Posts Tagged With: Gnomes

Gnomes, the Fae’shin

“We’ve been living, fighting, and dying side-by-side since the Wars of Binding, enough that some you call us “halflings” and treat us more like your some of your own kin and less like the Forest- or the Mountain-Folk. Some say that it our friendship that brought the Fae into the Great Alliance against the Witch-King, and here in the Heartlands we’ve certainly had good relations with Albion since the Wars of Binding. I’ve always thought that it was because we’ve shared a dislike of goblinkin, a hatred of the Dearth, a love of good food, better drink, and a quiet pipe at the end of the day. We have more respect for the Great Mother these days than you do – with the Lighters spreading there aren’t enough of the wilderwise that still honor the Old Faith. That said, there are still enough of you here in the hills that we both call home that we can still share a pipe and a tankard of ale at the end of a hunt.” – Prince Gnaismith Glittergold, Ambassador to Albion.

 

The Gnomes, also known as Halflings, the Small Folk, and the Little People, are an earthy and lively race that inhabits the forested hills of the Mortal Realms for the most part, across all climates. Technically speaking they are considered part of the Faerie Folk, but are so down-to-earth that even most humans don’t see them in the same light as their distant cousins in Faerie (Pixies, Sprites, etc.) or the Shadowlands (the feral and greatly feared Daeshin Vorre). They enjoy food and drink, and have the lusty appreciation for life that makes them easy to get along with for most humans  – who find them much more approachable than the dour dwarves or the ethereal elves. They are also known for their sense of humor and have a reputation as tricksters and jokesters.

Statistic Modifiers: +1 Dexterity, -1 Wisdom

Languages: Faerie, Dark Tongue, the local Human Language.

Appearance: Gnomes stand 2′ 11″ tall (+2d4), and weigh 35 lbs x(1) Lbs . They are Small in Size and have a Speed of 25. Both genders have generally average builds that tend towards the rangy and tanned complexions. Their hair tends to come in various shades browns, blacks, and occasionally very dirty blonds, very rarely in true blonds. Beards are rare and tend to be more wispy or short rather than the full facial hair of humans or the bearded glory of the dwarves. Eyes are most often hazel, but brilliant greens and blues occur rarely.

Common Dress: Gnomes tend to prefer practicality over style, with kilts and blouses for men and dresses for women being traditional. Colors are often a mix of neutral browns, greens, and tans mixed with splashes of color (blues and reds are favorites). Jewelry is common and plentiful for men and women, commonly a torc or necklace, along with a mixture of rings, bracelets or bracers, and brooches.

Lifespan: Gnomes are young adults at age 50, are considered mature adults at around age 90, and can live up to 750 years of age. They generally begin play at 60 +5d4 years of age.

Common Culture: Gnomish culture is based around family and clan, with tracing lineage and relationship being a common pastime. Gnomes tend to be an odd combination of free-wheeling spirits mixed with strong traditionalism and loyalty to each other and to their friends. Generosity of both spirit and goods is considered a virtue, along with wit and humor. Many Gnomish families have integrated into human kingdoms, most commonly living in rural communities engaged in hunting, mining, and craftwork. There are, however, a number of independent Gnomish kingdoms scattered across the Mortal Realms.

Common Backgrounds: Entertainer, Folk Hero, Guild Artisan, Guild Merchant, Ordinary Person, and Noble are all suitable Backgrounds for Gnomes.

Naming Conventions: Gnomes use a variety of names, combining given names, surnames, nicknames, professional names, and both clan and kingdom names into their “complete” name in the following lineal fashion:

<Nickname> <Given Name> <Professional Name>

of the family <Surname> of the clan <Clan Name> in the kingdom of <Kingdom>

Complicated relationships, especial for nobles, can result in multiple professional names, clan relationships, and surnames being used. Outside of Gnomish culture, this is often reduced to Given Name or Knickname, Surname, and Clan.   Surnames are often a combination of an element and a terrain feature (Mudswamp, Silvermoraine, etc), though the oldest of families have a similar convention to Dwarven custom of a descriptor and an element (Glittergold, Brightiron). Royal families often follow a convention of using (to human ears) what is written as a “silent g” at the beginning of given names.

Common Alignments: Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral.

