Friday, July 17, 2015

Wild Seas: Gaffer Grime [Deity]

Gaffer Grime
Title(s): Mr. Grime, The Stink, Ole Stinkwater
Home plane: Plane of Ooze
Power level: Lesser
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Portfolio: Filth, disease, toshers, mudlarks and hidden treasure
Cleric Alignments: Any Chaotic
Domains: Chaos, Ooze, Trickery, Water
Favored Weapon: Billhook (treat as Sickle)
"Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow,And bear their trophies with them as they go: Filth of all hues and colours seem to tell. What street they sail'd from, by their sight and smell; Sweepings from butchers' stalls, dung, guts and blood; Drown'd puppies, stinking sprats, all drenched in mud, Dead cats, and turnip tops, come tumbling down the flood." -Jonathan Swift
The vile god known as Gaffer Grime is the patron of corrupted water, disease and the worst filth of the sewers. He appears as a hugely fat man with a wide mouth and filthy beard. Though horribly evil, he occasionally takes a liking to people who dwell in or near sewers, especially those of the tosher and mudlark trades.
Clerics of Gaffer Grime are the scholars amongst scavengers, always ready with sage advice and rough lessons.  There are no priestly raiments for clerics of Gaffer Grime, though a preference for stout boots and layers of clothing to hold off the damp are preferred. Holy symbols are a simple disc of shiny metal that has been gleaned from the muck.

The Cult of The Stink is what passes for a church for Gaffer Grime. Its members are the downtrodden masses of poor in industrialized or otherwise overcrowded cities such as Kana, Huamato and Faladriad. Beggars, thieves, mudlarks, toshers, ferrymen and all who leave on waterways have members in the cult or at least pay their respects regularly. Humans, Orcs, Half-Orcs, Goblins and Gully Dwarves are the most common members. Monsters often associated with the cult are Carrion Crawlers, Rats, Monstrous Vermin, Ghouls, Ghasts, Scrags and Otyughs.
The Cult has shrines tucked away in secret corners of the sewer systems, with at least one major shrine dedicated to the god. Such shrines have at least one full-time guardian, with wandering defenders coming and going. The city-state of Kana is well aware of the cults existence, and more-or-less allows their presence in exchange for maintenance of the drainage system. The fact that abductions and occasional human sacrifice is conducted by the Cult is not made an issue of unless they abduct someone important. It's all very political.

Ooze Domain 
This domain is all about oozes, creatures quite common in the slippery places holy to Gaffer Grime. Clerics of Ole Stinkwater who take this domain are considered disturbing even to other followers of the sewer god.
Granted Powers:  Rebuke or command oozes as an evil cleric rebukes or commands undead. Use these abilities a total number of times per day equal to 3 + the character’s Charisma modifier.
1. Grease (Makes 10-ft. square or one object slippery.)
2. Melf's acid arrow (Ranged touch attack; 2d4 damage for 1 round + 1 round/three level.)
3. Poison (Touch deals 1d10 Con damage, repeats in 1 min.)
4. Rusting grasp  (The caster's touch corrodes iron and alloys.)
5. Evard's black tentacles (1d4 +1/level tentacles grapple randomly within 15 ft.)
6. Transmute rock to mud (Transforms two 10-ft. cubes/level.)
7. Destruction (Kills subject and destroys remains.)
8. Power word, blind (Blinds 200 hp worth of creatures.)
9. Implosion (Kills one creature/round.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Wild Seas: A Piratical Campaign Setting

While pondering campaign settings for my local group, one concept that often pops into my head is a pirate-themed one. A world with deep seas, lots and lots of islands, and endless opportunity for swashbuckling adventure. And so I am throwing together a campaign setting with all of those elements, mixed with the basics of D&D. I wont be overly detailing too much of the setting, forcing me to "fly by the seat of my pants" so that I and my players will be continually surprised.
System-wise I will be using the Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition rules (not 3.5 or Pathfinder). This is mostly because all of my players either have the books, or can easily get them via online sources. Of course it is child's-play to convert any of this to other systems, particularly d20 ones.
Of course some basic setting details are needed. As follows:

