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


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 épices
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?

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
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
~ 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)
~ 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
~ Druid Spell ~
Casting DC: 47
# of Slots: 3
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 1 round/level

Visage of the Lich
~ 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:


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


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.


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.


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 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).


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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Introduction to the Known Lands

Knights,Fantasy Adventure

Yes, for a long time, on this blog, I have been writing down my ideas about the Known Lands. The ideas are disapparent, not very organized, and something of a person with a active Right Brain would write down.

The world you are entering is will appear very familiar and strange at the same time. The Known Lands, on an Earth, is a world much like our own. Its sun and solitary moon are much the same, except the moon has a slight blue cast. The stars, however, are different. Different constellations hang in the sky. The flora and fauna are identical to our Earth's, since this Earth is also an index of DNA. The human cultures have analogs to our historical cultures in the Middle Ages. But, this Earth is different.

It is a magical planet. The wilds of this Earth are prowled not only by lions, tigers and bears. The wilds also harbor griffons, dragons, unicorns, and other magic beasts. Evil spirits rise from their tombs to stalk the night. And humans, the most common race, share the planet with elves, orcs, dwarves, goblins, and numerous others. In some areas, its peaceful. In others, its in conflict and turmoil. This Earth's history was home to the Ancients, humans from another Galaxy who settled this galaxy in order to spread human life. The Ancients created the other races -- mostly elves, orcs, and halflings; through genetic manipulation of their own species to populate certain planets. However, two interstellar wars -- one against a race of cephalopodic humanoids, another against the goblins. It is these two wars that brought the Orcs, Elves, Halflings and all the others to this Earth to find solace.

This Earth is a place where our Earthly fantasies are a reality. To one who is jaded and unimpressed with our world, this Earth has wonders and exotic cultures. It's deserts are just a little hotter, its winters are colder, and its forests more expansive. Wizards and warlocks weave arcane magic, and brave warriors battle creatures of legend. On this Earth, you will find adventure, romance, intrigue, and mystery. Those who yearn to perform great deeds may do so -- if they have the courage.

The Caithness Archipelago

The Game is set on the Continent of Hyperia, with the Continents of Shaleesa to the south and Ashera to the East. Hyperia is like Ancient Europe: forested with mountains and few plains. Ashera is a lot like Asia, and Shaleesa is a continent of deserts and jungle, like Africa. The center of the game takes place in the Caithness Isles or Archipelago. This area is a little larger than the British Isles, plus they are peopled with a familiar culture -- English Culture in the 11th and 12th Centuries A.D. but with some changes.

Caithness itself is the nation forged by Christians, Sacred Lighters, and Pagan humans. To the East is Tir'Tangier, twenty miles off the coast to the west is the sacred isle of Anglesey -- which has been conquered by the violent, and determined Massalian Elves. Fifteen nautical miles to the west is the Island of Killyronde, which is the new home of the orcs and several monstrous races. Caithness shares its land with Scotland and Pictland to the North. And on the Eastern island of Angland some ten miles from the South Eastern shore of Caithness is an island of people in a land that is dominated by the dead.

Fifty nautical miles to the east is the cape of Hyperia, where stands other Christian nations and nations of pagans and infidels -- and cultures of wonder and excitement. Of the three human kingdoms of Caithness: Caithness and Scotland are followers of the Sacred Light and Christian, while Pictland is pagan. Killyronde is Shamanistic, Tir'Tangier is pagan, and Angland is Atheistic. Massalia itself is monotheistic infidels. A final island kingdom, that seventeen miles to the northeast of Caithness, is the island of Kuragos, which is divided between dwarves and halflings. The land is pagan with Christian colonies. Finally, there is the isle of Skara Brae to the north, some six nautical miles beyond Pictland and Scotland. The isle is claimed by humans who claim to be Hindu as well as Pagan.


Like GURPS Fantasy or GURPS Banestorm the religions are presented here are real religions. Shamanism is a real spiritual path of Animism, and Christianity, Hinduism, and Pagan religions are real. There is one pagan religion that is not real in the same sense, this religion is the Worship of the Ancients. Also dominating the religious landscape of Caithness is an entirely atheistic religion -- the Path of the Sacred Light. It's home is in Angland, but the Anglish have spread it to Caithness and Scotland.

How Faith Works

Faith works in the Known Lands according to the Law of Cause and Effect, or in modern parlance: the Law of Attraction. But how a person's faith works is basically up to the GM's conscience, whim, or sense of drama. Although I suggest that the GM study the Law of Attraction and do his or her best to run faith according to the knowledge of that Law. The world works because there is but one God -- but many religions. Its up to you ultimately, GM, to run the world and to make faith work in the game according to your conscience.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Elves, Dark

Dark Elven woman by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART

Those who toil.