Common Religions: Gnomes invariably follow their own version of the Old Faith, though there are only priestesses in their hierarchy, and they almost all belong to a Circle of the Land (Golden Woods). Some Gnomes will worship at the En Khoda Theos Kirk (the Great Elemental Dragons), but this is rare and is seen a bit of affectation by other Gnomes. In either case they will only rarely will they worship side-by-side with humans though, preferring to establish their own groves or kirks.

Common Classes: Preferred: Druid (Land/Golden Hills), Ranger, Rogue (Scout or Arcane Trickster) — Common: Bard, Fighter (Champion), Wizard (Divination or Enchantment) — Uncommon: Cleric (Nature), Sorcerer, Warlock (Archfey) — Rare: Barbarian (Totem), Paladin (Vengeance) — Very Rare: Monk

Common Professions: Gnomish society stands on its own in rural settings, so any profession appropriate to that setting is possible. In more urban settings Gnomes are known as superlative jewelers and gemcutters, finer even than their cousins the dwarves, and the less honest among them make excellent safe-crackers and locksmiths. Illusion magic is generally considered the province of the Gnomish gentry and nobility, and being a Ranger is considered one of the most honorable pursuits that a Gnomish warrior can take.

Racial Traits

Darkvision: Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, Gnomes have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. They can see in dim light up to 60 feet as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it was dark. They cannot discern color in darkness though, only shades of grey.

Speech with the Small Beasts: Through sounds and gestures, Gnomes can communicate with simple ideas with Small or smaller beasts. Gnomes love animals and often keep squirrels, badgers, rabbits, moles, woodpeckers, and other creatures as pets.

Gnomish Bravery: Gnomes have Advantage on saving throws against Fear.

Gnome Cunning: Gnomes have Advantage on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws against magic.

Gnome Resilience: Gnomes have Advantage on saving throws against poison, and Resistance to poison damage.

Gnome Nimbleness: Gnomes can move through the space of creature Medium or larger.

Naturally Stealthy: Gnomes can attempt to hide when obscured by creatures that are size Medium or larger.

Mask of the Wild: Gnomes can attempt to hide even when they are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.

Faerie Magic: Gnomes all know the Minor Illusion and Druidcraft Cantrips. At 3rd level they may use Animal Friendship once per day and at 5th level they may use the Animal Messenger spell once per day as well. For spellcasters these spells are also always considered memorized and may also be cast using regular spell slots – and are always cast as if at the highest level of effect that the spellcaster can produce.

Born of Faerie: Gnomes may also wear Ultra Light, Light, and Medium non-metallic armors and cast Arcane spells, or enchanted metallic armors.

Special Vulnerabilities: Gnomes are also uncomfortable around Cold Iron and cannot benefit from a Long Sleep if surrounded by large amounts. They are also prone to wasting away if they cannot regularly feel the wind on their face and the sun on their skin, suffering as if Poisoned if kept in the dark or fresh air for more than a month. This is cured after a mere week in healthy conditions. Gnomes are short, do not swim particularly well and prefer to stay away from water and boats. They are sometimes treated more like children by ignorant but well-meaning humans (and some insufferable and condescending elves). Goblins will tend to target them in preference to other races with the sole exception if Elves and Dwarves.

Psionics: Reserved

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Listen! Did you smell something? (1e)

People don’t realize, but AD&D has always had a Perception system and Perception checks, if you check out page’s 59 and 60 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide it has rules for both “Detection of Invisibility” and “Listening at Doors” that apply to all classes – outside of the Surprise rules or the Thief’s ability to “Hear Noise”.

This also ignores the whole set of special racially-based detection abilities of Elves, Half-Elves, Dwarves, etc. and the rules for detecting Poison in the Player’s Handbook

First off, it says that Humans, Dwarves, and Half-Elves has a base 10% chance to Hear Noise, Elves and Half-Goblins have base 15%, and Gnomes have a base 20% (which matches the bonuses in the Player’s Handbook for racial bonuses to Hear Noise). Furthermore, at character creation roll a d20, on a 1 you have a +5% and on a 2 you have +10% to this base chance due to “Keen Hearing”. There is of course, no statement as to how this applies to Thieves…

Furthermore, in the Detection of Invisibility table it is a function of Level or Hit Dice as indexed with Intelligence on a matrix – starting at 17+ Intelligence and a 7th level character having a 5% chance to Detect the Invisible. At 15th level this character will have a 95% chance, and the progression is rather clunky and uneven across the matrix. But according to this, a character of average Intelligence will have about a 5% chance to Detect the Invisible roughly around name level and will have about a 50% chance at 15th level and higher.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just integrate these two things into one damn table with a more even progression?