Each Hex is five miles on the side.
The overall setting is a tropical world that is mostly covered with shallow seas. Two major continents and innumerable islands dot the seas. On land, well watered jungle and swamps predominate with only a few small areas of desert or grassland.
Animal life is abundant and fairly typical for a fantasy setting, though large horses are rare. Most of the animals you will see here are those you will see in pirate movies, Sindbad flicks and tarzan movies. Sea-monsters are abundant, with some really powerful ones such as Krakens, sea-dragons and far weirder things showing up from time to time.
The major Sea Power is the nation of KANA (see map), a sea-going power that is looking to control the shipping lanes. It is ruled by a parliamentary government and overseen by Queen Tetradia, a mighty wizardess and shrewd politician. All other nations are city-states and small kingdoms.

The standard races found in the PHB are allowed. Elves in this setting come from the Green Moon Verda, and only dwell in small settlements. There are more half-elves than elves. Orcs are also allowed as player characters and are more advanced than Orcs on other worlds, entering into trade with other races. Orcs and Half-Orcs typically work in the fouler and less admirable labor jobs of the seas, notably Whaling, deep sea fishing and other messy work.

The player characters will all be employees of Adnan, Volnon and Gench Shipping Inc., a private shipping firm that handles specialized cargoes. This is code for transporting and selling stolen cargo as well as conducting normal trade runs. The crew is expected to protect goods for the Company, deal with pirates (who have to sell loot to someone) and find buyers.
The Wayward Sun is a modified Caravel, designed to be fast, tough and able to maneuver amongst islands and reefs. The vessel is equipped with a single ballistae, but the players are free to equip her more fully if desired. It is preferred that the PC's use magic and their own weapons to defend and/or conceal the vessel, but the DM will not try to broom handle their decisions.
This ship comes equipped with some special equipment, particularly continual flame lamps in the lower deck and hold (mounted), and a barrel of endless salt pork in the kitchen. Other foodstuff, water and supplies must be purchased elsewhere.

Religion in the setting is to be thoroughly nautical. The gods and goddesses of the setting are the sorts of beings that are mentioned in sailors stories. These include such entities as Captain Jonah (the Sailors Devil), Mother Carey (embodiment of the untameable sea), Jack The Fiddler (guardian of Fiddler's Green), Mr. Friday (Demon Lord of Bad Luck) Thomas Mariner (Angel of the Seas Splendour) and others.
Though there are specialist priests, following a specific god or goddess, most of the clerics of the Wild Seas are generalists, revering (or wary of) all of the gods, goddesses and assorted spirits. Such clerics adhere to one of the following Churches:

The Church of Sun and Stars (Sun and Stars)
This church is a society dedicated to the Heavens themselves, the sun, moon and stars used for navigation. The Sun and Stars is the religion of intellectuals, captains, and elves though many still give reference to the gods and goddesses of Wind and Wave (see below). The Church of Sun and Stars teaches that the celestial bodies watch over all of us, and that all wisdom may be gleaned from studying them. Clerics are expected to be clean and well-dressed, often going as scholars or ships officers. Holy symbols are typically worn in plain view around the neck.
Holy Symbol: Astrolabe (pendant)
Cleric Alignments: Any Lawful (LG, LN, LE)
Favored Weapon: Mace
Domains: Sun, Knowledge, Law, Magic, Protection

The Church of Wind and Wave (Mariners Church)
This is the church of the gods and spirits of the air and sea. Like the sea and sky itself, these powers can be both fair and foul, and it takes a wily sort of priest to appease them. The Church of Wind and Wave teaches that the sea is uncontrollable, and that those who look to make their living on or from the sea must appease the many spirits that dwell there. Clerics dress as well-to-do sailors, sea combers and dock hands, and are always experienced in working ships. Rough hands and sea-tanned skins are common. Holy symbols are usually attached to belts or as arm-bands.
Holy Symbol: Carrick Bend Knot
Cleric Alignments: Any non-Lawful
Favored Weapon: Belaying Pin (Club)
Domains: Air, Chaos, Luck, Travel, Water

