Sunday, April 13, 2014

Twenty Years Of Gaming

I became rpg designer, game master, and player (in that specific order) twenty years ago. I don't remember exact time but it was spring on 1994... Certainly after February, most probably late March or early April. As I mentioned before in one of my early posts, I designed a role-playing game before playing one. I also GMed before I played.

Twenty years later I am still willing to play, GM, and design as I was at the beginning. The style probably changed with experience, I had my ups and lows, but I expect that I will stick to this hobby until the end of my life (or at least until I get mentally impaired by old age to a degree preventing any level of lucidity).

I am working on increasing designer part of my gaming life, and intend to keep it so. How well it will go, we'll see.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Treasury Of The Sands

Jon Brazer Enterprises just released their Treasury Of The Sands book to which yours truly contributed embalmer's jar and scepter of the clawed mistress (with some slight changes and editing by publisher).

Adds another publication and a new publisher to the list.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fantasy Races: Kai-Tang

Here is a race that I thought of for a long time and had their racial traits written down for some time. Finally, I wrote their description, spurred by a recent discussion about . Expect more anthropomorphic animal races in the future.

Kai-tang
Kai-tang are race of philosophically-minded simians living in the settlements laying in depths of jungles and secluded mountain ranges.

Despite their bestial appearance, kai-tang are highly intellectual race with high respect for learning and enlightenment showing greatest respect to opinions of elders and scholars. Solitary sage is highly revered figure in kai-tang culture, but, unless his research requires isolation, he is expected to teach those who seek his wisdom or acquire unfavorable reputation.

Kai-tang can become terrible opponents when their family or association members are threatened, though, and are capable of single-minded aggression when defending their communities, often fighting until the threat is completely annihilated.

Physical Description: Kai-tang are massive apes with fur in intense orange, red, yellow, green, blue or purple color. Their powerful arms are very long while their legs are rather short and stubby giving them wobbly gait. Their faces resemble orangutans’, gorillas’ or chimpanzees’ but they tend to grow human-like hair, sideburns, mustache and beards.

Society: Kai-tang prefer to live in small groups of three to eight, either extended families or associations of individuals dedicated to shared focus — academics, craft, religion or war. Each time a kai-tang shifts its allegiance between families and associations it takes a new personal name, with full name being a composite of all the personal names held through one’s life. Families and associations are the basic unit in larger kai-tang communities — groups discuss their stance and select eldest member to present it during community assemblies. In times of crisis assemblies defer to the associations whose skills and expertise is the most appropriate to solving the present problem.

Relations: Kai-tang usually avoid mingling with other races keeping to their families and associations. When interacting with other races they prefer to send individuals experienced in dealing with outsiders. Larger communities forced to deal with other races regularly often keep one or more associations dedicated to this task — diplomats, envoys and merchants. Occasionally, a kai-tang can bind with a group of members of other races, treating them as his association.

Alignment And Religion: Kai-tang have a penchant toward philosophy and discussion, often rationalizing their choices, decisions, reactions and experiences. Many kai-tang find belief in greater abstract order reassuring gravitating toward lawful alignment.

Adventurers: Kai-tang distance towards other races and philosophical outlook does not make them seek adventures often. Those who become adventurers are exceptionally dedicated toward their companions, though, for they are their association of choice. With their strength, intelligence and scholarly focus, kai-tang make excellent alchemists, fighters, magi and wizards. Their intellectual approach to enlightenment and clumsy bodies make them poor monks or rogues.

Personal Names: Bor, Dal, Get, Ker, Ruk, Zam.

Full Names: Dur-Saj-Zam-Zam, Get-Tol-Tuk.

Kai-Tang Racial Traits

Ability Scores: +2 Strength, +2 Intelligence, -2 Dexterity. Kai-tang are strong and scholarly creatures but their movement is ungraceful and slow.

Type: Kai-tang are humanoid with simian subtype.

Slow Speed: Kai-tang have base land speed of 20 ft.

Climb: Kai-tang have climb speed of 20 feet and gains +8 racial bonus to Climb checks.

