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Thread: (Recruiting Thread) Ruceeglaelstkinag: A Study in Applied Christian Theology of War

  1. #1
    tWebber
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    (Recruiting Thread) Ruceeglaelstkinag: A Study in Applied Christian Theology of War

    Brevity is anathema to me. This intro is 3 posts long. Most, but not all, of the description of the setting and flavor of the campaign are in the third post.

    D&D 3.5 with lots of homebrew (potentially including stuff made specifically for the campaign by request of the players).

    Campaign is heavy on tactics (in other words, the opposite of "kick in the door" style play), and philosophical roleplay. It isn't necessary that every player be able to meet these requirements in and of themselves, but if I run out of slots, I'm going to be giving preference to those who are better able to meet these critereon. If absolutely necessary I will bite the bullet and start dropping more hints rather than less about tactics, but the philosophical stuff isn't going to be going away.

    For deeper details, especially on the setting, ask questions and/or see the (probably) 5th and 6th posts in this thread. Of course, the number might be wrong if I mis-estimate how I'm going break stuff up to work around the character-count limitations.

    Style of Play:
    RULE NUMBER 1: If you have one or more questions, ASK IT/THEM. If you don't have (a) question(s), BE THINKING OF SOME. I often have to "rush" things out lest I lock up with social anxiety, and I just plain don't think the same way other people do. While this second point makes my campaigns very interesting, it also can require a lot of clarifications that I have no way of predicting.

    Heavy on both the roleplay and the tactics.

    Characterization and backstory are strongly encouraged, but most of my strength tends to lie in world-building (thus part of the reason for Rule Number 1). Seeing the party comment on in-character or even debate the aspects of the world is going to be a plus.

    Regarding tactics: "adventurers" in my campaigns tend to die. "Heroic Professionals" tend to survive. Do the heroic thing, but don't take risks that aren't necessary. For example:
    -Stopping a rampaging mob of orcs from reaching a village that send its best defenders off to fight elsewhere, and now requests you fill in? Good.
    -Doing so by standing right outside the town and waiting for them to come to you? SUICIDAL.
    -Organizing the villagers to build defenses for you to man? Slightly better.
    -Above combined with hit-and-run raids while the orcs are still several day's travel from the village? Better.
    -As above, but staging raids in such a way as to give the idea that a fire-breathing dragon defends the village, such that the orcs surrender to you (or at least buy time with the discussions for the defenses to be built better)? Now we are talking...

    In short, the optimum is to design your character to be interesting (see below about Allowed Content, Character Creation, and Wealth) and then play them tactically, but hash out the tactics in-character rather than OOC.

    There are some themes strongly presented in one of the later posts in this thread... feel free to relegate them to the background to the point of utterly ignoring them... but only if you can come up with other ideas that I find as interesting.

    Technical Methods:
    We will be using Google-docs spreadsheets for the battle-maps... HERE is an example. You should be able to edit this if you want to play. This does NOT require a GoogleDocs account, but certain firewalls might be an issue. Tell me if there are any problems, I may be willing to create work-arounds.

    I expect notifications and strongly encourage a pre-selected "second" to play your character if there is even a chance that you might go a week without posting. That means you should be checking the IC and OOC threads at least twice a week. If no other course of action is possible, then see Rule Number 1.

    I will assign another player to play your character and/or I will kill them off if this schedule fails to happen. People fading off is the number one killer of Play By Post games, and I intend to make sure that we end up with a group that will not fall victim to it.

    Skype access (for text-chat only) is a plus, but not required. If so, no particular time of day is necessary to check it, and no meetings are likely to be scheduled.

    House Rules:
    Fractional EVERYTHING. Don't round until the last minute. This includes such things as two-handed weapon damage, skill ranks and ability modifiers to skills (but you still need a full rank to roll a trained-only ability). If you grant me editing permissions to a character sheet on www.Myth-Weavers.com I can handle this for you soon after we start. Characters with an odd intellegence BONUS may select an additional language that they can EITHER read and write OR speak and understand when spoken, with great difficulty in either case).

    Alternate Turning/Rebuking table for lower levels: (Table won't fit in character-count limit for this post, won't be coming up in first adventure.)

    Fighting defensively and Total Defense also give the same bonuses to Reflex saves as they do to AC. (Including modifications for high ranks in Tumble).

    Two new actions:


    1. Steel Will fighting: Equivalent action to Fighting Defensively, provides no bonuses to AC or Reflex saves, but DOES give a +2 to Will saves instead.
    2. Total mental defense: Equivalent action to Total Defense, provides no bonuses to AC or Reflex saves, but DOES give a +4 to Will saves instead.



    Reverse Enchanting: Characters with the appropriate item-creation feats can, for instance turn a +1 Unholy Vorpal Sword you captured into a +5 Vorpal Sword so it won't give you a negative level anymore.

    You must be able to use a metamagic feat at the level you first take it. Thus no +2 spell level feats at character level 1.

    Saving throws for spells and SLAs from class levels are 10 + 1/2 Levels of Relevant casting classes (AKA Caster Level in most cases) + Ability Modifier MINUS Spell Level. This does NOT apply to martial maneuvers or SLAs from a race.

    There will probably be more, but that is it for now.

    Allowed Content:
    The following should be little to no problem.