Perhaps even something that might grant some of those of those Roguish types something even a bit more to make them a tad bit more special that just a fighter?

Perception / Hear Noise: Base 10% (Note some races have different bases)

  • Roll 1d20 at Character Generation, on a 1 you have Keen Senses and gain a +5% to that Base, on a 2 you have Very Keen Senses and have a +10% to that Base. (Note, this also gets used when checking Surprise)
  • Rogues and Warrior Monks get +5% for every odd level.
  • Entertainers and Psychics get a flat +10% to the Base.

If attempting to Detect the Invisible, characters add their Level (or creatures their Hit Dice) to their Intelligence score and multiple the result by two, they then add this to their normal Perception / Hear Noise percentage. Penalize it by -60% (-30% for Name level characters or higher), and this is the chance to Detect the Invisible.

When there is the chance to Notice Poison, easy checks (poison on a blade) tend to use the normal Perception base while determining if food or drink has been poisoned generally uses same percentage as Detecting the Invisible. This is a non-cumulative roll, and is instead merely checked against the base each relevant interval of time (usually per round of exposure).

There, now that is a simple and unified system rooted in the Dungeon Master’s Guide ideas and rules. You can use it to roll on all sorts of Perception checks if you want, but between this and the Surprise rules, you have pretty much everything you might need to figure out what people notice, and how surprised they are if they don’t. All of these percentages can be adapted to use for other related situations, and all of them can be modified up or down as the DM sees fit depending on the circumstances. I don’t tend to modify them down, but am more like to have a character roll and see how well or how badly they make it in order to dole out less or more information – but that’s also my DMing style.

D.

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Surprise! (1e)

It really shouldn’t be a surprise that I have a house-rule for Surprise in my game given that rules for Surprise in pretty much every edition of D&D before 3rd are considered kludgy and screwed-up – and for all I know 3rd and 4th are just as bad, I just haven’t played those systems so I have no clue.

Mine is an infinitely more simple system that tries very hard to keep the flavor of the original system. In short, roll 1d6 (I have my players do this individually, monsters I tend to roll in groups) – if you roll (three or more (3+) over your opponent you get a round of surprise. This is then further modified by a number of things:

  • Dexterity Reaction Modifier: -3 (for low Dex) to +3 (for high Dex)
  • Distracted: -4
  • Asleep: -8
  • Keen Senses: +1 or +2
  • Encumbrance:
    • Normal Gear (35#- and Low Bulk): No Penalty
    • Heavy Gear (70#- or Fairly Bulky):  -2
    • Very Heavy Gear (105#- or Bulky): -4
    • Encumbered (105#+ or Very Bulky): -8
  • Armour:
    • No Armour: +1
    • Wearing Chain & Plate or Plate Armor: -2
    • Wearing a Great Helm: -4
  • Intoxication:
    • Moderate Intoxication: -1
    • Great Intoxication: -5

There are also a handful of other bonuses based on class or race. Here is a representative sample:

  • Goblins: +1
  • Rangers: +1
  • Barbarians: +1 (+2 in Familiar Terrain)
  • Warrior Monks: +1 per 3 Levels
  • Rogues: +1 per 4 Levels (Bounty Hunters get an additional +1)
  • Gnomes, Half-Elves, and Elves when not in metal armour and only in the company of other Gnomes, Half-Elves, and Elves that are similarly clad, or are 90′ distant from the rest of party: +2

Now, Scouts and Barbarians still have their “Back Protection” as per the normal rules (and I give that to Warrior-Monks as well) so while they may or may not always Surprise opponents they have an additional chance to avoid being Backstabbed or Assassinated. I also tend to give hunting predators and skittish prey a bonus to their surprise rolls equal to their Hit Dice. In general, I allow Backstabs and Assassinations when there is surprise – and this lets Rogues be somewhat more combat effective (though not overly so). This system seems to work pretty well, and it replaces all of the oddly mismatched dice of the different character classes and gets rid of the utterly contradictory rules in the Player’s Handbood and the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

Enjoy!