Description: The dark Elves are descended from the Eladrin of Arborea. They are a conquered people that are the result of Eugenic breeding as a slave race to the Pelagasir, or the High Elves. Forced to wear clothes, the Dark Elves have slowly become a depraved people deprived of their basic freedoms to rule themselves.

Once in the ancient past, the Eladrin were one people. However, during the War of the Ancients a group of Eladrin was forced to flee Aborea their ancient homeland. Cut off from the planet Arborea, the Eladrin lost their magical glow in their eyes, becoming in short; the Elves. The elves split into different tribes: the fair elves of Arcadia, the Pelagasir of the Mountains, and the brown elves of Nuitari. However, Nuitari has faced invasions from the Pelagasir, destroying many cities and taking many of the brown elves of the tropical climes away into captivity.

Hundreds of years of breeding, slavery, rape, and bondage has transformed the brown elves from their African faces and body types into body types that more typify the High Elves. In the age of the nation of Tir'Tangeir, the dark elves, as they have come to be known, live as simple peasants and serfs to their High Elven overlords.

Over the years, the Dark Elves have become quite fed up with their serfdom and they are looking for ways to break their serfdom and to gain freedom. Either to start their own self styled kingdom somewhere or carve their own nation out of the Tir. The High Elves of Tir'Tangier is becoming somewhat tiresome and the old traditions of Dark Elf being serf and peasant upholding the High Elven overlords is becoming frankily . . . a problem. Still, the dark elf fights with resolve and studies arcane magic of their own, creating small libraries in their homes and learning from human wizards from Caithness.

Into this formenting chaos comes two cults: one dedicated to piece, and one dedicated to overthrow. The latter is brought about the self styled prophetesses of the Spider Queen, who whisper promises of dark elven domination over their High Elf masters. They whisper of a nation where they will be the overlords. A nation ruled by dark elves and controlled by Dark Elves created from the bones of Tir'Tangier itself. No one Dark Elf is master over all in this scenario, but all dark elves will be masters. This movement has flocked many to the Queen of Spiders and her prophetesses, but some wise women who remember the old stories, believe that it is Anansi the Spider up to his old tricks again.

Eilistraee by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART
The second movement is that of a moon goddess. The priests of the moon goddess also promises freedom, but the will to uproot and leave their masters for another land where they can be free. The priests and priestesses of the Moon Goddess call themselves the Luminari of the elves, and that the moon goddess carries a sword and is usually nude to represent freedom and fighting for one's freedom. At least to the Dark Elves.

The dark elves harbor little love for other races such as the halflings, and the humans, who are aligned with the High Elves. They have been an enslaved race for so long that they covet freedom and the ability to strike at their hated foes. Some dark elves harbor dreams of conquest and take over of all the Caithness isles. Others harbor dreams of let live and let bygones be bygones and dream of uprooting themsleves and plant themselves on new soil in a fabled lost land across the sea.

Appearance: Dark elves once had African faces, but centuries of interbreeding with High Elves and Eugenic manipulation has caused their faces to gain a Caucasian bone structure. Their skin ranges from gray to dusky brown, and their hair ranges from stark white to platinum, to a deep blue and violet. Males are lightly built, as the race tends to be ectothermic. Females are also lightly built ranging from lithe to slightly voluptuous. Unlike the orcs, which have been bred to be mesothermic, an elf looks like a delicate flower: but this is very wrong to assume. Eye colors include blue, green, golden, neutral, violet, and red.

Technology: As a whole, dark elves enjoy the technology level of the High Elves; which is Tech level 4 in GURPS terms. Dark elves have the wheel, they enjoy roads, they have the astrolabe and other implements of navigation. However, they mostly use Tech Level 3 -- Medicine isn't advanced, and they are forced to toil for the High Elf overlords.

Religion: The dark elves are caught between two extreme religions. One espousing vengeance, pride, war, and violence and the other espousing freedom. There isn't any middle ground except for High Elven religion, but that seems corrupt to the typical dark elf since the High Elf priesthood has beguiled most of the whole race into knowing that being poor is a virtue and that having riches is an evil beyond the pale. As a result, the dark elves resent and hate the rich for their abundance when they have so little as a race. Some dark elves are turning to Christianity to solve their Spiritual problems, entreating the humans for missionaries to teach them the Christian Gospel.

Naming: Dark elves use high elf parlance to name their children, but some who follow the Spider Queen has come up with their own unique names. Others look to their ancient heritage for naming.