    • My own Homebrew (see next post, due to character count limitations. Do NOT go looking through the full listing on a certain other site since it contains monsters and such that I may be using against y'all.)
    • PHB
    • MM I
    • Tome of Battle
    • Compete Arcane/Champion/Divine/Scoundrel
    • Eberron Campaign Setting (although be careful with the Artificer)
    • Tome of Magic
    • Draconomicon



    Ask specifically about any other material (in other words name the specific feat/class/item, and then I will probably ask you for details). I am likely to approve it if I don't feel it is overpowered. In case you didn't/won't catch the implications let me explicitly call out a few points that are mentioned throughout this campaign description before and after here: One of our potential characters is a giant insect, and everyone is getting an oddball magic item (or something equivalent), and this is a campaign where we may or may not be examining the question of "in this world, is the phrase 'justifiable genocide' actually inherently contradictory". Dream crazy and, if necessary, dream big. I'll work with you on scaling down anything that needs scaling down... or just give me a well-written character and I'll figure things out.

    Character Creation:


    • Backstory: Rich back-stories and personality descriptions are encouraged. Try to avoid making either melodramatic.
    • Experience: 6,200 XPs (in other words, 4th level, plus 200 XPs worth of crafting/headstart on level 5). In addition, all Level Adjustments will be replaced with an equal number of levels of Commoner.
    • Wealth: 5,400 GPs, plus one item I will be assigning. Other than that one item no single item may have a price of over 2,700 GP. These will be items that are designed to be interesting/playtest stuff. Suggestions welcome, but make them INTERESTING. Blanket numerical abilities, or casting a given spell X times a day are boring. Conditional versions of each CAN be interesting.

      In addition, I am much looser with the standard items. For instance Gloves of Dexterity +1 exist (rather than only items of even-numbered bonuses) and armor that offers a bonus to any one type of saving throw rather than just the save types covered in Magic Item Compendium..

      Don't forget mundane stuff. You are going to be traveling around a lot, and you may get ambushed during travel, camping out, or even (under certain limited circumstances) while one of you is taking a dump in the woods. Mules can save your dexterity bonuses and "light load only" class features.
    • Ability Scores: 32 Point-Buy with the usual +1 to any ability SCORE for hitting character level 4.
    • Hitpoints: Maximum at first level, average rounded down at each level after that.
    • Alignment: Good strongly preferred, and must be able to work as a team. Neutral will be allowed only after review for how interesting of a story it makes. That being said... time for the first look at my world.

      Good is not Soft in my world. In fact, just as it is possible in-game to be smarter, or physically stronger than it is possible to be in real life, it is also possible to do things that would turn a real person into a sadistic monster in real life, but with Good results, and inflicting the 'evils' only on those who are, in fact, monstrous in their personalities... and then go on to a quiet retirement without a single twinge of regret.
      Some examples of how this differs from what you might expect:
      1. The equivalent to the Geneva Convention includes phrases about how "and none of these protections apply to individuals who break them, and who are members of a chain of command that does not aggressively discourage such acts... in fact it is encouraged, though not required to violate as many of these principles as possible, as publicly as possible on such individuals".
      2. The use of poisons with effects that can naturally be recovered from (IE no ability DRAIN etc), and don't kill (so no targeting Constitution) is ENCOURAGED in Good individuals, but represents a commitment to capture rather than kill any individual they are used against.






    To speed things along, partially pre-made characters are available to use as a starting point. Time allowing I am willing to do the following:
    1.) For less experienced players, I am willing to do an equal level of work on custom requests.
    2.) For ALL players I am willing to create homebrew races and perhaps other things.
    Last edited by Draco Dei; 08-25-2015 at 09:41 PM.

  2. #2
    tWebber
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    Homebrew available for player use:

    The site I keep this stuff on had an update a while back that broke all the tables. Tell me if you have any interest in specific homebrew where I haven't gotten around to fixing that problem. Similarly, please tell me if you find any broken links. I had to reformat some stuff for this site.

    Templates:
    Eripmav: This is a "Low-Powered Non-Evil Vampire". Sounds pretty boring right? Nope! It has a lot of interesting quirks to it, and replaces all that over-done angst with something that encourages roleplay with random NPCs and maybe even between party members.

    Devotion Bower: (You don't want to play one of these since they can't travel, but you might want to play a "love bud") Firmly rooted but with mobile limbs and launchable thorns, these servants of Allurehn grant refuge to star-crossed lovers (of the True rather than Flighty kind) in an extra-dimensional space inside themselves. Comment HERE. Example 6 HD version with 2 4th level commoners inside HERE.

    Creatures:
    Tenacious Badger and Wolverine: (For Summoning)

    Smokey Floater comment HERE: A way to keep the smog down in large settlements... just don't let them get too greedy...

    Mepholk: Snuggly anthropomorphic skunks... a SMALL spin-off of my most in-depth creation ever (the wereskunks). Keld Denar was kind enough to do a 32 point optimized character HERE.

    Astral Pack-Beast: (Psions might want to buy one of these at some point).

    Wing Dragons: Masters of aerial speed and skill. (Potential Allies or later, Half-Dragons)

    Lord of Rest: Animated beds of unequaled comfort. (Potential "Interesting Item", although they are more like a secondary character who should be roleplayed).

    Martyr Flitter: A gift from the Heavens that can be used to store up positive energy to be released (by killing it) to heal the living and damage the undead.

    Giraffe-a-pump: (Potential Ally)

    A discipline (not by me):
    Appropriate to Wing Dragons

    Individual Maneuvers:
    Anti-Swallow Whole: Stance to leap down purple-worm's throats, without them getting a bite in, and then tunnel to from their stomach to their heart and STAB it. Also a strike that helps you get your friends out if the Purple Worm swallows them first.

    Feats: (Note that feats specific to a single class or race are not listed here.)
    Tightened Lips: Quiet Strength.