D.

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Gnomes, the Fae’shin (1e)

“We’ve been living, fighting, and dying side-by-side since the Wars of Binding, enough that some you call us “halflings” and treat more like your some of your own kin and less like the Forest- or the Mountain-Folk. Some say that it our friendship that brought the Fae into the Great Alliance against the Witch-King, and here in the Heartlands we’ve certainly had good relations with Albion since the Wars of Binding. I’ve always thought that it was because we’ve shared a dislike of goblinkin, a hatred of the Dearth, a love of good food, better drink, and a quiet pipe at the end of the day. We have more respect for the Great Mother these days than you do – with the Lighters spreading there aren’t enough of the wilderwise that still honor the Old Faith. That said, there are still enough of you here in the hills that we both call home that we can still share a pipe and a tankard of ale at the end of a hunt.” – Prince Gnaismith Glittergold, Ambassador to Albion.

The Gnomes, also known as Halflings, the Small Folk, and the Little People, are an earthy and lively race that inhabits the forested hills of the Mortal Realms for the most part, across all climates. Technically speaking they are considered part of the Faerie Folk, but are so down-to-earth that even most humans don’t see them in the same light as their distant cousins in Faerie (Pixies, Sprites, etc.) or the Shadowlands (the feral and greatly feared Daeshin Vorre). They enjoy food and drink, and have the lusty appreciation for life that makes them easy to get along with for most humans  – who find them much more approachable than the dour dwarves or the ethereal elves. They are also known for their sense of humor and have a reputation as tricksters and jokesters. .

Appearance: Male Gnomes stand 42″ tall (+1d3 or -1d4), and weigh 80 lbs (+2-12 or -2-8) while female Gnomes stand 39″ tall (+1d3 or -1d3), and weigh 75 lbs (+1-8 or -1-8). Both genders have generally average builds that tend towards the rangy and tanned complexions. Their hair tends to come in various shades browns, blacks, and occasionally very dirty blonds, very rarely in true blonds. Beards are rare and tend to be more wispy or short rather than the full facial hair of humans or the bearded glory of the dwarves. Eyes are most often hazel, but brilliant greens and blues occur rarely.

Lifespan: Gnomes are young adults at age 50, are considered mature adults at around age 90, and can live up to 750 years of age. They generally begin play at 60 +5d4 years of age.

Common Alignments: Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral.

Common Classes: Druid, Healer, Fighter, Ranger, Archer, Thief, Scout, Mountebank, Bard, Illusionist.

Common Culture: Gnomish culture is based around family and clan, with tracing lineage and relationship being a common pastime. Gnomes tend to be an odd combination of free-wheeling spirits mixed with strong traditionalism and loyalty to each other and to their friends. Generosity of both spirit and goods is considered a virtue, along with wit and humor. Many Gnomish families have integrated into human kingdoms, most commonly living in rural communities engaged in hunting, mining, and craftwork. There are, however, a number of independant Gnomish kingdoms scattered across the Mortal Realms.

Naming Conventions: Surnames are often a combination of an element and a terrain feature (Mudswamp, Silvermoraine, etc), though the oldest of families have a similar convention to Dwarven custom of a descriptor and an element (Glittergold, Brightiron).

Common Dress: Gnomes tend to prefer practicality over style, with kilts and blouses for men and dresses for women being traditional. Colors are often a mix of neutral browns, greens, and tans mixed with splashes of color (blues and reds are favorites). Jewelry is common and plentiful for men and women, commonly a torc or necklace, along with a mixture of rings, bracelets or bracers, and brooches.

Common Professions: Gnomish society stands on its own in rural settings, so any profession appropriate to that setting is possible. In more urban settings Gnomes are known as superlative jewelers and gemcutters, finer even than their cousins the dwarves, and the less honest among them make excellent safe-crackers and locksmiths. Illusion magic is generally considered the province of the Gnomish gentry and nobility, and being a Ranger is considered one of the most honorable pursuits that a Gnomish warrior can take.

