Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Priest Class

"All within the Mother Empire are of either of the Laity or the Clergy. Some of the Laity work within the Church -- they are a special class known as the Curacy. This separation of citizenry is mirrored in the Government. Only the Laity may be appointed to positions of executor in Civil or Military affairs -- the Governor and Grand Marshall at the highest levels, respectively. Only Clergy may be appointed to positions of Judge within the Parishes."
-Sister Belinda St. Rex, High Priest of Nein

JB over at B/X BLACKRAZOR posted some thoughts on the Cleric, which made me think about where the Priest Class is in terms of design in Sophia's Children. I thought this would make an interesting post on its own.

Priests, within the world of Sophia's Children, attune themselves to the Saints to acquire Prayers -- strange Abilities gifted to them by their Faith. Priests also have minor Abilities called Orisons that they can Cast at-will. Instead of Spells in a Spellbook, Priests must manage their Devotion to particular Saints -- furthering their Devotion to a particular Saint allow for increased access to that Saint's Prayer, and eventually more powerful expressions of this Prayer.

Priests undergo a strict screening process within the Mother Empire and are brought into the Church as Acolytes for their education. At the completion of their training they must pass a Test at a place called the Hall of Souls where they are Judged to be Competent enough for the Priesthood or Incompetent. Those who are Judged to be Incompetent may continue in the role of a Deacon (a minor Clergy-person less privilege than a full-clothed Priest), those who pass become Priests.

An Artistic Interpretation of the Hall of Souls 
Acolytes who return from the Hall of Souls as Priests have a Patron Saint. Indeed, the Faithful Laity will consider these Priests the very embodiment of that Saint -- much in the same way the Messiah is considered the embodiment of Sophia. This is reflected in surname of the Priest (E.G.: St. Rex, St. Alden, St. Michael).

Priests will experience their Patron in a variety of ways. For some it is a voice in their heads. Others, the Saint speaks through their mouths out loud instead of into their Mind. Some Priests actually experience their Patron as a hallucination in the environment, though this vision is only in the Mind of the Priest and the Patron cannot physically exert himself upon the world.

Each Patron has a unique Personality and Alignment -- Priests are not necessarily in complete harmony with their Patron. Also, the Patron is simply an avatar of the original Saint -- a Patron may embody the principles of the Saint, but also may not! Though tension may exist twixt a Priest and his Patron, the two personalities are bonded to one another for the Life of the Priest, so the Patron will never act this tension out maliciously.

Returning to the notion of Saints and the Prayers they gift upon the Faithful Priests. . .

Priests, by putting time and energy into a particular Saint, may increase their access to that Saint's Prayer. The initial Level of Devotion allows for a Priest to Memorize the Saint's simplest Prayer once. And, as with Magic-users, once this Memorized Prayer is Cast it is forgotten. A Priest may increase his access to Memorize multiple Castings of a Prayer by increasing his Devotion.

How does a Priest increase his Devotion? A Priest tithes his Silver to the Church and pays for ritual materials. He must also spend time in Holy Places meditating upon the Saint. In the Game System, after certain Levels of payment have been reached, the Priest raises his Level of Devotion for that particular Saint.

Here is an example straight from my draft notes:

Saint Michael the Confessor
Devotion LevelPrayer Access
1Prayer for Relief x1
2Prayer for Relief x2
3Prayer for Relief x3
4Prayer for Relief x4, Prayer for Respite x1

A Priest must Cast their Prayers through a Holy Cross -- a token of their Faith used when channeling the strange powers granted by the Hall of Souls. Once a Prayer is Cast -- as with Magic-users -- it is forgotten. A Priest may regain and rearrange his Memorized Prayers during his Upkeep -- the time between major excursions. A Priest may also utilize any fortunes gained towards the increase of his Devotions for particular Saints of his choosing.

There are several more elements that make Priests similar to and different from Magic-users that I have not elaborated on in this post. I'll be elaborating more on this Class in the future, but I am now focused on producing a cohesive set of rules for a simple playtest document.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Standard Conditions

"There are many concoctions available to relieve the spirit and body -- some of these are Ancient, others are more Modern inventions of Alchemy. The harvesting of Black Leaf is a very Ancient Tradition going back to Eden which is written about in the Book of the Law. The leaf can be dried and smoked in cigarettes of slow-burning paper for an energizing effect. The root can be dug up and baked, then ground into a powder. This powder, when strained through scalding water, produces what the Hassan call the qahwah or wine of the root -- though in Mannish we call this coffee. This produces a similar effect to smoking the leaf, but is preferable to some for the flavor. Modern Alchemy has produced what is known as Dust -- a refined product of this plant that has a powerful stimulating and painkilling effect on the body and brain -- though it is dangerous to the health if overused."
-Stephen the Alchemist, Purveyor of Medical Goods

An Alchemist's Laboratory

EDITED (2/27/13 @ 8:12 PM): I applied the most recent version of my notes to the details of Poison and Disease as I was working off of old notes for this post.

The System and Setting of Sophia's Children has a set of standard Conditions. I have designed these Conditions as associated mechanics in that the names and descriptions of the effects translate directly into the setting and narrative of the Game -- at least that is my goal.

Each of these Conditions have particular game-effects which are described below. Before getting into the different Conditions, I should talk about how Saving Throws work in Sophia's Children as I have done something slightly different with it than what may be expected.

The Saving Throw & Durations

Saving Throws represent overwhelming external or internal effects that are not impact by individual ability. Deadly Poison is Deadly Poison. A 50' Fall is a 50' Fall. Dodging in Heavy Armor is Dodging in Heavy Armor. I have deliberately removed the granularity of the Saving Throw.

The Saving Throw in my System is used to not only shrug-off a condition, it also handles Durations of effects in the System -- there are NO effects that last "3 rounds," "end of the 4th round," "1d6+1 rounds" et cetera.

Every Character (PC or Monster) has exactly ONE save available to them when they take an Action. They can choose which effect to save against, but can only choose one.

Some Conditions may become Permanent if they are not removed in time. These effects, when applied, begin a "Three Strikes" count. Failing to remove the condition three times in a row, either due to failing the Save or choosing to attempt a Save against some other condition, causes the effect to become Permanent.

Certain abilities can provide additional Saving Throws against effects, others may remove certain effect entirely (such as Remove Disease). Generally speaking, if an effect is Permanent, an additional Save can be made by the application of Minor or Major Healing on that Character. Using one of these additional Saving Throws against an effect that has not yet become Permanent, does not count as a Strike.

Currently I am experimenting with two different methods of resolving the Saving Throw. The goal with the design is for the Save to resolve as quickly as possible in the real-time play of the game. Outside of the resolution method in specific, there are exactly three kinds of Saving Throws: Easy, Standard and Hard. An Easy Save has about a 75% chance of success. A Standard Save has about a 50% chance of success. And a Hard Save has about a 25% chance of success. When a Saving Throw is called for in the System, it will also indicate which kind (Easy, Standard, Hard) it is.

The Standard Conditions, A Sampling

Bleeding: Causes a Character to lose Hit Points at the beginning of his Action. This Damage bypasses Damage Reduction from Armor. Multiple Bleeding effects retains the highest value and the worst Save. Any amount of Healing allows a bonus Save against this effect. Bleeding is never Permanent.

Burning: Causes a Character to lose Hit Points at the beginning of his Action. This Damage can be reduced by Armor with Damage Reduction. Burning effects are expressed as a number of six-sided dice to roll for Damage and, as with Bleeding, the highest value and worst Save is retained when multiple Burning effects are applied against a Character. Healing does not trigger an additional Save as with Bleeding, but a Character can spend their Action attempting to put out the fire deliberately for an additional Save against this effect. Like Bleeding, Burning is never Permanent.