    Discerning: Spell has no effect on creatures of a specific alignment. Thread also contains two matching weapon enhancements.

    Diving Evasion: Hit the deck to get out of the way of both blades and fireballs.

    Sniper's Patience: Why waste an arrow if you are just going to miss?

    Gemini Strike: (Two people need to take a feat tree to access this, but it should be very fun IF we can get it to work in PbP)

    Blocker: Increases your ability to screen the squishy types. Good by itself, even better with the Dwarven Defender PrC.

    Ignore Opponent: So the (Tucker's) kobold with no class levels can't cause you to count as flanked for the 5th level kobold rogue.

    Traits:
    Dabbler: More skill points, but reduced caps.

    Inoffensive: Weakened social skills but with a safety net.

    Physical Training Focus: Used to be a feat, thinking it works better as a trait.

    Invocations:
    Split Blast: Trade power for multi-targeting with this blast shape invocation... most useful in combination with eldritch essence invocations that produce an effect in addition to the initial damage. Also includes a rather interesting NPC who uses this blast shape to aid him in his work as a rat-catcher.

    Enhance Familiar and Imbue Familiar with Invocation Equivalents to Familiar buffs (and one utility that is very much like a defensive buff) for members of Invocation using classes who have familiars. Made to synergize with my Singular Word: A spell that gains power based on how long you were silent before casting it.

    Shadow Mirror: Improved version of Mirror Image where your enemies always guess wrong, but stricter about where you can be.

    Retain Post-Mortal Servant: Making mindless undead and deathless a tad less useless.

    Hasten Undeath/Deathlessness: Causes a corpse that would already animate to do so faster. Based on Order of the Stick #848, with name for first one by archaeo.

    Cure Minor Wounds, Mass: Because I like to see patterns extended, and it is great for saving lives on a battle-field.

    Detect Chaos and Turn It to Ice Sculpture
    Detect Evil and Turn It to Sizzling Bacon
    Detect Law and Turn It to Goo
    : Based on a motivator. Auto-targeting, Area of Effect, Damage Over Time. Three different spell-levels and all four alignments for a total of twelve spells!

    Detect Magic and Turn It to Rubble: Arcane counterpart to the above.

    Enhance Poison: (Relevant to setting, but not something the PCs are going to be casting any time soon)

    Air Swim: Great for tritons, and not half-bad for everyone else. "Little Brother" to Air Walk.

    Q-Ray Vision: Detect illusions by blocking out reality.

    Control Magic: Why destroy something when you can steal it instead?

    Heir's Teleportation: Magical Ceasarian Section.

    Inoculation equivalents: Like it says on the thread title "An Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure". The higher levels of this will can allow a few casters to halt the spread non-magical plagues dead, or protect a group from even Mummy Rot and Devil Chills.

    Confuse Languages: Temporary scramble your ability to communicate so as to prevent language dependent effects from working on you. Comes in Personal, Single Target, and Mass versions, plus a "Battle Code" version that still lets team-mates communicate. Single Target and Mass versions also useful on enemies.

    True Haste: Combines the best (not most powerful... best) aspects of the 3.0 and 3.5 versions of Haste, while hopefully retaining the same power level as the 3.5 version.

    Weapon Enhancements:
    Discerning, Lesser/Greater Can't harm creatures of a specific alignment. Thread also contains a related metamagic feat.

    Durable: Are you a bit tired of rust monsters eating your weapons and armor?... then this enhancement is not for you. Are you REALLY FURIOUS about rust monsters eating your weapons and armor? Then this enhancement may be what you are looking for.

    Boon: Usually not a boon to its WIELDER, this is sorta the opposite of Bane. Mostly discussion point, nothing finalized.

    Flickering: Substitutes a reflex save by the target for each to-hit roll by the wielder. (DC based on attack bonus of strike).

    Mole: For fighting with big slashing and bludgeoning weapons in tight spaces and other creative uses. Most of weapon has an earth elemental's "Stone Swim" ability.

    Misc. Magic Items:
    Belt of Recovery: Stand up more easily when knocked prone.

    Circlet of Mindless Mind: Making mindless undead and deathless a tad less useless. (The item form of Retain Post-Mortal Servant).

    Gloves of the Mole: For those who think flight is for the birds and want to get closer to earth.

    Master's and Grandmaster's Wizards Chess Sets: Random_Person made a chessboard whose pieces enlarge and animate to fight, I created these more powerful version with tweaked rules. If you want to see his version, view the whole thread, then look at the first post.

    Wizards Xiangqi Set: After doing the above, I thought I might expand it to at least one non-Western version of Chess.

    Arc Vest and Arcing Shield/Armor Enchantment: Major electricity damage for fighters and rogues, but requires careful teamwork.

    Base Classes:
    Grace-gift: For those who honestly would rather buff their allies rather than take offensive action. Share out your impressive defenses with your allies, and (once you get a few levels in) put the pain on anyone who tries to get past you to them with your AoOs.

    Guardian of Minds: NPC class. What the Adept is to the Sorcerer this is to the Paladin.

    Prestige Classes:
    Coward's-Strike Warlock: Warlock specific version of my Artillery Mage. Same deal: Invisible familiar sees them, you shoot them without coming out from behind cover.

    Anchored Guardian Druid PrC about stability. Opposed by Bhu's Seed of Corruption.

    Sublime Form Master: Get a bunch of stances, but no maneuvers.

    Leap Dragoon: Based on Freya Crescent from Final Fantasy IX. Leaps to other planes to gain a moment to focus, then returns with re-doubled momentum.