Dark Elf Traits:
These traits are in addition to the high elf traits, except where noted.
  • +2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma.
  • Darkvision out to 120 feet. This trait replaces the high elf’s low-light vision.
  • +2 racial bonus on Will saves against spells and spell-like abilities.
  • Automatic Languages: Common, Elven, Massalian. Additional languages include: Abyssal, Aquan, Draconic, Drow Sign Language, Gnome, Goblin. This trait replaces the high elf’s automatic and bonus languages.
  • Favored Class: Wizard (male) or rogue (female). This trait replaces the high elf’s favored class.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Orcs

Talun-karku and Khepri by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART
To everyone outside of their lands, the orcs are nothing more but rapine savages. They are a barbaric race that barely knows how to eat with a fork or a spoon, much less than a knife. Orcs would sooner rape a human than they would try to marry one of their own kind. The rape is irrespective of gender, which does make them monstrous in human eyes. They are cunning, they are cruel, and nothing has been done to fade the memories of the wars against the orcs of the past. In time, the Makonde tribe of orcs: a loose gathering of tribes really, became the horde and was used for warfare for many days.

That is, until two young orcs changed everything for the Horde. The two young orcs became the leaders of the Makonde, slaying the former Warchiefs and the dark warlocks who guided them. They were brothers, Anghâsh Greywulf and Talûn-karkû. Born of Darûk, known as the rat; the brothers became known in battle. However, they felt that war had consumed the orcs. So, they carefully planned an idea that would preserve their race. And in a major campaign against the humans of Caithness, Anghash and Talûn-karkû made their move. They slew Warchief Shakgriig, known as the the Hammer and killed most of the leaders of the Shadow Council. After that, the orc horde was defeated and the brothers led what few clans would join them into isolation. With Anghâsh Greywulf as the leader, and his brother Talûn-karkû as the Shaman; they reshaped the tribes of the Makonde into clans and led them to the lands of Kallirond across the sea to forge a new nation.

The orcs are brutal in combat to be sure. But they fight with a style, a grace, and a passion that matches the best fencing student. The orcs believe that skill in battle brings them honor and prestige among their peers. This concept of honor was brought into orc culture by Talûn-karkû, who introduced personal honor as a step towards law and order for the orcs. The adoption of honor is much more thorough than many believe. Honor, the orcs believe, is what separates the savage orcs from the civilized orcs.

The Orcs, known as the Makonde horde, is one of the most populous races of the Caithness Isles. They control two fourths of the island of Kallirond, forging a new nation in the process. While the elves of Massalia, Tir'Tangier, and the humans of Caithness and Umber, and the strange people of the island of Saxony regard them as brutish and savage; they have managed to create their own complex society.

Technology: Orc technology is an oddity. In GURPS (General Universal Roleplaying System) terms its tech level 0; they use animal skins, leather, and other primitive devices. They don't have the wheel, and they don't have organized roads or other devices of transportation. However, they are capable of smelting iron and creating steel. As weapon smiths, they are unparralleled, creating more flexible weapon blades. They have the astrolabe, an aid in Navigation, and they also have managed to create a government under one person. They do not, however, have walled fortresses. Their main building materials are wood, stone, horn, and leather. The boats they use are still paddle boats, but they are quickly developing sails. They managed to domesticate cotton and grains. So they are Neolithic (tech level zero) but very advanced in navigation, metalworking, and government.

Appearance: 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 than most males (and some of them are equal in stature to their male counterparts), having broad shoulders and muscular, powerful bodies. Males range from muscular to husky, and females range from cut to voluptuous to husky.

Orcs tend to have bristly hair and beards, often black or brown in color. Their skin ranges from a light green to a dark drab olive. Eyes range in color from a fierce red to a pale blue. Orcs have broad, flat noses. Males have tusk-like teeth jutting from their lower and sometimes upper
jaws. Females have fangs. Both sexes have large, pointed ears. They favor clothes of hide, and armor and arm themselves with a variety of gear.