Poison: Causes a Character to immediately drop to 0 Hit Points or cut their current Hit Points in half, depending on the strength of the Poison. Poison is always a "3-Strike" Condition when applied. There are three Levels of Poison: A, B and C. "A-Level" Poison reduces current Hit Points in half after failing to remove the Condition a third time. "B-Level" Poison reduces current Hit Points to 0 after the third Strike. "C-Level" Poison is a special case in that getting a 2nd Strike results in halved Hit Points and a 3rd Strike results in 0 Hit Points. Multiple instances of Poison effects do not stack, but do increase the Save and Poison Type to the higher of the combined values. In addition, this applies one Strike against the existing Poison effect -- which will immediately apply the result of that Strike against the target as per the Poison Level currently applied to them.

Disease: Causes a Character to take double Damage from ALL sources. This comes in several flavors. Sickness is removed after receiving Damage from any one source -- any source of Healing or Resting will also remove the Sickness. The Common Disease can be Permanent (no Save) or be applied as a three-Strike effect. Any source of Healing or Resting will allow an additional Save -- but is removed during Upkeep. The Black Plague is a severely crippling effect that lasts until an Upkeep period (as long as the Character has access to Surgical or Clerical assistance), but Major Healing can allow for extra Saves to remove it. The Plague will also halve all source of Healing, in addition to doubling all sources of Damage. These three effects do not stack with themselves and are tracked separately from one another. The doubling of Damage only occurs once though, even if a Character is Sickened, is permanently afflicted with the Common Disease and is shaking off the Black Plague all at once.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ability Scores & Classes

"The Revelers in attendance chittered to one another in their strange language. Then, with facial expressions connoting humor, all threw their heads back while clacking their jaws and teeth in a tap-tap-tapping manner."
-Faris Al-Farid, the Explorer of The Silent Kingdoms

Today's post is just some further thoughts on how Ability Scores and Classes interact in the system. I will be releasing the "Playtest Document" with rules up to Level 4.  I will probably put up a Character Creation snippet from the document in the next week, but for now let me talk a bit on how Ability Scores progress.

A beginning, Level 0 PC starts with three points across the three Ability Scores: Strength, Agility and Intellect. The assignments of these three points is at random which, for the races of Men, is dictated by Sign, Background and Race.

After earning 500 Experience Points PCs are promoted to "Level 1/2" and are able to assign 1 point to the Ability Score of their choice. At Level 1 PCs select their Class, which will be a choice between Fighter, Thief or Magic-user (Projectioneer or Pyromancer). Each Class has an Ability Score that is Primary and Ability Scores that are Secondary. At Level 1 and 3 PCs receive 1 point in their Primary Ability Score. At Level 2 and 4 PCs receive 1 point that they can place in one of their Secondary Ability Scores. Here is how things break down:

Level Experience Total Ability Scores Ability Score Gains
0 0 3 +1 by Sign +1 by Race +1 by Background
1/2 500 4 +1 of Choice
1 1500 5 +1 to Primary Ability Score
2 3500 6 +1 to Secondary Ability Score of Choice
3 7500 7 +1 to Primary Ability Score
4 16,000 8 +1 to Secondary Ability Score of Choice

Each of the three Classes that will be part of the Playtest Release will have the what should be the stereotypical Primary and Secondary Ability Scores. Fighters are Strength-Primary. Thieves are Agility-Primary and Magic-users and Intellect-Primary.

Just for review, Ability Scores, within Sophia's Children, are each a summary of a Character's effectiveness in a certain area. Fighters, as they grow in melee prowess, will increase in Strength. Magic-users, as they increase their magical abilities, will increase in Intellect. Note: The numbers for each Ability Score are used as a raw number -- there are NO derived scores as in D&D.

Strength is a bonus to Melee Attack rolls. It also confers bonus Hit Points, as well as a bonus to damage with most Weapons. Strength is also used as a requirement for Armor and most Weapons.

Agility is a bonus to Ranged Attack rolls. It also provides the Initiative bonus and the Armor Class bonus. Agility is sometimes a requirement for certain Weapons.

Intellect is a bonus to Special Resistance (Defense against powerful effects, like Spells), in addition to providing bonus Action Points -- which allows for additional uses of abilities. Intellect is also applied to bonus damage with Spells and other extraordinary effects such as Healing.

Each Ability Score contributes to the offensive capability of character. Strength for Melee Attack Rolls and Weapon Damage. Agility for Ranged Attack Rolls and sometimes Weapon Damage. Intellect for additional Action Points and Spell Damage.

Each also provides a defensive benefit. Strength for bonus Hit Points. Agility for Armor Class. Intellect for Special Resistance.

Each also provides a tertiary benefit. Strength is a requirement for Armor and most Weaponry. Agility provides Initiative bonus and some requirements for Weaponry. Intellect is a requirement for more powerful Spells.

Monday, February 25, 2013

At the Silent Kingdoms, Part 2. And I Beheld The Court

Part 1.

From the Journals of Anis Al-Farid, the Explorer and companion of Nigel the Sage and Glenn, Get of Erwin, the Warrior.

The Nobility Menagerie

I write further of my time with the Lords and Ladies of the Silent Kingdoms. We were welcomed into the Kingdom of one that we referred to in our common tongue as The Lord of Wolves. During our time with the Lord we learned some of the history and customs of these people.

On the first night The Lord of Wolves held a Grand Court, inviting his Vassals from across his Dominion. They came, draped in strange clothes made of leather, wools and metals which were dyed in extravagant ways. The three of us were Guests of Honor and our Host made sure to keep the three of us close as his Vassals arrived.

As each of the Vassals entered the Great Hall, they approached the Lord. They exchanged salutations with The Lord of Wolves and he would speak to us in Mannish the names of the Guests. All of them were exquisitely dressed and unlike any person we had ever encountered on Nod -- even the nuances of their physical characteristics were unique to them.

There was the Black Baroness of the West in attendance with a group of her hooded Thralls. She was draped in heavy black cloths, leaving only her pure-white face exposed. Her Thralls were covered head-to-toe in black cloths themselves, but wore veils that obscured their physicality. The Baroness, when greeting the Lord extended her hand while removing a long, black glove from it. The Baroness was similar the Lord of Wolves, in that her fingers and hand were long and taloned, but instead of being hirsute, were wrinkled, brown and hairless.

The Magnificent Crimson Lord of the East, in bespoke metal armor with his Thrall-lover. The Magnificent had great scars upon his face, throat and hands, as if he had endured a great many battles in close-combat. Indeed, his metal regalia indicated his position as some kind of Warrior or Knight in this land. As he extended left hand to the Lord, we noticed he was missing two fingers. He had a male lover with him, that he had dressed in close-fitting leathers for this occasion. This was the first time we had a closer look at the Thralls as The Lord of Wolves called them in Mannish. They appeared not dissimilar from their Masters -- which made us wonder just what separated Master from Slave in this land.

The Aged One of the North with pure-white hair and skin like paper -- in attendance by himself. He was taller than the others. He wore a large medallion on his chest made of some precious metal like platinum. This medallion was carved the face of a Great Lizard, a Dragon. He seemed impossibly ancient, but moved with a grace just as much, if not more, than the others.

Others: the Veiled Woman, the Chattering Cabal, the Leathered Lady, the King of Shadows. We stood politely with our Host as they arrived, not wanting to offend the Nobility of this strange new land we found ourselves in.