The Church of The Black Code (Black Code)
The Church of The Black Code is more of a religious philosophy than a true church. Adherents to the Black Code (see below) preach a gospel of keeping faith with your fellows and maintaining discipline on ship as well as rules for settling disputes and punishing oathbreakers. This Code is a set of laws that are a kind of ten commandments of pirates, privateers and others who live off of the sea.
Clerics of The Black Code are walking encyclopedias of sailor superstition, taboos and variations on Black Codes. Vestments are sea-coats, and black scarves or kerchiefs, usually faded or sea-stained. Clerics of the Black Code who achieve 7th level or higher are called Provosts.
Holy Symbol: Blackened silver piece (pendant)
Cleric Alignments: Any
Domains: Fire, Luck, Strength, War
Favored Weapon: Flail or Whip

These are the "Nine Commandments" of Buccaneers, Pirates, Privateers, Salvagers and Smugglers.

I. Every Man Shall obey civil Command; the Captain shall have one full Share and a half of all Prizes; the Master, Carpenter, Boatswain and Gunner shall have one Share and quarter.

II. If any Man shall offer to run away, or keep any Secret from the Company, he shall be marooned with one Bottle of Powder, one Bottle of Water, one small Arm, and Shot.

III. If any Man shall steal any Thing in the Company, or game, to the Value of a Piece of Eight, he shall be marooned or shot.

IV. If any time we shall meet another Marooner that Man shall sign his Articles without the Consent of our Company, shall suffer such Punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit.

V. That Man that shall strike another whilst these Articles are in force, shall receive Moses’ Law (that is, 40 Stripes lacking one) on the bare Back.

VI. That Man that shall snap his Arms, or smoke Tobacco in the Hold, without a Cap to his Pipe, or carry a Candle lighted without a Lanthorn, shall suffer the same Punishment as in the former Article.

VII. That Man shall not keep his Arms clean, fit for an Engagement, or neglect his Business, shall be cut off from his Share, and suffer such other Punishment as the Captain and the Company shall think fit.

VIII. If any Man shall lose a Joint in time of an Engagement, shall have 400 Pieces of Eight ; if a Limb, 800.

IX. If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer present Death.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Trevski: World of Dragons!

Central Myvillion
Trevski is a world that was settled ages ago by dragons (Metallic, Chromatic, and others). The planet itself is a mostly tropical world orbiting the gas giant Kepesk. The world has hich mountains. dense jungles, vast deserts and teeming swamps full of all manner of megafauna from Earth's past including dinosaurs, giant mammals and more contemporary species. Dragons occupy the top of the food chain here, though some carnosaurs and other predators give them some competition. Some dragon species (the Chromatic ones mostly) set their hatchling children loose to live much like predatory dinosaurs, living by tooth, claw and cunning.
The dragons of Trevski once maintained a mighty civilization, served by the Ophidians and Lizardmen. But due to a long and bloody war this greater society was decimated. Now, dragons of  all types are diminished in number, but hanging on. The dragons aren't gone, only reduced and slow-breeding. Some dragon species dwell in or near humanoid lands, though most prefer solitude.
Overall this setting will mix more common fantasy tropes with a "Land of The Lost" feel. An ancient reptilian empire once ruled the world, and its ruins are all over the place. Human and humanoid culture is asserting itself, using ancient magic and new innovations. Culturally, the world is a mixture of petty kingdoms and Renaissance-style merchant kingdoms.

The standard classes found in Blood & Treasure are all available in the Trevsky Campaign Setting. Also included are the Dragon Disciple, Centurion, and She-Devil.