    True Master of Nine: Because the one in Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Swords really works out to be more like "Master of Six".

    Artillery Mage: Familiar acts as your spotter, you do indirect fire.

    Benign Controller: comment HERE Not totally complete, but almost.

    Master of Life and Undeath: Clerics who channel both positive and negative energy and pass gracefully between life, undeath, and death.

    Snake-Blade: Straightforward meleeists focused on the use of poison. Who says only cowardly skulkers use toxins?

    "Society Member"... for full name see link.

    Engineers' Auxillary: Same Blink-Dogs, different weapons.


    Character building:
    Messy stash of character development questions.

    Age of Warriors spreadsheets:
    Disciplines: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?...Rw&hl=en#gid=0
    PrCs:https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?...2ZjByaUE&hl=en

    PrC I provided most of the capstone for:
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/printthread.php?t=156918

    Here is the turning/rebuking table I mentioned:
    Short version: If you would get a result of 0 or less by the table in the PHB, you can still turn/rebuke some/all things with fractional hitdice. For instance, a 4th level cleric with an 8 charisma still turns 1/2 hitdie undead on a result of 1 on the d20.

    Turning Check
    Result
    Most Powerful Undead (or Elemental, or Plant, or...) Affected
    (Maximum Hit Dice) by Cleric Level
    vvvvvvvvvvv Lvl 1 Lvl 2 Lvl 3 Lvl 4 Lvl 5+
    0 or lower
    1/8
    1/4
    1/3
    1/2
    Cleric’s level -4
    1—3
    1/4
    1/3
    1/2
    1
    Cleric’s level -3
    4—6
    1/3
    1/2
    1
    2
    Cleric’s level -2
    7—9
    1/2
    1
    2
    3
    Cleric’s level -1
    10—12
    1
    2
    3
    4
    Cleric’s level
    13—15
    2
    3
    4
    5
    Cleric’s level +1
    16—18
    3
    4
    5
    6
    Cleric’s level +2
    19—21
    4
    5
    6
    7
    Cleric’s level +3
    22 or higher
    5
    6
    7
    8
    Cleric’s level +4

    Characters:

    Currently we have a Anthro Feline Rogue a Human Sorcerer, and a Gnomish Druid (whose sheet I haven't made for the newbie playing him yet).

    Half-finished pre-made characters that people can finish out or just use as starting points if they like are below. I can assist with any rules from books a given individual may not own and/or be familiar with.

    Human Cleric with Community and Healing Domains

    Human Crusader who wields a Scythe infused with the power of the Warder of Death Wee Jas

    Dwarven Cleric

    Human Grace-Gift (Note: this character class is recommend for an experienced player only, and even then you are probably going to have to read the "How to" in the appropriate thread, and then be very willing to ask me questions. It slots in for a cleric in the classic 4 member adventuring party.)

    Half-Orc Crusader with a bit of a death-wish

    Elderly Human Grace-Gift (See previous note)

    Human Cleric with two Elemental Vultures that are in his thrall and which can spit acid at the cost of their own hitpoints.
    Said "Soda Vultures" (Yes, it is an obscure pun... deal with it)

    Elven Unarmed Swordsage

    Human Telekinetic Bladestorm (Dual-wield greatswords with your MIND while running up walls and ceilings like Neo? Now is your chance...)

    Vaex, a kobold rogue (Comes with part or all of a specific backstory, inquire for details.)

    Warblade with access to homebrew disciplines so he can fight with a bow as well as melee.

    Halfling Telekinetic Bladestorm (Much smaller weapons, but 3 of them, and you won't be missing often with a +11/+11/+11 attack routine as a standard action)

    Human Druid with focus on shapechanging spells (No sheet for animal companion yet since "Interesting Item" may effect it greatly)

    Human Fighter (Headed for Leap Dragoon AKA "Jump" like Cid Highwind or Freya Crescent from the Final Fantasy series... Interesting Item let's him already do that 3 times per day, and the daily charges can also be used to replace his attack rolls with a reflex save by the target.)

    Elven Sorcerer headed for Artillery Mage Prestige Class

    Cat familiar for anyone planning on going Artillery Mage Prestige Class or any of its variations in the long run
    Last edited by Draco Dei; 08-25-2015 at 09:18 PM.

  3. #3
    tWebber
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    Remember rule number one: "If you have one or more questions, ASK IT/THEM. If you don't have (a) question(s), BE THINKING OF SOME."

    The story so far:
    The nation of Ruceeglaelsktinag is in the process of pacifying a group of loosely allied small countries and city-states known as the Vedag. King Ruceeglaelsktinag* is really fed up because this is the 3rd time the Vedag has attacked his people in the last 200 years. The Vedag is mostly composed of "bad guy races" such as orcs, goblinoids, kobolds, and some ruled over by chromatic dragons. Races with more divergent alignments are not uncommon either, but even those nations tend strongly towards Evil.
    *When, at time of campaign start, you have reigned for over 400 years and expect to reign for a few more millenia, you have 30 levels(not to mention 20 RHD) in a class geared towards making you the best ruler you can be, and none of your mental ability scores are lower than a 30, naming your country after yourself doesn't actually qualify as egotistical. Did I mention he's a Gold Dragon?
    As such, he is taking several measures:
    a.) Being a lot less merciful in his treatment of unlawful combatants. The equivalent of the Geneva convention included Devils and Green Dragons just as much as LG Outsiders & Gold Dragons, so the allowed sentences are much stricter on the high end: having their fellow prisoners who haven't broken any of the laws of war up to that point perform the punishment which starts at "simple execution" and goes up through several gradiations of "torture to death"... yes, torture. This follows the logic that "The punishment must often be greater than the benefit to getting away with the crime would be, and the benefit to 'cheating' in warfare is often that fewer of your own side die.".