Though it was not obvious to us at first, it was during this Court that we realized these Silent Kingdoms had a language of their own. They spoke to one another through the chattering of their teeth and the clicking of their tongues. Sometimes this chattering and clicking was punctuated  through a forced grunt or rattling-yowl -- like animals. Nigel, the Sage, whispered his observation to me after our shared realization, "Al-Farid, these Men speak without breath. Indeed, it is my observation that we are amongst Men that do not breathe at all."

In our studies of the Six Tribes of Men, it is known that each had distinct physical differences even during the mythical time in Eden -- and that these differences were accentuated further by the thousands of years hence. But the loss of the need for breath? This made no sense.

Our Host, in a private moment, spoke to us once all of the Guests had arrived. "I trust. . .you are. . .comfortable?" He spoke in a forced manner, as if a mechanical bellows were being pressed within his chest.

"Yes, you have been most generous! But we have observed the manner in which you speak, this is like no language known to us."

"Yes. . .this is our language. . .but we have retained this ancient Trade Language. . .as I speak it to you now."

"Forgive my intrusiveness, but it seems to be a labor for you to speak to us in this way?"

"There is much. . .that would have to be explained." The Lord of Wolves silently regarded me for a long moment. He glanced towards the Guests, who were now greeting and mingling with one another before speaking again. ". . .it is a Great Tragedy. . .We do not speak of it."

"Each of us here have had Tragedy. My people, the Hassan, who settled in the Wastes far South from here, must always travel -- never able to permanently create a home -- due to the dangers there. My companions from the far West are refugees from a State that had robbed them of their families under the guise of Order. Surely you can speak to us, some, of your own!"

"I will share this much. . .with you now. . .as the Feast will begin soon. . .and our tables have been prepared. . .we were once Slaves. . .treated worse than cattle. . .now we are the Masters. . .but we follow. . .a Code. . .and we are Kind Masters."

Just as the Lord of Wolves finished speaking this, one of his hooded Thralls approached us, clicking and chattering in their language. The Lord translated for us, suddenly exuberant: "All is prepared. . .my Guests. . .Come!"

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hey, Look: Another Community Project Contribution

The Projectioneer
These are fun. Gorgonmilk has posted another request for contributions to his Magical Insanity Project. Here is my contribution.

Magician's Fugue (Magical Disease, Permanent):

NOTE: If already under the effect of Magician's Fugue, go to Total Recall, below.

The Magician has, in attempting to the Cast the Spell from his Mind, accidentally lodged it into a hidden part of his Psyche. The Magician, while under the effects of this Disease, has completely forgotten his understanding of the Spell that has triggered the Fugue.

NOTE: There are many variations of the Art & Science of Magic in the Multi-verse. Some Magicians Cast from a Pool of Power within their Minds through their Known Spells (known as Sorcerors or Psionics on some Planets). Others Program specific Spells into their Mind-Form that are Forgotten once Cast -- necessitating multiple instances of a Spell be Memorized if the Magician wishes to Cast a specific Spell more than once (known as Wizards or simply Magic-users on some Planes).

In the latter form of Spell-Magic, the Magician loses the other instances of the Spell in addition to the one Cast that triggered the Fugue. While in the Former, only the Magician's understanding is impacted, not the Pool of Energy utilized for Castings.

While under the effects of the Fugue, further Castings of the Spell that triggered the Fugue is impossible -- effectively striking the Spell from the Magician's list of Known Spells. This is a Permanent Magical Disease and can only be removed by way of a Remove Disease Spell or similar.

Note: Even redundantly researching the Spell so-forgotten will not bring the understanding of it back to the Magician. The Spell is a complete mystery to the Magician now.

Total Recall (Instant):

If a Magician who is currently under the effects of Magician's Fugue comes under the effects of the Fugue again -- the secret part of the Magician's Mind where Spells sometimes get lodged is blasted open by the transposition of a second Spell. This results in two effects:

The primary effect of this is that the Spell that has triggered this second instance of Fugue is NOT forgotten -- AND the Spell that was originally forgotten is remembered. 

The second effect of this is that the old Spell that has been remembered is immediately Cast as the Magician's total recall of the Spell is psychologically explosive -- the exact effects (targets et cetera) should be randomly determined by the DM.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Alignment Quiz: A Few More Dilemmas

"Join us tonight. We have no rules. We don't mind that you'll be at Church the next Sunday asking the Messiah for forgiveness, spitting curses at us. This tiny packet of powder, a natural product of the Earth, is all you need to achieve Ecstasy  Yes, take this sample. Taste it. There will be more where that came from tonight. . ."
-'Peace Be Unto You,' High Priest of the Pink Flower Cult

Here are a few more dilemmas from the Alignment Quiz I am developing:

The Bet
Your Family has just won a nice sum of Silver in a Numbers-Lottery held monthly by the local Thief Guild. This Money will afford your Family's expenses for the next Few Months, with some to spare for Savings. When collecting your Winnings the Money-Man advises you that you could Triple your Winnings by participating in a Dice-Game that is just about to start at one of the Taverns nearby.
Do you: 
1) Take your Winnings home to your Family, passing on the Game of Chance, or 
2) Announce tat you Will Play, as the Potential Winnings could make your Family's living situation much More Comfortable.

The Coin
You are walking a Friend back to a Orphanage where he now lives, as his parents had both died several months ago. After seeing him to the door, you see a Gold Coin that had been lodged between two cobblestones on the side of the road.
Do you:
1) Give the Coin to your Friend, or
2) Pocket the Coin without mentioning it.

The Fight
You and a Rival are engaged in a Duel of fisticuffs. The Fight lasts for some time and you are being Cheered on by Friends. Your Rival lands a Powerful Blow that Knocks you to the floor -- you Black Out for a moment. When you come to, you see that your Friends have grappled your Rival and are encouraging you to take a Free Shot.
Do you:
1) Take the Free Shot, it's Too Bad your Rival didn't have his own Allies nearby, or
2) Order your Friends to release your Rival, as he has proven to be the Better Combatant.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Places. . .

"The Unitarians gather secretly in this place. They are Zealots seeking to overthrow the Messiah --you'll never know if the people you meet on the street may be one of Them. I have seen June the Baker bring bundles of her provisions in here prior to the gatherings -- perhaps you should start by speaking with her. . ."
-Aludra Al-Burhan, Street Merchant in the Southerly Slums

This image captures the Lawful Goodness of the Paladins from the All-One Church

Here is my next post on Dungeoneering and Citycrawling that will form the basis of the initial iteration of Sophia's Children. As with the previous couple of posts on this topic, much of what I am writing will be forming as I write it. I am open to whatever feedback anyone may wish to provide on this as well, though I am cognizant of the small audience my blog currently has. Here we go!


Places are procedurally generated in a similar manner to People. As with People, some Places are Unique and will have a specific description tagged to it. Places can be Empty, contain Clues, be Trapped and have Secrets. As with my posting on People, let's begin with a simple 1d6 Roster for our beginning Level of the Asylum Underhalls. Along with this Roster are two Unique tags using Roman numerals: these are specific places on the Level that have a Unique description that is not generated using the Roster.