The Three Gods (Religion)
The primary religious figures of the World of Trevski are the three great Draconic Gods; Ao, Bahamut and Tiamat. These three together form a vast system that predominates all religion in the setting. Other faiths and creeds do exist, but are no larger than cult status and revere entities such as Archomentals, Demon Lords and other non-deity beings. The Three Gods of Trevski are:

Ao (True Neutral)
Ao,  the Ninefold Dragon, The Concordant Dragon is the chief deity worshipped by dragons, and to a lesser extent most of the peoples of Trevski. His symbol is a multi-colored metallic disk. Ao prefers to not become directly involved in the affairs of the world, choosing to instead watch over the health of the ecosystem of Trevski. The Ninefold Dragon teaches a doctrine of balance in all things and the sacredness of natural processes. Because of this, his followers maintain hatcheries for several dinosaur species as a food source for dragonkind, and otherwise seek to be considerate of the balance of life.
Priesthood: Priests of Ao are always Druids, worshipping creation and all of its creatures as Druids of Ao are generally dressed like medieval friars or rural squires, practical and well made.

Bahamut (Lawful Good)
Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon, is the King of the Good Dragons. He is a deity of good dragonkind. His symbol is a Blue Star or Blue Dragon on a White Background. Bahamut is very stern and disapproving of evil. He accepts no excuses for foul deeds. On the other hand, he is very compassionate, and has boundless empathy for the weak and downtrodden. He urges his followers to promote good, but to let people fight their own battles when they can, providing healing, information, or temporary safe refuge rather than fighting alongside those who can fight for themselves.
Priesthood: A cleric of Bahamut must be of "Lawful" alignment (LG, CG, NG). They can “turn” or destroy undead creatures as shown on page 57 in the Blood and Treasure Players Guide. Clerics of Bahamut dress as warrior priests and templars, clean and armored. White mantles bearing a blue star are common, though not mandatory.

Tiamat (Lawful Evil)
Tiamat, the Chromatic Dragon, Creator of Evil Dragonkind, the Dragon Queen is the goddess and mother of evil dragons. Her symbol is a five-headed dragon. Tiamat is most concerned with spreading evil, defeating good, and propagating chromatic dragons. She never forgives a slight. Although she is not averse to razing the occasional village, her true schemes are subtle and hard to detect. She has been compared to a puppeteer manipulating her creations from within shadows. She is sometimes called "Her Dark Majesty" or simply "Dark Queen" by her worshippers.
Priesthood: A cleric of Tiamat must be of "Chaotic" alignment (LE, NE, CE) and can rebuke or command undead creatures as shown on page 57 in the Blood and Treasure Players Guide. Such clerics are generally dressed in a manner similar to most animated movie villains, dark and flamboyantly evil looking.

The standard Dwarf/Elf/Orc/Halfling mix of most fantasy campaign settings is nonexistent on Trevski. Rather humankind shares this world with some more primal and reptilian sorts of beings.

Humans (Mankind)
The humans of Trevski are the descendants of humans snatched from Earth by the Ophidians to serve as slaves and living incubators for snakeman eggs. Nowadays, these humans are a genetic mix of different peoples. Because of this the humans of Trevski are the same as modern humans, though racial distinctions as we know them are nnonexistent The human peoples of Trevski are a Eurasian-Negroid mix, similar in appearance to the Ancient Egyptians and Olmecs, and have replaced the diversity of peoples with a diversity of individuals.
After the declining Ophidians, Humankind are the most advanced civilization on Trevski. Technologically, human civilization is roughly equivalent to the Renaissance era. Humans get along fairly well with most intelligent species but have a general preference to Neanderthals and Lizardmen.

