - Charisma (400 EP), Helm - Awareness (300 EP); Artisan (2): Weapon - Greater Striking (500 EP), Icy Chill (800 EP)


Abilities: Str 10, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 13, Cha 18
SQ: Disenchanting, Enchanting, identify enchantment
Feats: Craft Magic Arms and Armor (3rd), Craft Talisman (6th), Energy Substitution (Frost) (5th), Improved Metamagic (9th), Magical Defense (Fire Spells) (Human Bonus), Spell Focus (Frost Spells) (1st), Scribe Scroll (Wizard Feat)
Skills: Appraise +10, Concentration +10, Craft (Ice Sculpture) +12, Knowledge: Arcana +13, Knowledge: Local Lore +13, Knowledge: Enchanting +13, Knowledge: Religion +10, Profession (Enchanter) +11, Listen +6, Spellcraft +13, Spot +6, Swim +6

Possessions: Combat gear plus +1, Magister's Regalia (Magister's Robes, Magister's Belt -- see More Magic and Mayhem)


Energy Substitution: Megan's Energy Substitution causes the spell DC to increase by +2.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Triumph of Galatea


The Triumph of Galatea by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART

I hosted a "Name my Campaign Setting" poll or survey on Necromancer Games' message board and here. No one really voted here, but it was active on Necromancer Games.

GALATEA is the winning name for my campaign setting. This campaign setting is one that I've been working on for a while. Once it was named "The Known Lands" but the title has changed due to potential problems with copyright and intellectual property that other people might claim. Even though, "The Known Lands" have been developed separately and independently by three different people.

I'm planning on having Galatea be represented as a Goddess (one of the Ancients in Ancient Worship) in the campaign. As you know, the Campaign Setting is being written for the D20 System (3.5 revision) of the game. It's magic system is going to be the Dynamic Spellcasting system, and the classes included can come from WoW (Warlock, Shaman, Hunter, and now I'm wondering if I should include the Runemaster and Incriber).

Thanks to More Magic and Mayhem I can support:
* A comprehensive Alchemy rule system.
* A comprehensive system for Enchanting (and a PrC) meshed with the Dynamic Spellcasting System.
* New Spells
* New Magic Items (possibly.)

I'm grateful to Blizzard for their Dungeons and Dragons fandom and their willingness to go with the d20 system for their game. This is a good leap forward. Congratulations to the people on the Necromancer Games' board for being so willing to participate in the survey.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More Magic and Mayhem

More Magic and Mayhem -- Guys and gals of 4th Edition fame, if you don't have this book, you are missing out on something very, very useful. The book has rules for creating alchemical elixirs, draughts, and transmutations and what you can create with the craft (alchemy) skill.

That being said, I recently received this book as part of the Necromancer Games' gift exchange. It comes in hard cover, and is about 200 pages of useful information for roleplaying spellcasters and engineers in the World of Warcraft using the d20 System. For once, I'm happy that this came out for the d20 System instead of the 4th Edition rule set.


The book is split into six parts. One deals with new classes, another deals with new feats, then new spells, new magic items, and finally engineered machines. All the spells dealing with World of Warcraft (the Old World) are finally included. Missing spells like firebolt, blastwave, pyroblast, and corruption are finally included. Beyond that, the book is useful out of WoW.

The Alchemy skill and the Enchanter skill are covered in grand detail. The Alchemy section covers everything that a player character can create relating to WoW using the craft (alchemy) skill. From mana draughts to healing potions, to transmutations using the philosopher's stone. At last, a PrC a friend of mine devised for Atlas Games' Occult Lore makes a huge amount of sense (the Grand Alchemist PrC) with these rules for Alchemy.

Secondly, the Enchanter skill is boosted by the Enchanter PrC. The Enchanter is able to create and destroy magical items. He can enchant items not only using the Item Creation feats, but he can also destroy magic items and enchant them with special abilities.

One interesting PrC is the Ley Walker. Now, I'm willing to bet that the PrC -- in practice and in theory -- is like the creature below.

Boy, I hope KS doesn't get wind of this! But the Ley Walker PrC of WoW and the Ley Line Walker O.C.C. of Rifts are deadly similar to each other. So similar in fact, that if some one were to do Rifts d20, they'd just have to pop open this book and take the Ley Walker PrC and use that to represent the Ley Line Walker O.C.C.

The book is useful for a World of Warcraft RPG game, and it is useful out of game. Aside from little nitpicks as missing armor items to editing; the book is chock full of information that can be used for a 3rd edition game, or with some work, a 4th edition game (some stuff can be used "straight out of the box," other stuff needs some WORK!).

That is my review for 4th Ed fans and 3rd Ed fans alike. My recommendation is to purchase a copy of this book in hardcopy or on .pdf since you are missing out on some goodness here. :)

--Elton Robb

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

HISTORY OF GALATEA

Once upon a time, there was a planet spinning in space. A wonderful Garden World, it was uninhabited except for plants. Then the Ancients came from a distant galaxy and landed on the planet and spread their civilization upon it. Thus began the Golden Age of the planet Galatea.