A room: empty, but for dust, dirt and the scent of mold. (Empty.)
In the center of this chamber is a long-dead corpse of a man, who lays upon a steel pressure-plate that has been depressed. Above the the corpse, in the ceiling, is a small iron grate. (Clue.)
This chamber contains, in one corner, a steel cage behind which is a large treasure chest. There is no obvious manner in which to open the steel cage -- but a rung of large steel chain links run from the cage into an opening in the walls. (Secret.)
In the center of this chamber is a raised dais with a large lever. When pulling this lever there is a loud grinding sound in the distance that lasts for five minutes. Pulling this lever also raises the cage in Roster #3. (Secret.)
In the center of this chamber is a large steel pressure-plate. In the ceiling is a small iron grate. If pressed there will be a loud grinding sound in the distance that lasts for five minutes. If anybody is in the room at the end of five minutes the room is filled with a Poison gas that emanates from a grate above the pressure plate. (Trap.)
This room contains several piles of rubbish. If these piles are searched through, several old coins of silver will be found in rotten pouches. (Secret.)
This is a long-abandoned records-room. Some of the records are still legible. If searched through there will be a record about certain patients being left locked within their cells upon building new floors above the old floors. There are also records of the mechanisms developed by the old wardens to dispatch unrehabilitatable patients in various ways.
This used to be a records-room, but it appears to have been ransacked at some point in its history. There are some legible papers regarding the mental, medical and spiritual states of patients long ago held in this place.

This Dungeon Level is coded to a nodal grid that looks like this (Figure 1):

When moving into a blank Node, a roll on the Roster for Places is performed -- that's what's in that Node. When moving into a Node with a numeral, the indicated location beneath the Roster is used.

Expanding the Principle

By itself, this creates a degree of modularity and we have a basic procedural method for generating rooms. As with People, let's create some method by which the Roster items Shift or Point to another Roster item.

A room: empty, but for dust, dirt and the scent of mold. (Empty.)
1st: In the center of this chamber is a long-dead corpse of a man, who lays upon a steel pressure-plate that has been depressed. Above the the corpse, in the ceiling, is a small iron grate. (Clue.)
2nd: In the center of this chamber is a large steel pressure-plate. In the ceiling is a small iron grate. If pressed there will be a loud grinding sound in the distance that lasts for five minutes. If anybody is in the room at the end of five minutes the room is filled with a poison gas that emanates from a grate above the pressure plate. (Trap.)
3rd: Go to 1st.
1st: This chamber contains, in one corner, a steel cage behind which is a large treasure chest. There is no obvious manner in which to open the steel cage -- but a rung of large steel chain links run from the cage into an opening in the walls. (Secret.)
2nd: Go to #4.
1st: In the center of this chamber is a raised dais with a large lever. When pulling this lever there is a loud grinding sound in the distance that lasts for five minutes. Pulling this lever also raises the cage in Roster #3, 1st. (Secret.)
2nd: Go to #5.
1st: In the center of this chamber is a large steel pressure-plate. In the ceiling is a small iron grate. If pressed there will be a loud grinding sound in the distance that lasts for five minutes. If anybody is in the room at the end of five minutes the room is filled with a Poison gas that emanates from a grate above the pressure plate. (Trap.)
2nd: This room is empty, except for a large metal grate in the floor. If inspected, a foul odor is behind the grate that causes whoever is inspecting it to become Sick. (Clue + Trap.)
3rd: Go to #6.
This room contains several piles of rubbish. If these piles are searched through, several old coins of silver will be found in rotten pouches. (Secret.)
This is a long-abandoned records-room. Some of the records are still legible. If searched through there will be a record about certain patients being left locked within their cells upon building new floors above the old floors. There are also records of the mechanisms developed by the old wardens to dispatch unrehabilitatable patients in various ways.
This is used to be a records-room, but it appears to have been ransacked at some point in its history. There are some legible papers regarding the mental, medical and spiritual states of patients long ago held in this place.

Putting it Together

So, let's see what this may look like by way of a narrative:

The PCs enter the Asylum Underhalls and encounter Room I, where they discover old records and details about old traps and locked-away patients.
They move to the south, a normal room that is rolled upon the Roster as #4. They see the large lever on the dais, but do nothing with it -- being wary.
The proceed to the north and west, and #4 is again rolled on the Roster. Since they had already encountered the 1st instance of this Roster item, the 2nd instance is indicated -- which points to Roster item #5. They see the large pressure plate in the middle of the room and, after examining the room more closely, notice the grate in the ceiling. Heeding the warnings in the documents they perused earlier, they do not press the pressure plate, but proceed to the north.
In this room Roster #6 is rolled. They see the rubbish strewn about and search, finding some old silver coins -- this should help afford any repairs their equipment may need if they encounter any of the Ghastly denizens rumored to be in these Underhalls!

I think that this System is coming together a bit more. In my next post on this topic I will talk about Things -- the "stuff" that can be encountered in a Dungeon that is not People or Places.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Daggers: The Mechanical Representation Of

Just a quick follow-up post to my previous one on Daggers. Here are how Daggers are represented within the game rules. I have included along with the basic Daggers some more powerful and less powerful versions. Side note: Fractions are always rounded down (E.G.: Agility of 3 * 1.5 = 4). Also: I have not included my Durability rules in my postings yet, but just note that all equipment has Durability and that this is checked during Rests and Upkeeps -- not in the middle of combat.

Daggers: No Requirements for use. No bonus to Scaling Grade for two-handed use.

Dirk, AKA Academy Blade
Attack: +1, +2 if used two-handed
Damage: 1d6 + (Agility * 1.0)
Durability: 6 of 6

Stiletto, AKA Murder Knife
Attack: +2, +3 if used two-handed
Damage: 1d6 + (Agility * 0.5)
Durability: 5 of 5

Janbiya, AKA Hassan Personal Blade
Attack: +0, +1 if used two-handed
Damage: 1d6+1 + (Agility * 1.5)
Durability: 6 of 6

Crude Dirk
Attack: +0, +1 if used two-handed
Damage: 1d6 + (Agility * 1.0)
Durability: 4 Breaks at 0 Durability.

Broken Janbiya
Attack: -1, +0 if used two-handed
Damage: 1d6+1 + (Agility * 1.0)
Durability: 0 of 4 Upgrades to Janbiya when Repaired

Steel Masterworked Murder Knife
Attack: +2, +3 if used two-handed
Damage: 2d6 + (Agility * 1.0)
Durability: 6 of 6

Glowing Hassan-Steel Academy Blade (Supernatural, Lawful Dexter)
Attack: +2, +3 if used two-handed Critical Hits on Natural-10
Damage: 2d6 + (Agility * 1.5)
Durability: 8 of 8

The Melee Weapons: Daggers

"If it's work you're looking for I would recommend speaking to the two men sitting on the other end of the tavern. The old one goes by Hamlin around here -- but I don't think that's his real name. He comes in with his pal there and usually has a job or two he needs done, usually has to do with business related to criminals that have slipped by the Guards. The other one is Kody, he is an agent of the Thieves Guild in this part of Nein. He can connect you with work that requires more *ahem* subtlety than Hamlin."
--Old Man Trent, Regular at The Red Room in Nein

Daggers are simple one-handed blades used for thrusting. Some Daggers are also used for slashing. Daggers are the most common martial weapon carried by people in Nein as they are easily concealed and do not require much specialized training to use. Also, since large military weapons will draw the attention of the Guard, they especially have utility for those persons who wish to employ subtlety in the deployment of their weaponry.

Daggers are of three common types within the world of Sophia's Children: the Dirk, the Stiletto and the Janbiya.

The Military Dirk or Academy Blade
The Dirk is a short blade that is standard issue for Guards and Soldiers of the Mother Empire. While it also referred to as the Military Dirk, the Dirk is popular amongst non-military citizens of Nein due to its versatility and size. The Dirk is a symbol of martial prowess as all graduates of the Academy receive a personally issued blade -- known as Academy Blades. Non-military issue Dirks are less elaborate, but are just as effective.