Names: Male names stem from the Black Speech, while female names are Ancient Egyptian and Indian. Male names: Aklash, Anghâsh, Bagronk, Búbhoshum, Burzum, Dugbúrz, Ghâshbúrz, Glob, Globuk, Globum, Gûlbúbhosh, Gûlburzum, Gûlghâsh, Ologbúrz, Pushdug, Sharkû, Snagabúrz, Snagaburzum, Snagaghâsh, Snagagûl, Snagasharkû, Talûn-karkû, Urukbúrz

Female names: Afrikaisi, Akana, Bahiti, Banafrit, Dendera, DJABENUSIRI, EBIO, EMUISHÉRÉ, Femi, Halima, Haqikah, Hasina, Hathor, HETSHEPSIT, Iboni, Irisi, Jendayi, Khait, Khepri, Monifa, NAFRETIRI, Nofritari, Theoris, Zahra

Orc Racial Traits
• +2 Stamina, –2 Intellect. Orcs are incredibly tough,
but they are more likely to follow their passions instead
of reason.
• Medium: As Medium creatures, orcs have no special
bonuses or penalties due to their size.
• Orc base land speed is 30 feet.
• Low-Light Vision: Orcs can normally see two times
farther than a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight
and similar conditions of poor illumination. Orcs retain
the ability to distinguish color under these conditions.
• Battle Rage: Orcs long ago learned how to harness
the ferocity that dwells within their fi erce hearts. This
ability functions exactly as a barbarian’s rage, except for
the differences noted below.
The orc may rage only once per day.
If the orc belongs to a class that already
allows access to a rage-like ability (such as
the barbarian class), the orc’s racial battle rage
ability allows him to rage one additional time per day.
Regardless, an orc may rage only once per encounter.
• +2 racial bonus on Handle Animal (wolf) and
Intimidate checks. Intimidate is a class skill for all orcs.
• +1 racial bonus on attacks against humans. Orcs
have a longstanding enmity with humans.
• Weapon Familiarity: Orcs may treat orc claws of
attack as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.
• Automatic Languages: Common and Orcish.
• Bonus Languages: Goblin, Low Common, Massalian, Taur-ahe.
Orcs tend only to learn the languages of their allies.
• Favored Class by clan: Silverwolves: Shaman; Desert Vipers: Rogue; Black Talons: Hunter; Elks: hunter; Battered Axe: Barbarian; Shining Sword: Fighter; Flaming Sword: Warlock. A multiclass orc’s favored class does not count when determining whether he suffers an experience point penalty for multiclassing.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Orcs and Klingons

Today, in modern fantasy, the Orc is the fantasy version of the Klingon. Klingons, with their value on Honor and Society, have influenced how orcs are treated today in Fantasy gaming such as World of Warcraft. Today, there is little difference between an Orc and a Klingon except when you remove the bone ridges, add tusks, a little nose, and a wide jaw; then you color the skin green.

Orc Shaman by da-answer by ~warcraft on deviantART

Orcs in World of Warcraft and also in D&D are visibly influenced by the Klingon race. To a klingon, his honor is his life. To a Warcraft orc, honor is also his life. Klingons find glory in battle. In Warcraft, Orcs find glory in being Victorious in battle as well. Klingon society was pretty much one dimensional during the ToS series. Tolkien introduced his orcs as being basically one dimensional as well.

By Star Trek: the Next Generation; more of Klingon society was revealed. Kahless the Unforgettable was expanded upon, so was Klingon religion. They were shown to have a deeper understanding of Honor. And everything from martial arts, to becoming of age, death, marriage, to cuisine had been touched upon.

Inevitably, all of this revelation of klingons served to change the Orcs forever. In World of Warcraft, the orcs have their Khaless -- Warchief Thrall holds the position of Khaless. In World of Warcraft, Orcs relish victory and honor, another Klingon parallel. The major changes were how the Horde operated.

Orcs in Warcraft are shamanistic. They worship the Spirits of Nature and seek peace and communion with nature. Klingon religion is much more deist, even though the Gods were killed by the first Klingon couple (alluding to the warlike nature of the Klingon, or perhaps an approach to authority). Orcs in Warcraft have some things in common with civilization -- they have an intelligence agency (the Shattered Hand) and an element of demonic influence (the Shadow Council). However, I believe a lot more can be explained. You've already seen tidbits of what can be explained within Orc Culture of the Known Lands. As civilization grows within the Orc communities of the Known Lands, so does culture and so does Art.

But as you can see, the Klingons influenced Tolkien's race of miscreants. Thank god that Tolkien's Orcs, the name and the idea -- are public domain. Although different from the Orcs of Lord of the Rings, the ugly big green men are evolving and will continue to evolve. Perhaps, maybe, orc culture will come to be influenced by other fictional sources other than the Klingons. Maybe, if Babylon 5 is continued to be viewed, creators of tomorrow will see the Narns as a resource of inspiration for orc societies of later works.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

4th Edition: A boat dead in the water?