The Ancients soon decided that they will spread human life among the Galaxy, and began so. Exploring the Galaxy, they seeded the galaxy with human life on garden worlds like Galatea. Two planets in particular -- Archaeron and Arborea; were seeded with human life. However, the Ancients that seeded them took life in different directions. One group believed in Perfection of Beauty, the other group believed in Perfection of Survival. The group that believed in perfection of Beauty perfected the human form according to beauty and set their creations upon Arborea; the Forest planet.

The group that believed in perfection of survival redesigned the human form to survive on Archaeron. And placed that group of humans upon Archaeron. While the group that believed in beauty left their creations to propagate themselves; the one devoted to survival soon found themselves underseige by their creations within 30 years of creation. Few of the ancients left Archaeron alive -- they dubbed their creation "Orc." While the Arborea group dubbed their creation, "Elf."

The Golden Age of the Ancients was for two thousand years -- until a brown dwarf star crossed the orbit of Galatea. The chaos that ensued forced the Ancients to leave Galatea, while some Ancients stayed to survive the Long Night. The Brown Dwarf was dubbed "The Destroyer" by the Ancients and then the Brown Dwarf star completed it's perihelion in its orbit and swung forward to continue on it's way.

Two hundred years, the Ancients returned to Galatea, and began the Silver Age.


The Silver Age

The Silver Age of Galatea was when the Ancients expanded again. The Ancients created new wonders, and helped their fellow Ancients understand the high technology that they had. The Silver Age continued until Ancient Expansion uncovered an alien force of a most evil intent. This alien Empire has been expanding into the Ancient Human Realm for the past five thousand years and has proved a threat to the Galactic Community. The alien force were creatures that looked like humanoid mollusks -- with ten tentacles around their beak like mouths. And they possessed powerful psionic powers.

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The Ancients had to fight a war with them, and they were insidious as they spread. Many people fled their power. Their enemies invaded many planets forcing many races to Galatea: Merfolk, Lizardfolk, halflings, centaurs, gnomes (which came under their own power, scary!), dwarves, giants, kobolds, and of course -- the Elves (who called themselves the Eladrin) and orcs that retained their shamanistic ways.

The war took two thousand years, but finally the Ancients made it to the homeworld of their molluskian enemies. They razed the planet, burning it and sterilizing it of all life. Finally, they exploded the planet by altering it's orbit so that it plunged into one of its Suns; making sure that all of the enemy was destroyed.

Their resources exhausted, the Ancients blasted off many colony ships to their home galaxy in case they lost. Indeed, they did. The end of the Silver Age came and again came the dark ages. After the survivors learned how to smelt copper the Destroyer came, flipping Galatea's axis again so that South became North and vice versa. It was this event that signaled the coming of the goblins.


The Goblin Invasion

The Goblin Invasion was an invasion of a species that bred itself into three castes: Those who make and sell (goblins), and those who war (hobgoblins), and those who shock others into war (bugbears). Along with them are ogres -- big muscled brutes that had one head or two. The copper aged humans and other races were no match except for the application of magic.

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But the goblins captured most of the orcs and most Eladrin territory. Then they transformed them by introducing the orcs and elves to demon worship and altering their minds. The goblins then taught the elves and the orcs the secrets of Steel Making. They dubbed their new creations the Makonde horde, which changed their skin color from brown to green; and the Eladrin the Pelagasir Elves after their leader. Then they released them.

The Pelagasir descended on Eladrin lands, conquering and enslaving all before them. Unable to conquer all the Eladrin, the Eladrin who were left lived in colonies that their nation had established that were beyond the reach of the Pelagasir. While the orcs fought the humans and harried them and caused much consternation.

It took an alliance of Men, Free Orcs, and Elves who marched on the goblin capital to break their power. The final battle of the invasion was decisive, as the Free Races destroyed the goblins capital city and most of their technology and forced them to disperse through out the land. Thus was the end of the Bronze Age of Galatea.

THE IRON AGE

The Secrets of Smelting Iron and Steel spread among the people. The humans expanded this knowledge and soon learned the Riddle of Mithril from the Dwarves. Conversely, the demon worshipping orcs learned the riddle of Thorium. Although many orc miners and smelters died from handling Thorium, they managed to improve their steel with small amounts of the metal.

Then came something that changed everything. Well, SIX somethings. Six large ships crashed on Galatea coming from a distant Galaxy. They were: The Bretonia, the Ys, the Rhineland, the America, the Hiroshima, and the Hispanola.

The people on board came from Earth -- in a far distant galaxy called the Milky Way. The Hispanola, Ys, and Rhineland crashed on Hyperia. The Hiroshima landed on Ashera; the far eastern; and no one knew where the America had landed. The Brettonia crashlanded on the island of Anglesey in the Caithness Isles. In no time, the new humans conquered the lands around them. They also integrated into society, their technology having become "lost."