The Stiletto or Murder Knife
The Stiletto is a thin blade used for thrusting. It has no edge and is primarily used for puncturing armor, flesh and organs. It was originally a side-arm used by Knights during the Great War where it was known as the Mercy Knife -- the blade would be plunged downwards from the throat to slay a felled opponent who had been crippled upon the battlefield in their armor. In the Modern Era, the Stiletto is now known as the Murder Knife, as it sees much use by Thieves and Assassins in the dispatching of their marks and rivals. The Stiletto excels in its ability to quickly plunge itself into opponents by way of its tapered point and has the benefits of being concealable as other Daggers.

The Hassan Janbiya or Personal Blade
The Janbiya is a traditional Hassan weapon. All men and women of maturity are issued Janbiya as a rite of passage. Indeed, many Hassan families have Janbiyas that have been passed down through many generations. The loss of this Personal Blade is considered a great dishonor and a Hassan will go to great lengths to retrieve it. Even amongst Hassan who never use the Janbiya for combat, the Personal Blade is considered symbolic of their Hassan heritage. The Janbiya itself is a heavy, curved blade. It is primiarly used as a slashing weapon, though it is capable of issuing horrible gouges with its large point. Amongst the Westmen, Janbiya blades are constructed and sold by traveling or settled Hassan Armsmiths, though these versions are of a lesser quality than the heirlooms that circulate through their clans.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Hollow Giant

Gorgonmilk is running another Community Project, d30 Arcane Dwellings. Below is my entry into his Project. He really has some great ideas on his blog, generally. Check him out! Just a side note: My entry is not within the setting of Sophia's Children -- just a whimsy that could be found within any appropriate fantasy setting!

Hollow Giant:
The Hollow Giant is the result of an Animate Dead spell cast on the stitched-together flesh of Titanic Humanoids wrapped around an iron housing. Along with the Hollow Giant proper comes the Command Ring that allow the Wizard to direct the actions of the Hollow Giant, as well as stay in communication with it when away from the dwelling.

The entrance to the Hollow Giant's chamber is through the mouth, which will unhinge to accommodate the entrance and exit of the Wizard -- with a directive through the Command Ring, of course. Once inside, the resident-Wizard will find that within the Giant's enormous ironclad belly is a finely furnished and provisioned single-person dwelling -- fit for study, respite or simply isolating oneself from the Mundane World.

The resident-Wizard within the Hollow Giant should take care and bring plenty of scented oils and salts into the iron housing. The Animation spell, while complete, does nothing for the horrible stench of the dead that the Giant continues to exude. Caveat Emptor!


People, Places & Things

"The Chimeras are real and they dwell within the forgotten places of the Earth. I have encountered several in my time and each were a formidable opponent. Some of these Beasts are impossibly Ancient as they are beyond the Death of Aging as the Giants. Your Mundane weaponry will do you no good against these Monsters either. . ."
-Lady Knight Elise of Suffolk, of the Black Dog Brotherhood

So, I will be posting some more about how I think the Game outside of the combat and character creation procedures should go. As I said in my previous post, some of this is already in draft form, but I want to present a Completed game for testing that includes a method for generating situations to place PCs into. Since much of what I will be writing on this matter will be off the top of my head, some of this will be disjointed and perhaps not as well formed as my postings on Game elements and Systems that have already been drafted out to my satisfaction.

I have started with the following concepts to lay out the System: People, Places and Things. My plan is to put together a System for the procedurally generated dungeon and city scapes. This is not completely random as there will be a method to the randomization. But, again, this is not entirely well-formed and I am writing and thinking and designing as I go with this.


The Dungeon is Peopled by four groups of Monsters. Wandering Monsters, Patrolling Monsters, Guarding Monsters and Monsters in Lairs. The list of available Monsters for a Floor is placed onto a Roster. Here's an example Roster:

1: Godling Scrappers
2: Ghastly Crawlers
3: Ghastly Walkers
4: Godling Axe-patrol
5: Godling Elites
6: Ghoul Retrievers
7: Monstrous Wolfhound
8: Scittering Ur-Beasts
9: Motherly Ur-Beast

A Wandering Monster has no set location and will only be encountered while the PCs are moving throughout the Dungeon proper. A Patrolling Monster is capable of being encountered randomly, but also may appear in one of the Set locations for Monsters within a Dungeon. A Guarding Monster is only ever encountered within a set location. Lastly, a Monster within a Lair is a set encounter with no randomization within a Dungeon.

Locations for Monsters are keyed upon the Dungeon in two ways: 1) Set locations and 2) Lairs. A set location is an area within the Dungeon is a guaranteed encounter with a Monster from the Roster. A Lair is an encounter that is set within the Dungeon and is not generated by the Roster. Here's an illustrated example of what I mean:

In the above figure there are two Red Starred locations: A. and B. And a single Blue Starred location: C. Area B. is connected to Areas A. and C. When entering areas A. or B., due to the Red Star, this will be a Guaranteed Monster encounter, resulting in a roll on the Roster for the level. The Area C. is a Lair encounter which has a specific encounter associated with it that is not on the Roster -- the DM would reference that specific encounter on the map instead of rolling on the Roster.

The way the Roster is used for both Random and Set Monster locations is as follows: Random encounters roll 1d6; Set encounters roll 1d6+3. Returning to our example Roster for the Level, this is how this spreads out.

1: Godling Scrappers (Wandering Only)
2: Ghastly Crawlers (Wandering Only)
3: Ghastly Walkers (Wandering Only)
4: Godling Axe-patrol (Wandering or Set)
5: Godling Elites (Wandering or Set)
6: Ghoul Retrievers (Wandering or Set)
7: Monstrous Wolfhound (Set Only)
8: Scittering Ur-Beasts (Set Only)
9: Motherly Ur-Beast (Set Only)

By itself, this creates an environment that has a degree of unpredictability for both the PCs and the DM, but lets add a bit more to this procedure. Looking at the list and dice procedure. Encounters #1 - #6 can occur randomly while moving through the Level. Encounters #4 - #9 can occur when moving into rooms that are populated with Monsters according to the Map.

After encountering a Monster the Roster Updates in a certain way depending on the results of the encounter. The Roster can Update in several different ways. 1) The Roster item is eliminated and points to the next available item. 2) The Roster item shifts to an alternate item on the same line. This will require some further edits to our Roster, first let's do the basic Update on Killing the Monster from the Roster.

1: Godling Scrappers (Wandering Only); If Killed Go to #2
2: Ghastly Crawlers (Wandering Only); If Killed Go to #3
3: Ghastly Walkers (Wandering Only); If Killed Go to #4
4: Godling Axe-patrol (Wandering or Set); If Killed Go to #5
5: Godling Elites (Wandering or Set); If Killed Go to #6
6: Ghoul Retrievers (Wandering or Set); If Killed Go to #1 if Wandering or #7 if Set
7: Monstrous Wolfhound (Set Only); If Killed Go to #8
8: Scittering Ur-Beasts (Set Only); If Killed Go to #9
9: Motherly Ur-Beast (Set Only); If Killed Go to #4

So, while the PCs move through the Dungeon and encounter Monsters randomly and in Set Encounters, they will eventually exhaust the denizens of the Level. But I have only shown the elimination of a Roster item. Let's play with this a bit to show the second result which is a Shift in the Roster item.