What is it about D&D and WotC's dropping of the Open Game License? Well, Greywulf looked at it pretty hard as to why it was dropped. But there are a few disenting opinions. My answer is that the reason why 4th Edition sales have dropped off is that:

I. WotC treats its customer base like children (or is that Hasbro?). It must be one of the two.
A. Changing the STL back when the Book of Erotic Fantasy was announced.
B. WotC not sharing all their toys after an appropriate time has passed.
C. Dropping the OGL and using the GSL. Only to make the GSL so restrictive that its legal language scares away people who could be providing good 3rd party support.
D. The revoking of all their PDFs, leaving the only way you can get a Wizards' PDF is through filesharing.

Really, most of WotC's customers now are my age. Some of us smoke, some of us drink, some of us have kids of our own who we are sharing the hobby with, and some of us still think of ways to change the World like the Hippy and Flower Child generations before us. We are adults now, and we are still treated like children. By companies run by people our age who grew up with us and the times we've experienced.

Another reason why WotC's 4th edition is dropping off in sales is that some people who played 4th Edition have decided that the edition doesn't work for them. Case in point, my cousin Eric and his group all made the decision that 4th Edition does not work for them and so they stopped playing it and took up Pathfinder instead. So, why is that WotC's 4th Edition of D&D doesn't work for a lot of people who played D&D for years?

I can't personally answer that question. All I can say is that Hasbro/WotC has not treated me or my peers as adults. But we are in our thirties now, we are an age group that can really affect change. We are an age group bringing up our own children, and we are an age group that has come into our own. Some of us are representatives in Congress. Some of us are Senators, and some of us could be Governors of our states in the not to distant future. So, why the missed love? Why the missed appreciation? Why doesn't Hasbro/WotC just treat us like adults and have the good faith to produce 3rd party support for 4th Edition or to buy PDFs?

Well, besides we Libertarians and our case against Copyright, there is a Pirate Party that has been organized. Apparently, the Copyright Laws give private companies to police their IP, and they don't really care whether IP is a myth or not. This includes WotC.

I really think people in the World are getting fed up with Copyright. The U.S. Pirate Party, the Swedish Pirate Party, and other Pirate Parties all have platforms that fight abuse of copyright and to reform copyright to make it more liberal and just for all, and not only gives a few the power. I support my fellow Americans in the reformation of the Copyright Acts, and the revocation of the DMCA. While I can't answer any personal feelings about 4th Edition, I do have personal feelings about Copyright abuse.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Love and Sex in the Known Lands

Okay, so I need to talk about Love and Sex. Eventually, someone will play erotic campaigns in the Known Lands, with all the fun and consequences that can result. So, lets take a look at how Love and Sex works in the Known Lands.


Humans, with their own creation myths, sex is often reinforced as a sin (in the case of both the Religion of the Divine Light and Christianity), something to pursue for pleasure (Worship of the Ancients), or something good and used to seek enlightenment and creativity (in the case of Tantric cults and philosophies). On the whole, while humans run the gamut of sexual pursuits: heterosexuality, homosexuality, masturbation, monogamy, single-partner, casual, recreational, and more . . . the people of Caithness is a closed, restrictive society when it comes to sex. Nudity is not something to be seen, although there are no laws against public nudity. Taboos are believed according to each religion: Generally the populace of Caithness looks down on all the cultural taboos except perhaps Masturbation. Incest with extended family is an exception: in a Medieval World, 1st and 2nd cousins may find each other attractive and may even marry.

Marriage in Caithness is "Till DEATH DO YOU PART!" or "For time and all eternity." Marriage is mostly monogamous, although its a shame as to look at the statistics there are often two women for every man. Polygamous weddings and group weddings are frowned up on by the Government. In some cities its down right unlawful to take more than one wife at a time. Other communities, especially places isolated from others, polygamous and group marriages may be performed. In very few human communities, the Pagan element may do away with marriage altogether.

However, in the great cities of Caithness, Prostitution -- or the more colloquial term "pillowing" carries on like no one cares. The Crown frowns on prostitution, but it's nigh unenforceable. Every once in a while, the Crown rounds up prostitutes who are not apart of the Courtesan's Guild or the Prostitution Guilds and makes examples of them. Courtesans are protected by the Law, and Prostitution Guilds depend on bribing the local shire reeve to continue operating without molestation.


Dark Elves
The Dark Elves, or the peasantry of the High Elves, have been under control of the High Elves that they are repressed sexually. Dark Elves (characterized by darkened skin), are clothies -- worse than humans. Nudity in public to the Dark Elf is a grave sin. A dark elf would report to a High Elf on her own kin if she is naked in public. This repression by High Elves have created extremes.