The Brits had conquered most of the Caithness Isles. The French of the Ys formed a new country dubbed Occitania, the Hispanics created Espania, and the Germans recreated Rhineland. They all brought their religions with them, supplanting the worship of the Ancients in many areas. They created a new empire that lasted 700 years. And that was the end of the Iron Age.

The Middle Ages -- the Present

Using the power of the Church, the nations that broke away from the Empire suppressed learning, science, and all knowledge; plunging the world into a new Dark Age. The technology was stagnant, learning was stagnant. The secrets of steel and magic was all that they knew. War became incessant, and the Doctrine of the Church could never be challenged. Until now --

On Angland, which was a penal colony of Caithness for those who were disbelievers or new agers; came a new faith -- the Sacred Light. The brave who stood up for common values started fighting their enemies. The orcs, to maintain their culture, broke away from demon worship and fled to Killyronde and started their own nation. Elves from the ancient land of Massalia conquered Anglesey and made it their new home. And new thoughts arised in human thinking. Thoughts of freedom and exploration to challenge the Church.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Caithness Peasant Dancer


Peasant Dancer by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART

Not all Roleplaying Game images have to be renders. Sometimes, photomanipulations can do the job just as quickly and without a lot of hassle. Well, with a lot of hassle (white backgrounds are best for stock images, you know!)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Title my Campaign Setting

Due to someone else publishing a Map with the title "The Known Lands" on it, I thought I should hold a contest to see what title would make it. Here are the candidates!
  • Crysania: The name of my first campaign setting that I've really had a chance to work on while I was in High School. The campaign was for Rolemaster (1989 Red Box). I named it after Crysania, the cleric that Raistlin fell in love with in the Dragonlance Legends trilogy.
  • The Magical World of Earth
  • The Strange World
  • The Isles of Caithness: Caithness is a name that grabbed me when I first read through GURPS Fantasy (2nd Edition, I think. It was in 1990) now GURPS Banestorm. The name of Caithness comes from a county in Scotland.
  • Hyperia: Hyperion feminized. Hyperia is the name of the European-cultured continent on the Campaign World.
  • The Mystical World of Galatea: Galatea ("She who is milk-white") is a name applied to the statue carved by Pygmalion of Cyprus in Roman Mythology.
  • The World of Terra: Terra is the Latin word for Earth.
Well, vote for your favorites!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Cosmology of the Campaign Setting

(when someone thinks of the same title to your campaign and publishes something before you do, you're in trouble).


COSMOLOGY

Every religion has one, every one has a view of the universe. In our case, it's a solar system. Better get down the physical side rather than the spiritual, since every religion -- Christianity, Orc Shamanism, the Sacred Light, Hinduism, Elven Paganism, Massalian Monotheism, etc; have their own spiritual Cosmology.

But for now we will deal with the Cosmology of my campaign setting as it pertains to the Physical.

The solar system of my Campaign World consists of a G2 type star with a luminosity of 1 in a different Galaxy. The Sun is a G2 yellow star.

Their are 10 planets in the Solar System -- Hermes, Aphrodite, Earth, Ares, Zeus, Hera, Neptune, Charon, and the Destroyer

Hermes is a rocky, terrestial world.

Aphrodite is a rocky, terrestrial world covered by cloud cover.

Earth is the campaign setting planet.

Between Aphrodite and Earth is an Asteroid Belt, the remains of a planet destroyed by a collision with the Destroyer.

Ares is a desert world.

Zeus is an Blue Gas Giant.

Hera is a red Gas Giant

Neptune is a dark blue gas giant.

Charon is a Kupier object.

The Destroyer is a brown Dwarf star that never ignited.

There is one moon that orbits Earth. Ares has no moons. Zeus has twenty moons, and Hera has thirty moons, and a brilliant set of rings. Neptune has nine moons, and Charon has none. The Destroyer has no satellite planets or moons.

Whew! There we go! The physical Cosmology of the Campaign Setting! :D

Atlas Games' Occult Lore

Making up a campaign setting has made me revisit my work and the work of others in the Atlas Games' book Occult Lore. Occult Lore, in my mind, is the definitive piece of work on myriad traditions of magic for d20 for a low fantasy to heroic fantasy game.

My favorite articles are:
  • Alchemy
  • Astrology
  • Elementalism (gee, you think?)
  • Herbalism
  • Oneiromancy
Looking at it strongly, the work we did on Occult Lore was so blatently medieval or Renaissance themed that you'd have no choice but to think that what we did was for a low powered game. And the spells I wrote for Elementalism ranged in power from dinky to Godlike. Compare colored smoke to comet and you will see what I mean. So, why the walk down memory lane? I wanted to add a few things to my Campaign Setting.

After all, it was neat what we did. I am greatful to Atlas Games and their support when we worked on the project. And I'm grateful to God for the opportunity to bring my ideas together under one book, and that most everything I did is open game content.
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