1: 1st: Godling Scrappers (Wandering Only); If Killed Go to #2
2: 1st: Ghastly Crawlers (Wandering Only); 2nd: The PCs hear a moaning in the distance.; 3rd: Return to 1st
3: 1st: Ghastly Walkers (Wandering Only); 2nd: 1 Ghastly Crawler; 3rd: Return to 1st
4: Godling Axe-patrol (Wandering or Set); If Killed Go to #5
5: 1st: If Set the PCs encounter a recently abandoned camp site OR if Wandering the PCs hear the distant sounds of a group of patrolling Godlings; 2nd: Godling Elites; 3rd: Return to 1st
6: Ghoul Retrievers (Wandering or Set); If Killed Go to #1 if Wandering or #7 if Set

7: Monstrous Wolfhound (Set Only); If Killed Go to #8
8: Scittering Ur-Beasts (Set Only); If Killed Go to #9
9: Motherly Ur-Beast (Set Only); If Killed Go to #4

This creates a more dynamic environment that is being procedurally generated using the most basic mechanics: one die roll and noting when Roster items have been encountered. Here is a narrative example of how this could play out:

The PCs, upon entering the Halls underneath the Old Asylum, run into a Wandering Monster. A 2 is rolled, a group of Ghastly Crawlers. The PCs dispatch these Monsters and continue moving through the area. Several rooms in, the PCs encounter a Set Monster room. A 4 is rolled on 1d6, which is a 7 with 3 added to it. A Monstrous Wolfhound has made its Lair in this room!
The PCs run from this encounter and move to another room, triggering a Wandering Monster through their noisy retreat. A 2 is rolled, but since they have already dealt with the 1st instance of Ghastly Crawlers, the 2nd instance on this Roster item is encountered: the PCs hear the moanings of a group of Crawlers scraping their way around the Dungeon!

So, that's what I have so far for these procedures. I have similar procedures in mind for Places and Things within the Dungeon. I will elaborate on these in the next couple of posts!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A "Completed" Game vs. "Complete Game"

"If you wish to Duel, please sign in with the Referee. Of course you will have to turn your weapons in and we ask that Duelists fight unfettered with only the waistcloth -- so you will have to undress before proceeding to the Pit. To the left you'll see the racks where you can take your pick of Broadblades to Duel with -- I would recommend practicing a bit with one against the strawmen we have hanging so that you take one that meets your balance needs. Oh, they have been dulled so that you won't sever any limbs off, but you will still draw blood!"
-Zane, Senior Patron at the Secret Dueling Club in Nein

I want the Game of Sophia's Children to be a Completed Game as opposed to a Complete Game. I do not intend to present a System that can accomplish everything or anything within the genre of Fantasy. I want to present a very specific System that accomplishes something in a very specific manner. The rest of this post will be a bit rambling, but may help me clarify my ideas. . .

I recall the two games I think to be the most Completed: Shadowrun and Old School Dungeons & Dragons. They were Completed in the sense that, in addition the rules that handled the Microscopic conflicts and decision-making, there were rules to handle the Macroscopic elements these rules systems interacted with.

For examples. Shadowrun had Contacts, Decking, Cyberware, Corporations and rules for the characters would interact with these for Shadowrunning. Indeed, the very name of the game indicated what it was the game was trying to emulate. Within Dungeons & Dragons -- at least in the Old School variations and its recent emulations -- there were rules for the Dungeons, the Monsters and the Characters, but also the rules for how the character may interact with all of this via Experience Points, Random Encounters and Dungeoneering.

I also recall games that I have read that were Complete, but NOT Completed. I can not conjure a specific example in mind, but remember, if you will, a game that contained Character Creation, a handful of Monsters and no rules for how these game elements may ever interact. Actually, as I write this I have thought of an example. The Returners Final Fantasy RPG. I have not read any of the more recent iterations of this Game, but within its System are a ton of elements for Character Creation so as to emulate the Final Fantasy genre within the context of a Tabletop Roleplaying Game. It is very intriguing and, indeed, the Character Creation process is a glorified subgame of sorts with its complexity. However, there are really no rules for how a character may go on an Adventure. The game, in the last version I read, was mute or brief on this topic.

As I write this I am now recalling Games that were not even Complete, but Incomplete. I am thinking of Games that have a Character Creation process and a couple of Classes, but no Monsters or conflicts that these Characters can encounter. I can recall reading such Games and obviously they were unplayable as-is, though one could certain borrow specific ideas from the smattering of rules they contained.

I want Sophia's Children to be a Completed Game, not just Complete. I want to present, along with the standard Character Creation, Combat, Monsters, Equipment et alia of the standard Tabletop Roleplaying Game a system that allows for a group of players to begin playing almost immediately with City Crawling, Dungeon Crawling and Factioneering.

At present I have some vague Systems for these noted, which is a combination of my own musings along with Systems that I like from all over the place. I want the Game elements to be Explicit, as they are with the rest of the Systems I have developed for the Game thus far. I also want it playable right out of the box. To the extent that one could generate Characters and, without necessarily having a specific scenario generated, run those Characters through situations that the Game Itself has generated out of its own Systems.

Perhaps, in a sense, I am looking for a Completed Game that generates Fantasy Killing and Fantastic Situations within Cityscapes and Hostile-Dungeons informed by Factions with their Own Interests. All within the genre of a Fantastic and Fictitious Humano-centric Civilization of my own Imagining that I call Sophia's Children.

As I write this I am considering that I will need to have the following Systems in place and how they intersect with the other Systems: Factioneering, Dungeoncrawling, Citycrawling. I want the Crawls to be Node-based with a high degree of replayability based on Chance Encounters and Factions. It is unclear how this will exactly work out mechnically at this point, but I have some draft notes.

Perhaps persons reading this blog will have their own ideas or be able to point in the right directions with this matter? I am open to all sorts of suggestions, so please leave a comment if you are so inclined!

Monday, February 18, 2013

I want to jerk around with assumed fantasy tropes.

From "Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor"

Check out this Tumblr: Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor.

And this author of Afrocentric Fantasy: Charles S. Saunders.

Along with the game of Sophia's Children, I have been researching and writing notes on the world of Sophia's Children for over five years. I have developed and am still developing a history, language et cetera for each of the cultures upon the Earth of this fantasy setting.

To show you an example of something I have created within the Messianic religion of the Westmen, here is the Marriage Sacrament in summary:

"Marriages are presided over by Priests. All Marriages must first submit for examination by a Surgeon, who ascertains the ability of each person to conceive once administered the Bitter Mint. Barren or sterile persons can still be married, but this is considered a Marriage for the Orphaned as opposed to a Marriage of Conception. If one person can not conceive, they are informed of the difference and encouraged to seek other partners -- but may still be married in a Pact for the Orphaned with the understanding that they will not be able to conceive even with the Bitter Medicine due to the results of the Surgeon's examination.

"Those in a Marriage for the Orphaned are encouraged to adopt Orphans. An Orphan is considered a child with no parents or a child with one parent who can no longer care for them. Same-sex couples are allowed to enter Marriages for the Orphaned.

"In the ceremony, the Priest asks which of the two person will be the Hearth Keeper in the relationship. That person is to kneel before their partner, although in some variations the Priest does not ask, with the Keeper simply kneeling before the other in the beginning of the ceremony. The other is considered the Hearth Master who remains standing.