    I should note that having a comrade or close family member performing an execution, maiming, or torture is NOT the norm in this setting, it is just that the PCs are hanging out in the areas where it is much more common.

    Floggings, the stocks, etc are common punishments within Ruceeglaelsktinag proper, but that is because they work quickly, and you don't have to feed someone in jail as long, or risk them starving if you require others to feed them (which happened historically). Besides which it is a pseudo-medieval setting and flogging goes along with that.

    The cases where "punishment by those closest to the criminal" are used are the ones where there is a demonstrated culture that promotes the illegal actions that the convicted took. You might, for instance, require the mother of a child abused by her husband to publicly flog her husband as his punishment for the abuse. The natural extension of this is the idea that, by analogy you might require a lawfully surrendered kobold cleric to publicly behead a kobold from his same warren who had offered false surrender, and then pray to Kulturkamak(sp?) for the damnation of the war criminal's soul... while debuffed and in a Zone of Truth because obviously if his personal beliefs actively contradict such actions(,) being strongly unacceptable(,) then he isn't taking enough of a stand to be allowed to continue as a moral authority among his people (because, seriously, kobolds are a problem in general and their theology is part of that problem). Naturally this only applies to works-based theologies (which is most of them once you get outside of Christianity I'm pretty sure?).

    The Laws of War vary between this settings and real life because of who was at the meetings where they were created. They were a compromise document created by Devils, Lawful Good Outsiders (created by the Warders and subject to the same difficulties communicating with them as mortals have), various Lawful dragons, etc etc.

    b.) He's instituted this weird new form of government called "democracy". He's tested it out on one of his own counties/baronies after removing a corrupt noble. Of course, there, the votes were fully secret. Here the citizens of the country democracy is being imposed on don't usually have access to the names, but certain sufficiently high-ranking Ruceeglaelstkinagian officials do. That way if they have to come back a 4th time they can execute everyone who voted for any leader who didn't stand firmly opposed to the provoking actions in question. Naturally mercurial societies such as orcs are required to have a shorter election cycle than more stable ones such as kobolds. King Rucee does suspect that there may be some side benefits to all this of course.

    In any case everything is clearly written into the surrender agreements and proclaimed to the populous with the requirements that the knowledge not be allowed to die out in future generations. This could be as simple as a "Ten years cycle of royal criers of the local government reading off the relevant clauses at a gathering in the town square as they travel through every town, village, thorp etc in the city-state."

    c.) He's got the clerics of the Neutral Good archangel* of the Hearth looking into some of the local populations to see if the "Always X Evil" in their MM entries is nature or nurture, & has encouraged a healthy debate on the subject of if rendering them locally extinct via Bestow Curse[Infertility] on any of them that surrender (civilian & military both) would be justified if he has to come back and do this again. Naturally any exceptions to the usual alignment rules would be not only exempt, but highly treasured *cough*Drizz't*cough*. He will neither confirm nor deny the rumor that he might secretly preserve some to maintain breeding populations after applying Helms of Opposite Alignment & killing any who make their save (so voluntarily failing the save is encouraged...).

    * See point (7) under "Selected Mechanics and Facts about the Setting with Impact on Morality and Ethics" for further details.

    Who the PCs are:
    The group basically has two options.
    I.) Single-mission-per-contract mercenaries for Ruceeglaelsktinag. You might (or might not) be trying to change things, but if so you are more along the line of "work from within". Note that if you want to KEEP getting contracts you are going to have to present an appearance of competence, which means that killing too many people you were supposed to be capturing is going to cause you problems.
    So far this is the option the two players I've recruited off-site are heading towards.

    II.) Members of a loose network of people trying to reduce what they see as the excess of Ruceeglaelsktinagian forces, often by beating them to the punch and killing the people that would otherwise be tortured to death. Going any further than that, for instance by attacking Ruceeglaelsktinagian forces, is going to be very risky, especially at your starting level.

    In either case, making far-reaching changes to the campaign setting on the issues that I'm raising (torture, punitive democracy, wiping out sapient species, etc etc) is going to be more a matter of how logically you can argue than anything on your character sheets. And when I say "logically" I mean "Throw 'common sense' and rules of denominations out the window, then proceed with near-mathmatical rigor."... it won't be easy, but then again, when has changing the world been easy? The journey will almost certainly prove more enlightening than the destination.