Kobolds (Meeps)
Kobolds are short, reptilian humanoids that resemble small humanoid dinosaurs. A kobold’s scaly skin ranges from dark rusty brown to a rusty black color. It has glowing red eyes. Kobolds wear clothing that is red and orange. A kobold is 2 to 2½ feet tall and weighs 35 to 45 pounds. The Kobolds of Trevski are less savage than the kobolds of other worlds, having a more mercantile society that is quite active in the underworld of most cities.
Kobolds modify their starting ability scores as follows: Str -2, Dex +1, Con -1. They are small creatures but have a standard speed of 30 ft. per round. Kobolds can see in darkness up to 120 feet and their scales give them a natural +1 bonus to Armor.
Kobolds have a knack for noticing unusual stonework such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction, unsafe stone surfaces and shaky stone ceilings. A kobold can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which
way is up. This knack also applies to finding and removing traps that involve stone construction.
Kobolds speak Kobold and may also speak Draconic, Lizard Man, Neanderthal or Troglodyte.
They can multi-class as cleric/sorcerers, fighter/sorcerers and sorcerer/thieves.

Lizard Men (Crocs)
Lizardmen are large (6 ½' tall) reptilian humanoids, wise and keen of wit as well as powerfully muscled. Most LizardMen's scaly hides are green though they range in color from a rattlesnake brown to dull yellow. Additionally, most Lizardmen paint or tattoo their bodies with elaborate tribal markings. Without an extensive knowledge of scale patterning, it is nearly impossible for other peoples to tell male Lizardmen from female Lizardmen.
Most LizardMen tend to be peaceful, thoughtful and amicable creatures despite their fearsome appearance. They are a spiritual people and drawn into Druidism and the worship of Ao. Most Lizardmen live in small semi-nomadic tribes in deep bayous, and swamps, though many tribes are known to exist in the deep desert and many other share the equatorial rainforests with the Ophidians and Human tribes.
Lizardmen modify their starting ability scores as follows: Str +1, Con +1, Int -1. Lizardmen enjoy a +1 bonus to Armor Class from their thick, scaly hides. Lizardmen that dwell in swamps have a swim speed of 20. Those who dwell in mountainous or wooded areas replace this with a climb speed, and those who dwell in deserts replace it with a burrow speed.
Lizardmen speak their own language, and might also speak Draconic, Kobold or Troglodyte.
They can multi-class as druid/fighters, fighter/sorcerers and fighter/thieves.

Neanderthal (Ugs)
The Neanderthals of Trevski are the descendants of humans snatched from Earth by the Ophidians to serve as slaves and living incubators for snakeman eggs. Neanderthals are close kin to human beings. They are often assumed to be stupid, due to their large brow ridges, receding chins, and slightly shorter, denser bodies. This is not the case. 
While Neanderthals often live a primitive lifestyle, they are as intelligent as humans. Neanderthal towns and cities dot the vast mountain ranges of central Myvillion, and incorporate elaborate stone structures that often make use of caves and other natural features. Neanderthal Clerics almost always revere archomentals (elemental lords), preferring Imix (Fire domain) or Sunnis (Earth domain) over worship of the dragon gods.
Neanderthals modify their starting ability scores as follows: Strength +1, Constitution +1, Intelligence -1. Neanderthals have a knack for survival. Neanderthals speak their own unique clan language and might also speak Common, Terran, Kobold, Ignan or Troglodyte. Neanderthals can multi-class as cleric/fighters, fighter/magic-users and fighter/ thieves.

Ophidians, Lesser (Snakemen)
The Ophidian race are an ancient people who ages ago were the favorites of Tiamat in her early struggles against Bahamut, and lost. Now their ancient civilizations has dwindled to a handful of kingdoms and underground cities. Lesser Opidians are a lower caste amongst Ophidians that look more human that their sires and are incapable of reproducing. Lesser Ophidians are found out and amongst the "lesser" races, dwelling most often amongst mankind. Since the downfall of their race, Ophidians rarely produce druids or clerics, preferring arcane magic in most cases.
Lesser Opidians adjust their starting ability scores as follows: +1 Dexterity, -2 Constitution. They are medium-sized creatures with a base speed of 40 feet. Snakemen have darkvision to a range of 60 feet. They have a knack for search. They need only pass within 5 feet of small things to have a chance to notice them, even if they were not actively looking. Lesser Opidians receive a +1 natural bonus to Armor Class due to their scales. Lesser Opidians have +1 save vs psychic powers. Finally, they have a +2 save vs poison.
Lesser Opidians speak Common and the language of serpents. They might also speak Draconic, Gnoll, Kobold, Lizardman, Infernal and Troglodyte. Snakemen may multi-class as fighter/magic-users, cleric/magic-users and magic-user/thieves.