Jungle-born: Kai-tang gain +2 racial bonus to Acrobatics  and Perception checks.

Low-light Vision: Kai-tang see twice as far as humans in dim light conditions.

Scholarly: Kai-tang gain +2 racial bonus to single Knowledge skill of their choice.

Slam: Kai-tang have a slam natural attack dealing 1d4 points of bludgeoning damage.

Languages: Common and Kai. Kai-tang with high Intelligence score can select any non-restricted additional languages.

Kai-tang Racial Feat
Kai-tang have access to following feats.

Booming Voice
Kai-tang powerful simian voices can echo at great distance.
Prerequisites: Kai-tang.
Benefits: Kai-tangs can howl and pound on their chest to send simple messages in Kai that can be heard within one mile in jungle, forest or mountains or half that distance in areas with poor acoustics. Kai-tang with this feat increases saving throw DC of any of their sonic and language-dependent abilities by 1.

Kai-tang Racial Archetype
The following archetype was developed by militant kai-tang wizards.

Arcane Hand (Wizard Archetype)
Arcane hand hones his ability to efficiently deliver spells with the range of touch.

Replaces Scribe Scroll, Bonus Feat; Modifies Arcane School.

Weapon Focus: An arcane hand gains Weapon Focus (touch spells) as a bonus feat at 1st level. This feature replaces Scribe Scroll bonus feat.

Extended Reach (Su): At 5th level, an arcane hand increases his reach when delivering spells with a range of touch by 5 feet. The reach increases by additional 5 feet at 10th, 15th and 20th level. This feature replaces wizard’s bonus feats.

Improved Critical: An arcane hand gains Improved Critical (touch spells) as a bonus feat at 8th level. This bonus feat replaces ability granted by the arcane hand’s arcane school at 6th or 8th level.

Favored Class Options:
The following options are available to all kai-tang who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time the favored class reward is selected.

Alchemist: Adds ⅙ of a new discovery.

Barbarian: Adds +1 to the barbarian’s total number of rage rounds per day.

Bard: Adds +¼ to bardic knowledge bonus.

Cavalier: Adds +⅙ of daily use of the cavalier’s tactician ability.

Cleric: Adds +½ of a daily use of a 1st level domain power that can be used 3+Wis bonus times per day.

Druid: Adds +⅓ to the druid’s natural armor bonus while wild shaped.

Fighter: Adds +½ bonus to attack and damage rolls with racial slam attack.

Inquisitor: Adds +½ to the inquisitor’s total number of discern lies round per day.

Magus: Adds ⅙ of a magus arcana.

Monk: Adds +½ to CMB and CMD while grappling.

Oracle: Adds ⅙ of an oracle revelation.

Paladin: Adds +1 feet to radius of the paladin’s auras. In combat this option has no effect unless the paladin has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Ranger: Adds +1 feet to land and climb speed when moving through favored terrain. In combat this option has no effect unless the ranger has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Rogue: Adds +½ bonus to Disable Device and Use Magic Device checks.

Sorcerer: Adds +½ of a daily use of a 1st level bloodline power that can be used 3+Cha bonus times per day.

Summoner: Adds +¼ natural bonus to the AC of the summoner's eidolon.

Witch: Adds ½ of a cantrip prepared.

Wizard: Adds ½ of a cantrip prepared.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Alternate Earths: Siberia

Has anyone ever considered alternate Earths where convergence point was keyed to Russian settlement of Siberia? The closest setting I can think of at the moment that would be centered on alternate Siberia is Jacek Dukaj's Ice, but it uses Tunguska Event as the divergence point.

What would the world would like if the Russia did not expand and colonize into Siberia?

Maybe Khanate Of Sibir would resist Russian intrusion, revitalized into efficient state becoming a barrier limiting eastern expansion of Russia? It could force Russia to expand into west and south, pushing it into even more conflicts with Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which could diverge into timelines where Russia prevails, timelines with tenuous balance between those two forces and timelines where Commonwealth wins over Russia. Any of this timelines would involve a domino effect reshaping further history of Europe and in long term history of the world — but those would be more of subjects for alternate histories of Commonwealth.