"The Priest then asks each of the two persons a series of questions related to consent in the relationship. The Hearth Keeper is asked if he will obey Master, take good care of their house, watch over their children -- adopted and created -- obey Master in passions. The Hearth Master is asked if he will protect and not abuse the keeper, provide for their children and their household, and ensure the Passionate Interest in the relationship. Both parties are then asked a series of questions together where they will consent in unison: will they create children (or raise the Orphaned in the Marriage for the Orphaned Rite), upon the death of one partner will they seek another partner if there are children, upon the death of one partner will they look for surrogate parents for their children if they cannot remarry.

"The Priest then informs the couple of the conditions under which they may be Annulled: Death, Disappearance for more than one year, Exile or Banishment of one partner, adultery, failure of the Keeper or Master to attend to their duties in the house or the abuse of one partner by another.

"The close of the ceremony is the exchange of the Collar and Ring. The Master receives a band on their left ring finger that the Keeper places on it (repeating selected passages from The First Book of the Law dictated by the Priest) and the the Master places a collar around the neck of the Keeper (repeating similar passages dictated by the Priest). In some regions, the Keeper is given a ring instead of a collar, though the most traditional assignment is Ring for Master and Collar for Keeper."

Further Notes on Spells

"I'm stuck with this lazy Apprentice from one of the Baron Houses. His Family pays me well to train him, but he does the minimum and every daggering day I have to sober him up so he can watch the shop when I go out to resupply the forge in the mornings!"
~Albion the Armsmith

In my previous post I gave some examples of the starting Spells available to Projectioneers and Pyromancers. The names of these Spells are the Short Names as each Spell has a Full Name. I also plan on including the Partial and Full Incantation in the Spell descriptions in a partially-constructed language -- that is still in-progress. My goal is to have each Spell to have its own flavor beyond its numbers. Let me show you a couple of examples:

Fireball, also known as Lorre's Expanding Conflagration
Partial Incantation
Attack: As Tuning (+0 at Level 1), Ranged Attack (+Agility) vs. SR
Damage: As Tuning (1d6 + Intellect x1 at Level 1) + 1d6
Targets: 2, must be Close
Full Incantation
Attack: As Tuning, Ranged Attack vs. SR
Damage: As Tuning x2, 1/2 Damage on Miss
Targets: 2, must be Close

Arcane Knife, also known as Nivlem's Mind Shank
Partial Incantation
Attack: As Tuning, Melee Attack (+Strength) vs. AC
Damage: As Tuning plus Stun, x2 Damage if Flanking
Targets: 1
Full Incantation
Attack: As Tuning, Melee Attack vs. SR
Damage: As Tuning plus Stun, 1/2 Damage on Miss, x3 Damage if Flanking
Targets: 1

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Spell-Magic: The Rules

"Please, call us Thieves. We take what we want. When we want it. And in a manner that is most pleasing to us. To us, it is a term of Honor and must be Earned."
-Shihab the Beggar, Renowned Burglar of the Southerly Nein Thieves Guild

In the previous post on Magic and Magic-users I detailed the basic foundation of a Magic-user's abilities, the Tuning. All Magic-users utilize Spells in concert with their Tuning to create magnificent effects. A Magic-user Memorizes his Spells out of a Spellbook. Each Spell is unique in this manner and is only capable of being Memorized in a single instance by a single Magic-user. As a result, a Magic-user wishing to Memorize multiple copies of the same Spell, must have multiple copies of this Spell in his Spellbook.

The Casting of Spells is called Incanting. Each Spell has a Partial and Full Incantation. The Partial Incantation is a less powerful version of the Spell, but Casting a Spell in this manner does not purge it from the Magic-user's Memory. The Full Incantation is the full expression of the Spell which, when Incanted, erases the Spell from the Memory of the Magic-user.

The Action Point used to Cast the Partial Incantation of a Spell is moved into a Magic-user's Short Reserve. This Action Point is then returned to the Magic-user's total following a full night's Rest (along with adequate nourishment). The Action Point used to Cast the Full Incantation of a Spell is Burned off. A Burned Action Point is only ever returned following the longer Upkeep period -- the month-long period between major excursions of adventures.

A newly minted Magic-user begins play with about four Spells in his or her Spellbook. This may be modified by the Magic-user's Background (which is randomly determined, similar to the Background generated by Race selection). See below for brief descriptions of some of the basic Spells available to Pyromancers and Projectioneers.


Fireball: The Pyromancer generates a large ball of flame in his hand which he then tosses at his foes. This Spell hits reliably across multiple opponents.

Flame Dart: The Pyromancer produces a shiv made of fire that he directs into the target with great accuracy. Useful against single targets.

Application of Fire: A martial application of the Manifestation of Flame. Produces fire upon the Pyromancer's own weaponry or the weaponry of an ally, causing increased damage with the weaponry so enhanced.

Smoke: The Pyromancer quickly Manifests a flame upon any surface that immediately extinguishes itself into deep clouds of black smoke. The Partial Incantation is useful to hide oneself and allies against attacks. The Full Incantation creates a much deeper cloud that can inhibit and even hurt enemies.


Magic Missile: The Projectioneer propels a bolt of his Mind Form into the opponents. Reliable against one opponent. The Full Incantation produces multiple bolts.

Titan's Grasp: The Projectioneer generates a much more powerful and larger version of the Mage Hand that can be used to pin as well as crush an opponent.

Shield: The Projectioneer can create a wall of force with his Mind Form to absorb the attacks of his opponents. This wall of force can be produced upon the Magic-user's allies, too.

Arcane Knife: The Projectioneer generates a knife made of his Mind Form that he quickly drives into an opponent within melee or throws at an opponent at a distance. Is especially deadly if the opponent is being flanked or unawares.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Some Quotations, As I Forgot!

I owe the Blog three quotations as I got carried away with the last three posts without an introductory quote! Well, here we go:

"They remove our tongues at the age of maturity. We are then considered fully-vested in our service to the Masters. And I have drank from the cup of the Master and seen the Old Memories and what we once were to them -- how sad. . ."
-Hafa Al-Salah, female Thrall from the Silent Kingdoms, adopted by the Al-Salah Clan. Translated by her sister, Duha Al-Salah, from the hand signals of the Thrall Cant..

"This old mutt? His name is Frank. You City folks don't know the value of a good dog by your side. You do know they understand our speech, right? He can't speak back, but he has ways of communicating with me. Frank helps me shop and even gets me my copy of the Weekly Nein on Sundays."
-Old Man Trent, Regular at The Red Room in Nein

"The Wolfhound is a hybrid Dog and Wolf. They have the intelligence of a Dog, but without its civilized nature, and the ferocity of a Wolf, but without its natural urges. The hybrid has both the ferocious jaws of the Wolf with the dexterous forelegs and paws of the Dog. But the mixing results in a breed larger than either Dog or Wolf. . . 
The Killings? The Wolfhound kills for pleasure. There is an illness in the mind of the Wolfhound when they are born, being fixated on both Man, Dog and Wolf, Slaughtering until one of us finally puts it down."
-Anna of Suffolk, the Hunter

Spell-Magic & Magic-Users

Within the world of Sophia's Children the Magic-users organize themselves into Orders. Though all PCs begin as Level 0 Commoners, they will choose the course of their Class at Level 1. Once selecting Magic-user as Class, the next choice to make will be the particular Order the character trained within. There are three known Orders upon Nod, though there may be many others across the settlements of Mankind upon the Earth. For instance, it is known that the Bantu have their own Orders of Magic-users in their Home country who differ from the Adepts, Pyromancers and Conjurists of Nod.

Orders tends to be clandestine in their dealings with other Orders, but will unite as one force if they feel as if their mutual security has been threatened. All Orders recognize the Divinity of the Messiah, indeed, it was they who were most helpful in ensuring the compliance of the Baron Houses when the Messiah staged her coup 2000 years ago.