Tagalong (Lizardman Scout) and his mount Buster.

These rules are made for use with the Blood and Treasure RPG by John Stater.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mutant Future: The Sixth Column (Faction)

Group Goals and Beliefs: The Sixth Column have embraced the super being named Stardust the Super Wizard (see History) as the savior of humanity. They believe that justice must be meted out, even if it runs contrary to local morals and laws. Vigilantism in pursuit of moral rightness is seen as a holy cause, and wrongdoers need to be punished in as extravagant a manner as is possible.
Identifiers: All members of the Sixth Column wear skin tight super-suits that have a sun or star motif of some kind. These suits can be worn under clothing, and usually are so as to catch evil-doers unaware.
Group History: Ages ago, before the tragic events of the Transgenic Wars (aka The Apocalypse) a powerful being known only as Stardust appeared in the Solar System. This super-being was/is the living avatar of a sentient star, created to perceive and interact with other sentient creatures, including the humans it was modeled after. Stardust used his awesome abilities to manipulate matter to dispense his own form of justice and he was accepted into the ranks of the superheroes.
New recruits
Understanding that children are the future of the human race, Stardust set up youth clubs across the Earth and the Solar System, encouraging young people to help spread his ideology and carry on his crusade. He gave the boys uniforms similar to his own, as well as high tech equipment which replicated a number of his own abilities. The boys, given these abilities, began to dispense their own form of justice in Stardust's name.
After his epic battles with the supervillain known as "The Great Question", Stardust was seen less and less in Known Space, finally returning to his "private star" for reasons unknown. In the years following the Sixth Column has tried their best to continue the cause of Stardust.
Game Information: The Sixth Column are zealots that perform "super-heroics", hunting down "bad guys" whenever and wherever they can. This might sound like a great thing, but these guys have a black and white view of things (though older members are more "batman" than superman), and can be a bit tiresome. Still, they do pack a punch. On Mars the Sixth Column act much like Paladins, travelling between Utopian Domes and Wilderness regions hunting evil-doers. A number of them operate off planet or are in the service of leader who they see as good. Such Sixth Column members are frequently hunting bigger game such as extra-planar monsters of supernatural threats.
Membership: To join the Sixth Column a character that is either a mutant human with NO drawback mutations or a Pure Human Sorcerer. The character must be of Neutral Alignment (LG, LN or LE). Entry into the ranks of the Sixth Column requires a passionate and ruthless zeal to punish evildoers by whatever means are necessary. Members of the Sixth Column gain a skintight Star Metal Suit and Thought Recording Collar (see below for details).

Star Metal Suit 
Originally created by Stardust himself, these skin-tight costumes are made of an indestructible "star metal" that is silky soft and very light. A Star Metal Suit grants the wearer an AC 2, and weights only 2lbs. Designs vary, but all of these suits have a star or sunshine motif. Non-members who somehow acquire a Star Metal Suit will find that is offers no special protection, though it will still make for indestructible underwear.

Thought Recording Collar 
This is a collar designed in a starburst or sunlight motif. The collar grants the wearer the Neural Telepathy mental mutation. If a non member of the Sixth Column wears the collar, it acts only as jewelry, with no special powers. A thought-recorder collar weighs nothing, hinting at the weird energies used in its making.
A powerful member of the Sixth Column.

The Sixth Column are inspired by the adventures of Stardust: The Super Wizard beginning in Fantastic Comics #14 published by Fox Feature Syndicate and created by Fletcher Hanks. 

I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
-- Henry Vaughan