Dark Elves are big on Sadomaschochism, Bondage, and Master/slave scenarios. Homosexuality is rife in dark elf society, a dark elf homosexual is more overtly homosexual than a human would be. Put a dark elf homosexual in a sea of men, and the dark elf would be propositioning everyone to satisfy his lust and desire not only to see male genitalia but to play with them as well.

Dark elves commonly perform sex clothed, getting a dark elf naked is really hard to do, as some dark elves have been known to go catatonic unless in front of her husband or his wife. Dark Elves believe that nudity is strictly between man and wife. Clothes are worn to the extreme, and they are really publically repressed. However, when a dark elf maid is often seen on the slave auction block, such exotic beauty is often bid upon by anyone. As a slave, a dark elf maid can release her inhibitions and become the mythical highly desirable sex slave to her Master; who ever that may be: human, elf, orc, or otherwise. However, some cool heads prevail and some dark elves do fall in love.

But due to dark elf religion, which itself is extreme, being affected and influenced by the High Elves as well as depraved dark elves seeking sexual release in the worship of he Spider Queen; the indoctrination exists. The dark elves, sexually repressed, see little hope except in the Tantric religions of the humans. A few dark elves studied these religions, lived them, and experienced visions of a goddess of the moon which teaches freedom of expression. Dark elves who participate in this religion participate in a mystery cult of tantric sex, passion, and freedom.

The High Elves
The Descendants of Pelagasir, the High Elves, control most other Elven societies in Tir'Tangier -- including the grey elves (which were the Fair Elves the Pelagasiri conquered), and the dark elves (which they conquered as well). The High Elves and their polytheism conquered most of the fair elven territories and used repressive sex doctrines and religion to cow the other elves. However, the High Elves themselves are very open about sex in their society. Tir'Tangier is the only nation in the Caithness Isles where sex is practiced openly by the aristocracy.

Nudity or near nudity is common among High Elves, after all it is their right to be nude. It's a High Elf's privilege to be naked in nature. It's the high elf's right to mate with whom they please, after all they are the Elven Aristocracy. Marriage among High Elves happen to be open, casual relationships. This often means that marriage is a casual affair where the couple often live together. Sex is casual among the high elves as love is non-existent.

Every once in a while, the high elves participate in drunken debauched orgies or celebrations of fertility in order to give every elf a chance to mate and feel close to someone. These are often held in isolation away from the eyes of their peers. Fertility nights are the rites of spring where the elven goddess of Love is celebrated and sex is joyful. The ugly and the unfortunate in love are always invited and are given a chance to have sex and to feel loved intimately. The debauchery orgy takes place around harvest time where sex can be explored in the areas of the taboo. Yes, the High Elves, its seems don't have a care in the world. But everything changed when the Massalians took over the sacred isle of Anglesey.

Massalian Elves
When the Massalian Elves conquered the sacred isle of Anglesey, the island sacred to druids of all races and under jurisdiction of the High Elves of Tir'Tangier, it brought a wake up call as the sacred land was violated.

The Massalian Elves are a driven people, they have lost their brothers, their ancestors in the Pelagasiri elven invasions of their ancient homeland. They lost Massalia to an invasion of trolls and ogres when they were driven out of Occitannia. They lost their capital, the ancient City of the Sun; to the ravages of ogres, trolls, and hobgoblins. Driven from their home, they conquered Anglesey with perfection.

The Massalians, as they are much more warlike, surprisingly treat sex as a natural affair. The Massalian culture is patriarchal and dominated by the rougher sex. When they founded Caer Massalia they did something that they vowed that they never do. They enslaved the High Elves. The Massalians Elves are slowly creating a new race of elves from their slaves, recreating the mythical fair elves.

The High Elves of New Massalia (Anglesey) are never allowed to wear clothes. They are nude all the time. The humans of New Massalia are also never allowed to wear clothes, since they are also a conquered people. Only the massalian elves are allowed to wear clothes as they were the conquerors.

Massalian Elves are mostly heterosexual, and take mates for life. Sex for them is a way to experience the higher joy of life, and many use human tantric techniques in their lovemaking. Many are faithful to their wives, since they must preserve the species. Although there are some Massalian elves that take slaves for "the pleasure of themselves and the health of their bodies."

Male slaves are often used for manual labor: stonecutting, quarrying, and heavy construction work. But the rare beautiful male slave may be taken as a pleasure slave by either Massalian elven women or men. Female slaves have it easier. They are reserved for menial work, or pleasure. Sometimes, however, love may spark between an elven man and his elven or human slave, and love slavery is often the result.