In the initial iteration of the game there will be two Orders of Magic-users available for selection: the Pyromancers and the Adepts. Pyromancers belong to The Order of The Flame, whereas Adepts belong to The Order of The Hand.

All Magic-users receive their Tuning at the climax of their Magical Training. Following this, they will be able to utilize their Tuning for both spontaneous effects and the casting of Spells.

The Tuning

The Magic-user must maintain their Tuning utilizing the techniques learned at their Order. Separate from Level of Class, a Magic-user must also track the Level of their Tuning, which begins at Level 1 for a Level 1 Magic-user.

In addition to Tuning's Level, a Magic-user has a degree of Attunement with that Level of magical ability. Attunement is a measure of power, focus and resonance. If a Magic-user uses his Tuning for any purpose throughout the course of a day, he must make an Attunement check when Resting. Failing this check results in the decay of the Attunement by 1 point. If a Magic-user ever loses his final point of Attunement, his Tuning level drops by 1 and his Attunement is reset to 10.

Magic-users can replenish their Attunement, in addition to raising their Level of Tuning by way of rest, study, lengthy Rituals and Ordeals within their Order's Tower. A Magic-user may raise their Level of Tuning only up to their Class Level, I.E.: A Level 3 Magic-user can raise their Tuning up to Level 3.

Each Tuning, in addition to enabling the Memorization of Spells associated with its type, allow for three spontaneous abilities. Effortless abilities require that an Action Point be moved into the Magic-user's Short Reserve -- which is replenished almost immediately following any turn where no Action Points are spent.

Concentration abilities require that an Action Point be moved into the Long Reserve -- replenished following an overnight Rest. Concentration abilities last as long as the Magic-user maintains his concentration, but also end immediately upon losing consciousness for any reason due to sleep, death, etc.

The most powerful spontaneous effect is the Manifestation, which lasts for a period of time without concentration according to the Level of the Magic-user's Tuning. This Burns an Action Point that is only returned after the Magic-user takes an extended rest during Upkeep, a period of about one month. Only one Manifestation may be in effect at a time.


A Pyromancer's Tuning is referred to as Pyromancy. Following the Tuning of this Order, a Pyromancer will have the ability to channel flame through his nervous system from the Flame which has been Implanted in his Brain. The most powerful means of which is through the Energy Points in the hands.

The Effortless ability of Pyromancy is the Spark. A Pyromancer can, through their hands, cause a flash of light that can kindle flammable materials. This Spark gives off light, as well as smoke -- the creative Magic-user will utilize his Spark in variety of ways.

The Concentration effect of Pyromancy is Light or Heat. A Pyromancer can maintain a source of Light that emanates from their body or a center of Heat. This locus must be on or within the body.

The Manifestation effect of Pyromancy is the Flame. All Pyromancer's can, through burning off a portion of their willpower (I.E.: Action Points), manifest a Flame that emits both light and heat into the environment. The size and force of this Flame depends on the Level of Tuning, as well as the length of time this Flame persists.


An Adept's Tuning is known as Projectionism. The Adept can exert his Mind Form beyond his Gross Form (what Adept's call their physical body) to impact the world with physical force Unseen.

The Effortless ability of the Adept is the Push. An Adept can, through their hands, create a physical force similar to a one-handed push or one-fingered press. The Magic-user must be able to see the target of his Push.

The Concentration effect of Projectionsim is called the Mage Hand. Through concentrated effort, the Adept can perform more fine manipulation and heavy lifting, though nothing more than a single hand's worth of ability can be performed in this manner.

The Manifestation effect of the Adept is the Unseen Servant. The Adept releases a large portion of his Mind Form, which can then act independently of the Magic-user for a period of time dependent on the Level of Tuning. The Unseen Servant can act with the force and ability of a whole person, though more martial applications of the Unseen Servant require Spell-Magic. This Servant must remain within eye sight of the Adept.

The Adepts are well known for weaponizing slivers of their Mind Form through Spell-Magic, which takes many diverse forms depending on the Spell used.


Though Magic-users utilize their Tuning's basic manifestation to perform magic that suits their general purposes. The more specialized and especially martial applications of the ability is through Spell-Magic. This fearsome force was organized to great effect during the Great War over 2000 years ago. Armies replete with Knights, Mage-Knights and Magic-users belonging to the Warlord Houses did battle with both Eldritch Energies and Steel.

In my next post I will go into more detail regarding the process and mechanics of Memorization, Incantations and Spellcraft -- the process by which Magic-user acquire, create and modify their Spells.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Issues of Race: The Hassan

Continuing on my exposition regarding the two primary races of Men upon the continent of Nod. . .

The Hassan

The Hassan are one of the three Tribes that settled Nod. The Westmen settled upon the western shores of Nod, whereas the Hassan -- according to their Songs of History -- settled upon the southeastern shores on what would come to be known as the Wastes of Asad.

Side note: The third Tribe that would settle Nod are known to reside within the Silent Kingdoms far to the north and east of the continent -- separated by a large mountainous expanse. There is very sparse information regarding the nature of that land, except that the Rulers and Thralls of that land are mute, speaking to one another in a silent manner. The lack of any written language from that region complicates the matter further. It is known that the Rulers of that region know how to speak the ancient Trade Language -- Mannish.

The Hassan are a nomadic people by history as the land they settled upon was more dangerous than the land west of the Barrier Mountains and The Wall. Their villages and towns exist as large caravans and mobile dwellings. The more fantastic variations of which are within the Waste of Asad proper as they can not be transported through the Barrier Mountains. The Hassan are experts in Animal Husbandry and Engineering, so that they can maintain the Great Oxen and Grand Carts.

The Hassan speak Mannish in all public dealings and for commerce as it is the Ancient Trade Language. Their own language is an extremely private matter that is never used for day-to-day conversation. Mothers and fathers teach the language to their children. It is also the language of their music, religion and the basis of their names. Some Hassan phrases and terminology have crept into the speech of the Westmen through the interchange of cultures.

In appearance, the Hassan have jet-black hair with eyes that range from golden-yellow to deep brown. Their complexions vary from caramel to chestnut. All Hassan have distinct patterns of freckling upon their face and bodies that is of a deeper tone than their base complexion. These patterns are inherited and are used to identify different family lines. E.G.: One family may have a diamond-like freckling upon their forehead. Another family may have freckling from the scalp around to the back of the neck.

The Hassan have a deep sense of kinship with one another. In the Wastes, when traveling villages encounter one another (or if a caravan happens upon a temporary settlement), this is cause for great celebration that last many days. Children are married off, resources are exchanged and there is much song and dance. This tradition and attitude towards difference extends to the Hassan who immigrated to the Mother Empire. The first Hassan families who settled were quick to integrate with their Westmen cousins, creating a glorious blend of cultures. This has also led to an integration throughout the Westmen of many Hassan sensibilities. The clearest example of which are the Black Westmen.

In the Modern Age, the Hassan are accepted amongst the Mother Empire as citizens if they wish to convert to the Messianic faith. These Hassan have settled permanently within the Cities, though they have retained their traditions, names and privately practice their Old Faith and customs. Many Hassan have risen amongst the Westmen as great Military, Civic and Guilded leaders -- even within the upper echelons of the Messianic Church can be found Hassan who have fully embraced the Messiah and Her worship. Other Hassan families continue their nomadic lifestyle through the country, temporarily settling outside the great Westmen Cities and doing their business within the Free Markets.