Sunday, August 16, 2015

20 Questions for Elam: Part 1

The classic 20 questions for a custom campaign setting, 5 at a time. 

The setting is called Elam.  It's a gonzo collection of city-states built on the wreckage of the modern world.  It's largely a mash-up/combination of Arnold's Centerra and the Anomalous Subsurface Environment, plus Sumerian mythology and some remixed Byzantium culture.

       1. What is the deal with my cleric's religion?
This is the deal.
Elam is flush with gods. Each city has a god, and the people of that city are the god's chosen people.  Worship of a particular divinity and tribal pride in your city-state/people are closely intertwined. Every city, grove, and field has gods, of various levels of potency. All of them are real, as in they are wandering around the earth somewhere, and while some are very powerful, they are not omnipotent or omniscient. They can be tricked and they can be killed.  Think Princess Mononoke, with boar and wolf gods living alongside great forest spirits. Their dictates and prescriptions are based on their own desires, far divorced from mortal concerns or morality.  For example, Enki, a god of freshwater, mischief, and beermaking is a great carp-man who lives in the northern river.  He comes to the ziggurnaut temple built on the shore to whisper secret beer recipes to his faithful, and he capsizes boats whose captains cannot answer his riddles. Any who call on his power might have their faith rewarded with miracles, but he requires human sacrifice to feed his hungry fish-daughters. Most other gods are a similarly mixed bag. Worship of a god is not connected in the minds of the populace with moral behavior.  Instead, clerics and holy folk are widely regarded as terrifying lords with inscrutable motives.


        2. Where can we go to buy standard equipment?

Quoting from ASE
 "No adventurer’s visit to Denethix (your starting town -ed.) is complete without a visit to the Bazaar Incomparable. This plaza is filled with the tents and stalls of innumerable vendors, selling anything and anyone imaginable. For the modern tomb looter, there is no place easier to unload ill-gotten grave goods and dangerous antiquities."


 3.  Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?

The Street of Industrious Efforts has many foundries and workshops that could handle a custom order.  Individual proprietorship shops have been driven out of business by these large conglomerates, so there are no named smiths.  You might also try talking with the Feasters, the town's police force.  They employ a variety of horrid mutants and monsters, so you may be able to work something out.


 4.   Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?

Abine of the Crimson Eye is the mightiest wizard by far.  She is esteemed as an Apellomancer, and her great tome holds many of the True Names.  35 years ago she created the elves, dwarves and halfings, releasing each race out onto the world in successive waves. She cares nothing for her abandoned children, and ruthlessly searches and researches for something unknown.  She often raids ancient ruins for forgotten knowledge in her giant mechanized robot (made in her likeness). 

       5. Who is the greatest warrior in the land?

This guy.

Tales of martial might and valor abound regarding Rickard the Lion, a barbarian chieftan in the Worthless North.  Starting 5 years ago, Rickard has converted his tribe to the worship of a new god, and now the diplomats who make it back alive report a flaming angel that never leaves his side. Rickard has been too busy subjugating and converting the other tribes of the Worthless North to care much about the current campaign world.  

Friday, August 14, 2015

Roll20 and 5th Edition

I would love to be able to buy modules, designed for 5th edition, that are essentially a pdf adventure text and a pre-constructed Roll20 campaign.  Maps would be already loaded into the different pages, with tokens.  The tokens would already be set to their correct hit points and have auras, etc.  Extra info could be in the pdf, or even written in the GM's layer on the map.  Looking at the current marketplace, there are some modules for sale that might be like this, but they are all 3.5 edition/Pathfinder.  I'm sure the reason there is no 5th edition material is IP.  After so many disastrous attempts by WOTC to build their own online platform, they would be smart to jump on the one that's already built for them, before it starts costing them players.

I was surprised to see no Lamentations of the Flame Princess material on there.  Maybe I just missed them. I've been looking for an excuse to go LOFP for a while, and high quality modules that are preloaded in the platform I use (instead of a book, which is really not helpful in terms of gamability/actual play sessions) would probably push me over.

Lastly, and this is the best case scenario, it would be best if there was a way for anyone to share the adventures they make and charge what you like.  There are so many brilliant GMs out there who have spent time on their maps and stories. Its a shame for that effort to go to waste. I'm sure IP concerns and preference for their own marketplace is keeping Roll20 from doing this.  Think of all the amazing art and maps and stories out there that I could be running.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Songs of the Frog-Men

In the Mere of Dead Men, all wise travelers carry cotton balls and wax to stop up their ears.  At dusk, as the gas flats erupt and the Stranger begins to lurk at the edge of a campfire, one Frog-Man will climb as high as possible and begin to sing a froggy, croaking song.  All Frog-Men in the area will choose either to take up the song, or to furiously rip the initiator to shreds. It's not clear how they choose, as all the songs sound exactly the same to mammal ears.  Also, repeated exposure to the songs drive one irrevocably insane.  Short term exposure has the following effects, except on the insane, and Frog-Men. No save, but you might have time to stop up your ears once it starts if you move quick.  It's debated, although not widely, if the Frog-Men are naturally immune or have already been driven insane.  It's not widely debated because learned people who rather not spend time thinking about the unseemly, disgusting Frog-Men.

Songs of the Frog-Men Effects

Roll 1d6

1.  Target tries to get to the very bottom of the nearest body of water.  Once there, they bury themselves in mud and drown (presumably). They will attack anyone who tries to stop them.
2.  The target is convinced that all their companions and loved ones have been replaced by Frog-Men imposters.
3.  The target has magical knowledge of the nearest locations of Frog-Men tadpoles.  They run there, attacking anyone who tries to stop them.  Once they get there, they swallow as many tadpoles as possible into their lungs.
4.  Target's skin becomes transparent.  Permanent.
5.  Target seizes any instruments they can find, and runs off to play backup for the singing Frog-Men.
6.  The target becomes convinced that they are secretly a Frog-Man in disguise.