    Selected Mechanics and Facts about the Setting with Impact on Morality and Ethics:
    1. Every time there is punishment being dealt out, there is going to be a much smaller than RL chance of it being to an innocent person. The ONLY way it can happen is that someone cast a spell on the accused to make Discern Lies and/or Zone of Truth give a false positive on them. Since spamming Dispel Magic is S.O.P. before questioning someone to remove spells such as Misdirection that would interfere with the process this doesn't work much. Some or all interrogators will also have a special ability that their sense motive skills never give a false positive for lying. Of course, by RAW that never happens anyway so I may just go with making it a universal perk for all PCs, in addition to any NPCs that have it.
    2. You have a leadership that is long-lasting (D&D Dragons live a LONG time) thus meaning that they can think things through much more carefully than brief mortals, and the idea of a less strong-of-spirit successor using their precidents as a jumping off point for even more extreme behaviors is a distant theoretical. In The Federalist No. 51 there is a quote that "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary." the second sentence of this quote is something I wish to provoke thought regarding by having the very top level leadership approach that level of ethical perfection. Of course, that doesn't mean they are sinless, just "saintly".
    3. Similar to the above, almost allheroic characters, including most or all PCs, and all paladins and Good Crusaders, have a super-human ability to stand on "slippery slopes" without moving. Of course, that is <1% of the people fighting against the Vedag. These characters are often the ones overseeing the torture.
    4. Heal, and similar cure-alls (Perhaps Atonement) can wipe away accumulated desensitization.
    5. With spells like Resurrection around, killing someone by mistake is something that can be remedied. Not going to come up often due to (1) above, but still worth mentioning. Flavor sidenote: Those spells first came into existance at The Resurrection of Christ, and represent The Firstborn from the Dead granting mortals a second chance to accept Salvation before they reach Judgement. Naturally, allowing such spells to casters of all alignments was Grace, rather than the spells in question having the [Good] tag for reasons similar to "it is not the healthy who need a doctor".
    6. I'm undecided as to if there ever was a "Chosen People" equivalent to the children of Abraham in this setting.
    7. The "gods" of D&D exist (plus a few of my own creation, starting with Allurehn) as archangels, in various degrees of fallenness, from "Not at all" to "Exhausted by the Failings of Brief Mortals, and so gave up hinting at God**" to "Satanic". Naturally the Good ones have their clerics kill anyone who tries to worship them. Being a cleric in this setting is sorta like joining a charitable organization and being told "We can't be bothered actually paying you, but there is a warehouse at the top of a narrow mountain road that you can have all the equipment you can haul out of it... just off some gear to make your daily bread. Oh, and our board of directors is REALLY hard to get a hold of." Cleric level and wisdom by analogy work out to how effective you are at hauling the stuff, and with domains standing in for what the more oddball things that are in the particular warehouse you have access to. Clerics without a warder are those who managed to do the equivalent of taking a test that runs for multiple weeks and if you pass it you have there-by fully earned a Bachelors Degree in the feild that the test covers. The druid class is a weird set of loop-holes and short-cuts that some people found by trial and error. Darn shame that metal armor screws up the delicate balance of the some-what "Jerry-Rigged"** set-up...

      *He made them INCAPABLE of speaking directly on the subject, for much the same reason (whatever it may be) that we don't have angels standing on every street-corner 24/7 proclaiming the gospel.
      **If anyone knows the origins of this term, I mean it as a compliment to that particular culture's penchant for engineering such that (I hypothesize) a significant percentage of their front-liners could make field-expedient repairs.
    8. Allurehn is the Neutral Good warder in charge of "family", including but not limited to: Heritage, Lineage, Romance, Sex, Contentment in Singleness, Fertility, Home, Community. Further detail availible upon request.
    Last edited by Draco Dei; 08-25-2015 at 09:35 PM.

  4. #4
    tWebber Rational Gaze's Avatar
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    I already expressed interest in chat, but this is my formal declaration.

    'I volunteer as tribute.' 'You have my sword, and you have my bow, and my axe.' 'If this is the will of the council, then Gondor will see it done.' etc. etc.

  5. #5
    tWebber Boxing Pythagoras's Avatar
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    I'm definitely interested! I have kind of a weird character idea, so I'll PM you details for your perusal
    "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every hidden truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
    --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

  6. #6
    tWebber Irate Canadian's Avatar
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    maybe... let me think about it.
    "It's evolution; every time you invent something fool-proof, the world invents a better fool."
    -Unknown

    "Preach the gospel, and if necessary use words." - Most likely St.Francis


    I find that evolution is the best proof of God.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I support the :

  7. #7
    tWebber
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    I think I have permission from Chaotic Void to go over 5 players.

    Irate Canadian:
    If there are any questions or concerns you have, please tell me.

    Everyone Else:
    (and Irate Canadian too if he decides he wants to play)
    If you each could please fill me and your follow players in on the following:
    1. Your character's personality and backstory (as much or as little as you are able to figure it out). I can come up with some questions for anyone who has trouble really fleshing out their character... and unfortunately, some people can only do that during play, or (sadly) not at all at the current stage of their development as roleplayers. Rational Gaze and maybe a few others of you may have nothing for this, at least at this time, and that is fine. Just say so and I'll try to help you out (or if you are just here for the debate, I can write those whole-sale).
    2. Your understanding of your character's mechanical abilities, strengths, weaknesses, in as much as you understand them.
    3. Your general level of previous "table top" roleplaying experience. This is as opposed to Elder Scrolls etc where the computer is controlling things, rather than just being a medium of communication (or absent entirely if we were playing this face to face).
    4. What you think that you as a player bring to the table as far as ability to contribute to the moral analysis that is going to be going on. Note that this could include links to especially good posts you have made on any subject where you applied rigorous analysis that stands mostly on its own rather than relying heavily on outside authorities (other than the Bible, or, in Boxing's case, whatever the enduring and fundamental tenants of his faith are) every other paragraph.
    5. Ditto for tactical planning and execution.
    6. The things you as a player want out of the game and hopefully the relative importance of each. Tactical puzzles? Enlightening debate for yourself and others? To play an interesting character well? To have the campaign be an interesting story and/or exist in a richly fleshed out world? Just hanging out with some people online? To bust some head? Etc, etc, etc.


    Some newer characters I've been working on (still far from finished).
    That Gnomish Druid I mentioned earlier
    Rational Gaze's Warforged (AKA mechanical man) Swordsage (AKA "Hollywood-style ninja" with supernatural powers).