Often, offspring may issue forth from a slave. This offspring is usually considered legitimate or apart of the family as a Massalian. Whether they are half-man or full elf. Some are also regarded as bastards to be enslaved by the more evil Massalian elves. The most depraved use their slave-offspring in heinous rituals. Such people, when discovered, are put to death to remove the evil from Massalia.

Homosexuality is accepted as long as it is behind closed doors and, and the homosexual Massalian elf does his duty to sire offspring. Also Homosexual elves are expected to form long lasting relationships with their wives and their lovers, as long as they don't make their homosexuality a political means to an end. Annoyingly promiscuous homosexual Massalian elves may face execution by stoning, as open promiscuity is considered a capital sin. Homosexual Massalian elves who make their sexuality or marriage with their partner a political means to an end are often banished from New Massalia to live among the High Elves of Tir'Tangier. This also means prostitution is also a capital sin to the Massalians.

Bestiality and zoophilia is considered to be a grave sin, and often the bestial Massalian elf may see his beloved animal summarily executed in front of his eyes. Then the offender may be drawn and quartered in order to remove the evil from Massalia. Masturbation is frowned on, but seen as a necessary substitute. Necrophiliacs are given a chance to change their ways, if not they are banished from elven society. Sex with people outside Massalian culture is definitely frowned upon, and children produced from intercultural relationships can cause trouble. And Rape is potentially harmful. The offender may be forced to marry the person they raped if she were a virgin, if not then he is killed as rape of a married person is a capital offense.

Despite this: Massalian Culture accepts multiple partners, polygamy, and polyandry. Group marriage is also accepted as long as the love between all partners is proven true. Although Massalian religion is male dominated, sex is seen as a way to reinforce and strengthen relationships among those loved. Lovers are encouraged to have sex, since strengthened intimate relationships lead to a healthier society. Even sex is allowed among close relations, as long as children aren't produced.

Love is a very important emotion to Massalian elven culture. Still, couples where the love is unrequited on one side can happen. It's tolerated, after all you can't force anyone to love, no matter how terrible the case is. However, divorce is always a possibility. Massalians allow divorce if Adultery is the result of one or the other partner, but in that case the court often sides with the Man.

A Massalian elven woman may only sue for Divorce if she can prove that her husband is neglecting his duties to his children and his own wife. If it can be proved, then the writ of divorcement is granted. A man may sue for divorce from his wife often on the first case of discovered adultery, since the woman has proven not to love him. Predatory adulterers, who prey on weak family bonds face banishment or if their adulterous affair destroys a family, may face death if they proved that they wrecked the life of an entire family.

There are no alimony payments made by an adulterer, but he or she may find themselves excommunicated. Also, adulterers are treated worse than thieves, and an adulterous noble may be stripped of his title, his lands, his arms, and his family name.

Unlike the high elves, the Massalian elves do not see love as a game, or a casual pastime. Love is the lifeblood that pumps through Massalian culture, making it alive and giving the people it's driving force. Love is the most important part of Massalian culture -- even though the Massalian elves are quick to make war and circumcise their males at twelve years of age.


Among all the races, the orcs strive to build civilization from a disjuncted, and non-unified tribal system. One of the revolutions made by the War Chief Anghâsh Greywulf is the reformation of the orc tribes into clans. Every clan has a say in the councils of the new Orcish nation.

The orcs, with their strong myths of their gods being birthed from the cosmic egg, marrying, and then making love to produce their race shows how they accept sex. Orcish sexuality isn't the barbarous, bestial thing that the Clan of the Battered Axe often display. It can be rough, or it can be gentle. It can be sublime, or it can be casual. Sex is an accepted part of orc life and culture.

Since civilizing and rediscovering their Shamanistic roots, the totem spirits of each clan have returned to the orcs to guide them in their Shamanistic ways. The orcs have mostly put away their bestial "slam, bam thank you ma'am!" way of sex. The liberation of women by the War Chief Anghâsh Greywulf also changed their culture in ways that surprise the most jaded human. In an effort to civilize his people, Anghâsh Greywulf removed the chattel slavery state of orc women and reinstituted marriage among all the clans.

Women now demand the right to be pleased by their men, and the right to orgasm; which has been denied them for so long during the time the tribes worshiped demons and demon gods. Reconnected with nature, the orcs have reconnected with love and sex.

Love has long been a foreign emotion. During the dark time, an orc who felt love for another was seen as weak and brutally sexing with your chosen mate was seen as a strength and the measure of a warrior. Overpowering a woman, orc or otherwise, was seen as a rite of passage for the young orc during the dark times. Especially if the union resulted in a child (which usually happened among humans; which made them a favorable race to raid and rape). Talûn-karkû, who's name is ironically the orc name for semen, is the present War Chief. He instituted the value of Honor among the orcs and named his clan -- the Silverfangs, to be the paragons of Honor.