Common Religions: Gnomes invariably follow their own version of the Old Faith, though there are only priestesses in thier hierarchy. Some Gnomes will worship at the En Khoda Theos Kirk (the Great Elemental Dragons), but this is rare and is seen a bit of affectation by other Gnomes. In either case they will only rarely will they worship side-by-side with humans though, preferring to establish their own groves or kirks.

Statistic Bonuses: -1 to Strength, +1 to Dexterity, +1 Power.

Languages: Faerie, Dark Tongue, the local Human Language (Int15 +1, Int 16 +2, Int17 +3, Int18 +4). Gnomes may also communicate with all small burrowing mammals such as badgers, moles, ground squirrels, etc.

Special Abilities: +3 to Hit with Missile Weapons; +1 to Hit Goblins; -4 to be Hit by Larger than Man-Sized Creature; If alone or only in the company of other Gnomes or Elves (or 90′ distant from others) they have +2 to Surprise Rolls; Highly Resistant to Poison (+1 to saves per 3½ pts of Constitution); Highly Resistant to Magic (+1 to saves vs. Spells, Rods, Wands, & Staves per 3½ pts of Constitution); 60′ Ultravision; Invisible in natural surroundings: 90%; Detect Snares and Pits: 70%; Identify Pure Water 80%; Predict Weather 50%. Gnomes of 4th level or higher may use an Animal Friendship spell 1/daily. Noble Gnomes may all use Cantrips as an Illusionist at 1st Level, and at 4th Level may use Ventriloquism, Dancing Lights, and Light 1/day each. At 8th Level, noble Gnomes may use Mirror Image, Confusion, and Dimension Door 1/day each as well.

Special Vulnerabilities: Gnomes do not suffer from any particular vulnerabilities that are not immediately obvious. They are short, do not swim particularly well and prefer to stay away from water and boats. They are sometimes treated more like children by ignorant but well-meaning humans (and some insufferable and condescending elves). Goblins will tend to target them in preference to other races with the sole exception if Elves (who suffer from their greatest hatred). Gnomes all also suffer from the standard -10% penalty per character class to all experience gained.

Character Class Limits: Entertainer – N/A (Mountebank – 8th), Mage – N/A (Alchemist – 6th), Priest – 7th, Psychic – N/A (Illusionist – 6th), Rogue – 8th, Warrior – 5th, Warrior-Monk – N/A. As always, this is for Prime Attributes of 15 or less, 16 is +1 level, 17 is +2 levels, 18 is +3 levels, and 19 is +4 levels before the XP penalty is doubled from -10% to -20%.

Psionics: None inherent – they may not roll for Psionics, instead they develop and train as the Illusionist or Mountebank classes instead.

Additional Proficiencies or Skills: None, though if a  Gnome chooses to specialize in Shortbow it only costs two rather than three proficiency slots. Gnome Warriors have one additional weapon proficiency.

Rogue Bonuses: Slight of Hand: No Bonus, Open Locks: +5%, Find/Remove Traps: +10%, Stealth: +5%, Climb Walls: -10%, Acrobatics: +5%, Tumbling: +5%

Perception / Hear Noise: Base 20%

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High Men, Psionics, and Psionicists (1e)

So, James has posted today about the Psionicist over at Grognardia. I’ll add on to say that it is one of the ways that I’ve handled psionics in my game world – and certainly the major way that players have had psionic characters in my game for a while now. Coincidently I’ve been thinking about psionics the last couple of days and came up with a new tweak that I like and that makes more sense to me from both a character development and a game balance perspective.

Personally, I never had a problem with psionics in AD&D, first I was reading Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series at a young age because my mother loved them and they were sitting in the huge pile of speculative fiction that inhabited our house (along with the rest of the books the bibliophiles that my parents were had collected). The simple fact is that psionics hardly ever came up, what was noticeable was that they were often something that either immediately doomed a character because psionic encounters really, really suck or foretold a long and successful career because certain abilities just made the characters quite powerful. This was a s true of the psionicist as it was of the psychic but actually emphasized the “psionic encounters suck” end of things because the progression was slowed down so much.