Another possible path would be less expansive Russia, either growing into stable state not relying on expansion and Siberian resources — would it remain stable or fell into stagnation and degeneration, however?

Back to Siberia for now: how would it develop without Russian settlement? Probably slowly... The primary influx (does this word actually mean what I think it means in this context? yes, it is) of people was Russian colonization, especially with exiles and prisoners. Without them there would be much less cities and no railway present. Khanate Of Sibir could expand and colonize it, but it would probably lack the Russian reserves of people for settling eastern regions. Without Russian claiming the land, Siberia could be colonized from the east by Chinese, Manchurian and possibly later Japanese settlers — either dissidents and exiles escaping chocking grasp of strictly conservative rulers of the East or deliberate colonization of more progressive (and/or expansive governments). Maybe it could lead to revival of often forgotten states and peoples that were subjugated and suppressed by Mongols few hundreds of years earlier?

Two another scenarios based on different history of Siberian settlement:

Russia starts colonization of Siberia providing settlers, both volunteers and forced but at some point of the colonization there is revolution, military or economic that frees Siberia from Russian control creating one or more independent countries — United States Of Siberia?

And the second one involves Władysław Vasa becoming Russian Tsar and Polish king (which in our timeline failed because of his father meddling). With personal union between Russia and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth there would be distinct possibility of Russian culture being influenced by Commonwealth's religious and cultural tolerance of early XVII century and spread it into east... But it might be more appropriate for Alternate Earths: Vasa Dominions post(s).

Friday, January 31, 2014

Liber Influxus Communis, part II

Update on Liber Influxus Communis kickstarter...

The initial goal and the first stretch goal were reached. Another $140 and we'll see some color in the book. It would be nice to see all those classes in color, right?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fantasy Races: Purrlings

Purrlings are second of the hybrid races I submitted for Little Red Goblin contest and they too earned honorable mention. Following version expands description, alternate traits, racial feats and adds more favored class options.

Purrlings

Occasional monkey-folk and catfolk dalliances led to birth of reckless and mischievous people. Purrlings are usually curious and skittish with other people viewing them as lazy pests — mostly because of their tendency to waste energy in frantic bursts of frivolous activity instead of honest work.

Physical Description: Purrlings are smaller and lighter than humans and covered with soft fur, usually some combination of two or more of black, white, grey, yellow and brown, either spotted or striped. Their slim, elongated bodies  mix feline and primate traits resembling humanoid meerkat, fossa, civet or lemure.

Society: Purrling society, small as it is, is very malleable — its hierarchies shifting from moment to moment with individual purrlings declaring themselves leaders on a whim with remaining purrlings following or ignoring those self-proclaimed princes, kings, queens and emperors as the fancy strikes them. Still, despite their capriciousness, or maybe because of it, purrlings are very social beings, preferring companionship to loneliness.

Relations: Many people consider purrlings little more than talking pets at best and burdensome pests at worst — their reckless and mischievous ways might be appalling to other folks but their frolics have an air of innocence and cheerfulness that makes other races tolerate them grudgingly.

Alignment and Religion: Purrlings seemingly innate inability to show respect and treat the world seriously extends even to deities — their worship and religious obediences are capricious and often driven by immediate needs. To others’ surprise purrlings have predisposition towards engaging in convoluted, abstract and often contradicting philosophies, though. Purrling mischievousness is often linked to their aptitude toward chaos, but they rarely verge into serious malice of evil alignment.

Adventurers: Purrlings are born adventurers. As long as by adventurer you mean nosy, erratic, vain, cowardly and gluttonous troublemakers. They do make surprisingly good thieves and archers, though and their inclination for havoc makes them decent alchemists… As long as blowing things up is involved.

Purrlings Racial Traits

Ability Scores: +4 Dexterity, -2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma. Purrlings have superb agility and reflexes but they combine catfolk recklessness and vanara mischievousness.

Type: Purrlings are humanoids with catfolk and vanara subtypes.

Size: Purlings are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Normal Speed: Purrlings have a base speed of 30 feet.