    EDIT: Fair warning: I may have you individually be responsible for your characters mundane, non-combat gear. Ropes, mules, barding for the mules (yes, this counts as non-combat gear) and such.
    Last edited by Draco Dei; 08-27-2015 at 07:23 AM.

  8. #8
    tWebber
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    Name: Umbris

    Race: Homebrew cat created with Draco (Pantherian) not to be confused with PanTherian -.-;

    The Race is basically just Anthro-Cat

    Age: Pantherian live 40% longer than Humans
    ----Umbris is 31 years old, the human equivalent of 22

    Class: Rogue

    Description (physical): Stands 7' tall. weighs in at roughly 200 lbs. He can be seen wearing a dark cloak that ,oddly, makes him seem harmless. He also wears a pair of black gloves made of a strange cloth that upon closer inspection looks like it was made from pure shadow. Umbris is covered in Dark grey fur, with slightly darker stripes(the race in general have varied feline fur patterns and eye colorings). His eyes are green. face is mostly feline in shape but is fully capable of showing standard facial expression. Tail is roughly 4' long and can be useful for distraction among other things. overall, Umbris is lean and built for agility. His "hands" are indeed paws but with opposible "thumb" unit and with the flexibility of a hand, however the digits are stubbier and not built for handling things DESIGNED for small hands or fingers, however, he can handle general objects just fine.

    Description (Stats): The race naturally has an advantage in dexterity and charisma, however they lack in strength and constitution. +2 and -2 in the respective stats to be precise. Umbris is built accordingly. He has the special abilities Low-light vision, and pounce.

    ----pounce:(description here)

    Personality: Relatively introverted, speaks freely, but not in largely unnecessary quantities. in contrast, his survival has depended somewhat on his ability to talk his way out of situations. If he is pushed to talk in an uncomfortable or difficult moment, his statements or demeanor may be more "put on," which is to say, if you apply to much pressure to get to know him deeply or corner him, you might get tricked or meet a falsified persona that you may or may not see again. He is friendly and empathetic. he has a certain soft spot for the persecuted. He has no problem with making friends but as we will see in his backstory, he has had a hard time making lasting friendships due to his prior nomadic nature and need for a low profile. Building the trust of Umbris may take some time, but will be rewarded with loyal defense and teamwork.

    Discussion: Umbris is by default a neutral party. He has no hard set reason to back anyone in the present situations other than moral compass, empathy and a desire for peace. This may sound like a get-out-free card, but on the contrary, he has years of experience in subdued or silent observation and is in the perfect seat for playing devil's advocate or encouraging others to try and see both sides of an argument before passing a rash judgment or deciding to kill/maim and individual. My character will provide the role of mediator, and provide outside-of-the box reasoning. He will offer alternate perspectives to better find the truth or prevent the hasty assignment of blame. the true neutral in most cases, with a good intent and alignment.

    Alignment: Chaotic Good

    Tactical: Umbris is strategy oriented and prefers the suprise attack to the direct approach. He will be in need of a flanking partner as a rogue, but will also be a good proponent in causing diversion. Umbris has good scores in the following: Diplomacy, Gather Information, Tumble and Use Magic Device. He will try to use claws or bite for sneak attacks when sneaking or flanking is plausible. His pounce will allow him to move a decent distance in a relatively short time meaning, if you are fighting nearby, he can provide aid within a reasonable amount of time. Umbris's high charisma makes him a good choice for talking with NPC's and negotiating. He has a natural charm and knows how to apply smooth talk, he is also very careful with his words. He also has a decent score in both Bluff, and Intimidate.

    Backstory: Umbris Comes from a race of people known as the Pantherian. The Pantherian never established any civilized dwelling. They never settled because as they migrated they ran into ever increasing populations of Humans and dwarves who were either terrified of them or thought them a dirty or bestial race. They originally came from forested lands(natural language was Sylvan) that were hard to tame and left in search of more manageble for agriculture and expanding(Umbris's family were farmers in particular and he has Profession (Farmer)). They became permanently nomadic as they were attacked or hunted by the surrounding towns(pelts were large, durable and worth some coin as well as some bragging rights). Finally, they were persecuted to the point that the race was abruptly scattered and individual families fled in different directions. Umbris does not know of any large groups or individuals still in existence but hopes to one day find a mate of his kind and bring all he can find to Rucee to establish his people once and for all and perhaps build a city(Rucee is filled with diverse races).
    When the Pantherian were scattered, Umbris's mother had been separated and most probably killed. when he and his father escaped, he was only 15 (human equivalent: 11). His father was injured during the escape and lived for about another year and a half. His wound was treated, but never fully healed. His Father desperately searched for a legendary item only spoke of in bard's tales. He felt that if they could find the item, his son could use the item to escape future persecution, not knowing what the lands ahead held in store. They searched until his death for the item, always moving. As they traveled, His father taught him how to hide, barter, and effectively use language. When his father passed away, they had not yet found the artifact they sought. Umbris continued on searching not only for the treasure, but also for a place to call home. He vowed that if he ever found a place where his kind were welcome, he would ready himself to find his people and bring them to that place.

    Me: I want to have a good time playing and hope to see a good story and characters as well as character interaction develop. I'd like to get stronger at discussing moral and logical arguments. As a player I will provide psychological and empathetic analysis as well as try to bring out more subtle points of view. Like my character, I will try to provide alternate perspectives, reasoning, and ways of thinking about a topic. I will analogize, clarify, and make abstract comparison where useful and possible.
    ----I also wish to get more experience with the table top format, expand my sense of strategy and by all means develop a cool character that is multi-faceted and greater than face value.