You’ll notice that Brother Illya is a “High Man” (aka Deryni aka Dúnadan aka Comyn aka whatever) and is a multi-classed Psionicist/Warrior-Monk (currently 3rd/3rd) while a couple of other characters are listed as “Minor Psychics” and “Psychics”. The “Minor Psychic” is a new category that I essentially invented when I came back to AD&D after running my own rules system to cover those races that I wanted to always have some innate psychic Talent to model certain abilities but without giving them the full range of psionic abilities automatically. High Men only count as roughly about 5-10% of the population and are considered to be the true scions of nobility – paradoxically because having the traces of blood of angels, elves, dragons, whatever running through their veins that grants them the mixed blessing and curse of psychic ability violates the taboo against inter-racial sexuality that the “civilized” races have in my game world.

Psionicists work pretty much as they do in the article, save that they use my attribute of “Talent” instead of the IWC (Intelligent-Wisdom-Charisma Average) to determine Psionic Ability – everything else is the same. High Men are able to multi-class as Psionicists with any other single class, and suffer the same 10% XP penalty per class as non-humans. Also, Psionicists automatically have the Minor Devotions of Rapport and Lights in addition to the other Disciplines gained as a result of advancement. At one point in the very distant past I allowed Psionicists to choose thier Devotions, Sciences, and Arts – but at this point I insist that they roll them like everyone else.

Psychics are pretty much the way psychics are written up into the Players Handbook, with the addition of automatically having the Minor Devotions of Rapport and Lights. I interpret the advancement for multi-class characters to occur as one ability (Minor Devotion or Major Science, all Minor Devotions first) to be added each odd level, the same as for single-class characters, but the multiple classes are added together to determine “level” rather than using the highest level class or some other arcane formula to determine how many abilities had been learned. This would also represent the abilities of “untrained” High Men if someone wanted to play one without multi-classing as a Psionicist. The chance for any non-human to be Psychic is the same as the basic roll from the Players Handbook – with the stipulation that Talent must be 16 or higher. This is limited to those races who even have the potential – Dwarves, Gnomes, Half-Elves, Sh’dai – Elves and Ithians are either Minor Psychics or Psionicists, never half-way. As an odd note, two “human” races are automatically considered Psychic if they do not specialize as Psionicists, the “Old Race” and the “Feyhd”.

One other note, only characters who choose to be multi-class as Healer/Psionicists can start with Cell Adjustment at 1st level, and other Psionicists or Psychics may only take it if they roll high enough to “Select One” on the table – and may only do it with my permission.

(As I write this, I think I’m just also instituting a rule that Psychic characters suffer a 10% XP penalty “as if” they had another character class as a multi-class. That’s another nice bit of balance for the benefits that you get for the abilities. If you are Psionicist, you already get it, and if you are a Minor Psychic the “benefit” is really not much compared to the potential downside for most adventurers.)

Minor Psychics have only the abilities of Rapport and Lights – as given in the Psionicist article. They can use all forms of psychic item, device, or consumable just like a Psychic or Psionicist. They only have one Defense Mode (G- Though Shield) and they only gain one Attack Mode (A – Psionic Blast) at 2nd level. None of this is rolled, either your race is considered “Minorly Psychic” or it isn’t. This is mainly Elves, Half-Elves, Sh’dai, and Ithians. Perhaps strangely, bit Gnomes and Dwarves are not Minor Psychics, their gifts manifest as thier other abilities to detect stonework, etc.

Psychics and Minor Psychics roll for Psionic Ability using the following formula: 1d100, plus one for point of Talent, plus one for each point of Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, and Power over twelve. If two of the five attributes are above 15 then the “bonus” points are doubled, if three then they are tripled, if four, quadrupled; and if all five then the bonus points to the d100 roll are quintupled.

Here is the tweak for Psychics and Minor Psychics that I just realized this past weekend made much more sense. Instead of rolling to determine what the Attack and Defense Modes are known, just ruling that Defense Modes are gained at the rate of one for every odd level (and Defense Mode G being the first automatically gained at 1st level) and attack modes are gained at the rate of one for every even level. Psioncists advance as the table in the article.

It’s worth noting that I also consider Illusionists to use “Mentalism” rather than Arcane Magic or Divine Power, along with Oracles (Dragon #53) and Timelords (Dragon #65). This means that “Magic Resistance” doesn’t work against these “spells” (though for certain extra-planar creatures I have ruled that they have equivalent “Mentalism Resistance”). In some ways this might makes things more powerful for Illusionists, but at other times it means that a simple Thought Shield prevents them from doing much of anything worthwhile…

Ouch!