Climb: Purrlings are efficient climbers with a climb speed of 20 feet and +8 racial bonus to Climb checks.

Fleet-Footed: Purrlings are not only agile but also very fast gaining Run as a bonus racial feat and +2 racial bonus to initiative checks.

Low-light Vision: Purrling can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.

Prehensile Tail: Purrlings bushy tail is long and flexible enough to carry objects and perform simple manipulations. Purrlings can’t wield weapons with their tails but they can retrieve small, stowed objects carried on them as a swift action.

Languages: Purrlings begin play speaking Common. Purrlings with high Intelligence scores can choose Catfolk, Ratfolk, Sylvan, Tengu and Vanara as bonus languages.

Purrling Alternate Racial Traits
The following racial traits can be selected in place of existing purrling traits.

Big Eyed: Some purrlings have enormous eyes that allow them to see in darkness but are vulnerable to bright lights. The purrling gains darkvision with 60 feet range and light sensitivity making them dazzled in bright light. Big eyed replace low-light vision.

Small Frame: Some purrlings are smaller than others having Small size instead of Medium. They gain +1 size bonus to attack rolls and AC, -1 size penalty to CMB and CMD and +4 size bonus to Stealth checks. This feature replaces their normal size.

Purrling Racial Feats
Purrlings have access to following feats:

Erratic Tail
Bushy tail can be surprisingly effective distraction in combat.
Prerequisites: Prehensile tail.
Benefits: The purling gains +2 bonus to Bluff checks made to feint or create diversion, +2 bonus to Sleight Of Hand checks made to entertain and +2 bonus to CMB to perform dirty combat maneuvers.

Retractable Claws
The purrling’s claws were hardened enough to be used as a weapon.
Prerequisites: Purrling.
Benefits: The purling can extend or retract claws with a swift action. While the claws are extended the purrling can make two claw natural attacks dealing 1d4 points of damage each.

Tree-runner
Purrlings living all their lives on trees can climb with even greater speed.
Prerequisites: Purrling, Run feat.
Benefits: The purrling can move on tree branches very fast using a run action while climbing and counts all falling distances as if they were 20 feet lower.

Favored Class Options
The following options are available to all purrlings who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time the favored class reward is selected.

Alchemist: Add +1 feet to bomb range. In combat this option has no effect unless the alchemist has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Barbarian: Add +1 feet to climb speed while wearing medium or lighter armor and carrying medium or lighter load. In combat this option has no effect unless the barbarian has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Bard: Add +1 feet to the range of all bardic performances. In combat this option has no effect unless the bard has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Cavalier: Add +1 feet to the cavalier’s mount speed. In combat this option has no effect unless the cavalier has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Cleric: Add +1 feet to channel energy radius. In combat this option has no effect unless the cleric has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Druid: Add +1 feet to the land speed while wildshaped. In combat this option has no effect unless the druid has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Fighter: Add +1 feet to base land speed while taking charge, run or withdraw actions. In combat this option has no effect unless the fighter has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Inquisitor: Add +1 feet to base land speed while judgment is active. In combat this option has no effect unless the inquisitor has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Magus: Add +¼ to caster level of all spells that grant the magus a new movement speed or increase existing one.

Monk: Add +⅙ to the monk’s AC bonus.

Oracle: Add +¼ to caster level of oracle spells and spell-like abilities with chaotic descriptor.

Paladin: Add+⅙ to divine grace saving throw bonus.

Ranger: Add +1 feet to base land and climb speeds while in any of the ranger’s favored terrains. In combat this option has no effect unless the ranger has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Rogue: Add +½ bonus to initiative checks.

Sorcerer: Add +¼ to DC of concentration checks required to cast a spell while damaged or distracted by the purrling’s spell.

Summoner: Add +1 feet to speed of one movement type of the summoner’s eidolon (maximum +10 feet to single movement speed). In combat this option has no effect unless the summoner has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Witch: Add +1 feet to all of the witch’s familiar movement speeds. In combat this option has no effect unless the witch has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Wizard: Add +1 point to hardness and +5 hit points to the purrlings bonded object.