  9. #9
    tWebber Rational Gaze's Avatar
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    Name: Mors/Thanatos (nicknames he was given that can be used interchangeably)

    Race: Warforged

    Age: 33

    Class: Swordsage

    Description: Basically made out of metal, etc. 6'6" tall, and 300lbs in weight. In terms of appearance, I was thinking of having him resemble Carl Urban's portrayal of Judge Dredd in Dredd
    dOfckKr.gif

    Except, of course, metal face... and, being war forged, no need for armour, but simply have the skin the same colour scheme, i.e. metallic black. The visor would be a customisation, of course.

    Personality: Outwardly stoic, in order to not betray emotions, etc. Very deep thinker (especially for a warforged.) Quiet and withdrawn/introverted when around those unfamiliar to him. Lightens up when around those whom he trusts. Has a hard time making friends, though, being warforged and all. Not because he doesn't like people, but because people find him odd and weird. Being warforged, does not really feel fear unless in certain extreme conditions. The same with anger, which is good, as he tends to go a little berserk when he gets angry. Despite being a warforged, nevertheless has a pretty good sense of humour. Treats enemies he considers non-threatening with utter derision and contempt, i.e. laugh in their face if they try threatening him, etc. Likes to deliver crushing insults and witty one-liners. However, ultimately prefers avoiding combat if possible. Whilst he does try to see alternate points of view, will absolutely not even bother considering a view he firmly believes to be false, unless some pretty convincing reasoning/evidence is provided.

    Tactically speaking, a mixture of classic warrior and stealth. Good at marching in and taking the brunt of the attacks whilst weaker party members pick off the enemies. Good at bottlenecking tight spaces to allow for possible allied AoE spells to take out enemies. Good at sneaking past enemies, getting the drop on unsuspecting enemies, and using diversionary tactics, vis a vis Metal Gear Solid/Splinter Cell. Has a crossbow for ranged attacks. Being metallic black in colour, good for blending into shadows and for remaining hidden at night. Obviously, due to his size, and race, does tend to stand out in cities, (however, this can be advantageous as he can be used in this regard as a distraction.)

    Backstory: Like all warforged, he was made rather than born. Was formerly a security guard for a wealthy business owner (during this time, his alignment was Lawful-Neutral.) Was later contracted out by the city guard for a special mission but he and his squad were betrayed by one of the other team members and left for dead. However, he was able to hold on long enough to repair himself to a point where he could then find a workshop/mechanic/blacksmith who could finish the repairs. After spending a few years in isolation and philosophical self-contemplation, he decided he had been spared by God for a specific reason, and so his mission in life is to do follow God's commandments and do God's work, essentially. His specific interpretation of this is to hunt down evil-doers and bring them in for justice. He hopes to find out one day why he and his team were betrayed, and to catch his betrayer. His chief concern is whether or not Warforged have souls, and whether or not he will go to heaven when he dies or if he will simply cease to exist. The possibility of oblivion is one of the few things that instills him with fear.
    Last edited by Rational Gaze; 08-28-2015 at 09:20 PM.

  10. #10
    tWebber
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    Pounce: You can full-attack (attack with all weapons) rather than attack only once at the end of a charge.

    Rational Gaze: Your character can currently do a bunch of cool things with a recharge mechanic between uses (basically you skip a round except for maybe changing your stance, and then you get to pick 6 things to have ready to go, which is the most you can have anyway).

    The cool things (called Maneuvers) I've picked for you are:
    Conjure shadows in front of an enemy if you hit them.
    Attack with a second, ghostly blade as a distraction from your real attack... or go for broke and try to hit with both, in which case the ghostly blade does 1d6 cold damage (only).
    Harden your flesh to the density of wood, thus ignoring 5 damage from every kinetic-energy hit... provided you hit with the associated melee attack.
    Conjure flames around all your weapons for the duration of your own turn. (can be combined with other attacks, including other maneuvers)
    Accelerate your movement speed for your turn. (can be done on the same turn as other maneuvers)
    Teleport 50' instead of attacking.
    Hit stuff really hard not only dealing more damage, but also not losing any damage for hitting wood/stone/metal etc.


    So... all of this to say that you have two choices for your last maneuver:
    1.) Attack twice if you don't move more than 5', but with -2 to-hit (on a 20 sided die).
    2.) Turn invisible for the duration of your own turn.

    EDIT: I wasn't terribly worried about your backstory (you struck me as a good roleplayer), and I still am not, but I did notice one thing that doesn't jibe with the setting: There is no way to create intelligence ex-nihilo in this setting. All human-level intelligent beings (including talking swords and such, let alone Warforged!) are more like "The Ship that Sang" in their origins than Hal 9000. IE you were a baby who was born deformed enough that you were going to be crippled for life, if you even survived very long. So your parents took you to some spellcaster who basically cut your heart out in a magical ritual to transfer your soul into a metal body and give you the knowledge and/or self-control to handle being in an adult-size-and-strength body. This is pretty nasty, but so are chemotherapy and a lot of surgical techniques if you think about them.

    I do like the wondering about the soul, although that could just be a lingering suspicion that he really did die on that laboratory table, and whatever he is now is not actually his soul, but simply a mind that was "jump started" with the death of the baby that people tell him he was. The fact that warforged can be returned to life as easily as humans or elves may be something he worries may not be true of him, or he may have similar "loop-hole" doubts about that.
    Last edited by Draco Dei; 08-28-2015 at 10:19 PM.

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