From now on, Honor is what guides the young orc's life. Honor in Battle, Honor in Life, and Honor in Love and Sex. Honor is Integrity to the young orc. Among the orcs, Chastity before marriage is considered part of integrity and Honor. Mating before one can lawfully take a mate is considered to be a grave dishonor since it makes the old guard remember the days when brutality and rape was acceptable and even encouraged.

An orc who has been dishonored in this way is shunned by his clan and can only redeem himself by proving his honor by marrying the girl he dishonored. Then he and his mate are expected to stay together to maintain the honor of himself and the girl.

Adultery is considered a dishonor. The cuckolded husband has a right to call a trial by Council, while the accused may feel that his Honor is slighted and has a right to call a Trial by Combat. If a trial of Council is called, the dishonored orc has to pay in recompense in kind. Although, if a Trial by Combat is demanded by the accused, he must redeem himself to First Blood. If the accuser draws first blood, then the accused is guilty. If the accused draws first blood, then he is considered innocent. Aside from that . . .

The Orc Nation is still new, and is still trying to find its true morals and refine its culture. As the clans continue to exist as united, a unified set of values towards sex may come to life. However, each Clan has its own way of viewing sexuality and has its own taboos.

The Silverfangs

The Silverfangs view adultery, homosexuality, sodomy, multiple partners, sex toys, prostitution, transvestitism, bestiality, necrophilia, pedophilia, rape, and unmarried sex to be taboos against personal, family, and Clan honor. Marriage, chastity, and fidelity are considered to be honorable since the Wolf share these traits.

The Desert Vipers
The Desert Vipers, since they have their roots deep in the desert, are strongly patriarchal. A woman desert viper have a lot to prove to her peers that she is actually considered equal. Despite this, male homosexuality is not considered to be honorable, but is considered to be acceptable among the desert vipers. In fact, initiation rites are often had among young male vipers which they are "tutored" by older male vipers in the fraternity. Back when the clan was a desert raiding tribe, this served to build comraderie among the troops. Among female desert vipers, lesbianism is considered an aberration. However, young female desert viper orcs, in order to show that they are the equals of men; have their own "tutoring" rites among the sorority.

Other than that, Marriage is considered to be honorable within the clan, as along as the homosexual relationship stopped altogether.

The Clan of the Battered Axe

The Clan of the Battered Axe is the only orc clan where homosexuality is openly encouraged. Homosexuality is considered honorable among the males of the Clan of the Battered Axe. This is meant to create comraderie among the troops as the Clan of the Battered Axe is the only clan that raids. There is even a special unit of Battered Axe warriors and barbarians called the Brothers of the Bear where everyone in the unit is openly homosexual. Although the bear isn't homosexual in and of itself, the lifestyle somehow encourages ferocity.

Bestiality is considered to be a dishonor in the Clan of the Battered Axe, and so is polygamy. Marriage is seen as a way to continue the race or the clan, and is often regarded as a simple civil contract rather than something spiritually binding.

The Clan of the Black Talons

The Clan of the Black Talons regard adultery, male homosexuality, sodomy, incest, birth control, promiscuity, and sadomasochism to be dishonorable. Lesbianism is accepted, since the Clan of the Black Talons are strangely matriarchal. Bestiality is frowned upon, and open bestiality is regarded as dishonorable; however hunters among the Black Talons have been known to practice it.

The Brown Elk Clan

The combination of two tribes: the Elk and the Impala, the Brown Elk clan regard marriage as honorable, but attach a dishonorable taboo to almost everything except Masturbation, sexual positions, and bestiality. But only in a special way. Every spring, the Brown Elk clan would practice a fertility festival where a virgin must mate with one of the livestock in order to represent the Clan's binding and relationship with the land. The practice was had among the Impala tribe in the ancient days to show the tribe's connection to their totem. In this case, an impala was mated with the Shaman in order to ensure that the link between tribe and totem wasn't broken.

The Clan of the Flaming Sword

The clan of warlocks, and their Shadowy Ways, keep their attitudes of sex: what ever they are, secret. Everything about sex is secret to the Clan. Some whisper of sex with demons, others whisper of sadomasochism, homosexuality, and strange tastes within the clan. But among the Clan of the Flaming Sword, a clansman and clanswoman is expected to keep their sexual attitudes and relations behind closed doors.
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