TTFN!

D.

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So who does my character worship..?

So, ckutalik over at Hill Cantons has a nice post about religion and gaming. Now, what many folks don’t know about me is that at one time I seriously considered a career as a minister, though my Calling found another expression eventually. With that piece of information in place, you can imagine that religion and spirituality play an important place in my game worlds.

I’ve really run the gamut. In the old days, the very early days, I took a page from Katherine Kurtz and ran with a direct analog of the Catholic Church – which was also rather nice because I used the Deryni in my game world as well. The “Old Faith” was an amalgam of Celtic myth and modern NeoPaganism, and pretty much all real world religion existed in one form or another – there was the “Church of the Divine Couple” for the Egyptian mythology, and the Northmen worshipped the Norse and Finnish Deities. Pretty much if it was in Deities and Demigods I was willing to include it. I also ran with the Greyhawk deities as they came out, the Forgotten Realms deities when they came out, and I have always used the Cthulhu Mythos as well as the Moorcockian Courts of Chaos. For the nonhumans I pretty much ran with whatever the “flavor of the day” was, though it was always somewhat oddly incorporated at times to try to make sense of the multiple different, “hard polytheistic”, pantheons.

But currently, religions and spirituality have gone through a handful of more recent evolutions as I’ve tried to get away from “ripped from reality” and more “inspired by reality” combined with “entirely fabricated”…

To start with big bag guys, the ones that pretty much everyone agrees are worth banding together to fight against are the Five Demon Emperors and the servants of the Dearth as worshipped by what is commonly known as the Cult of Shator under the auspices of the King in Yellow. These are combination of the Great Old Ones or the Outer Gods of the Cthulhu Mythos. Their very existence, even as a thought, brings corruption and destruction to multiverse. More than unbridled Chaos, more than simply Entropy, they are literally Nothingness made manifest. (Evil)

One of the oldest human religions is known as the Heptarchy by sages, a pantheon of seven deities made up of the Lady Night and her children, and the Twin Brothers of the Perihelion (and their dark triplet) and the Three Sisters of the Perilune. Found in both urban and rural settings, the Heptarchy is quite popular, though each deity maintains it’s own religious hierarchy. Relationships between the deities and their cults vary, but are generally neutral or good as none of the deities are in active conflict or direct opposition – save perhaps the relationship between the Midnight Sun and his two brothers.

There is the Old Faith – a pantheistic worship of nature, it’s cycles and its elements, the manifest spirits of which are often referred to as “the Old Powers” by both humans and the gnomes. The Old Faith is highly organized, with twin orders of male and female druids, along with the a variety of warrior societies (most famously the Rangers) organized into lodges. (Generally Neutral)

Then there is the Society of the Light – a religion originally inspired by Augustine’s notion of the “City of God” and then mixed in with healthy doses of early Jewish, Christian, and Islamic custom and belief along with a good dash of Sikhism. It is marked by a hierarchical relationship of mortals and the Sarim (the ruling angels), overseen in the Mortal Realms by the Council of Devas in Kistath. It has a multiple Rules, and one significant heresy (the Trinitarians) based on the actual spiritual and physical union of mortal and angels. (Mostly Lawful Good and some other Goods and Neutrals)

In opposition to the Society of Light there is what is often termed “the Horned Society” – the cults and organizations devoted to the Fallen (Angels) in what is in many ways a mirror image of the SOL. The War in Heaven and the Fall was fundamentally one of philosophical difference in how to pursue the War Without End against the Dearth. (Mostly LE, some other Evils and Neutrals)

In Thule, the worship of the Freyja the All-Mother is most popular. The pantheon, the Æsir, is greater than just the All-Mother, but after the Ragnarök there were few survivors and Freyja was the greatest among them and took the high seat of Hliðskjálf. Her servants, the Valkyrja, continue to choose the worthy among the slain to serve her as einherjar in Valhalla. (Generally Good and Neutral)

The Khemeti are also known as the Church of the Divine Couple, the Khemeti are among the eldest of the organized religions – perhaps not even originally of humankind. It is said that the Khemeti arose out of the Great Chaos at the beginning of Creation when Ptah and Ma’at created a sense of Order and Logic in the random Chaos. Currently they are worshipped primarily in Kistath, they have a very small Cult in the Heartlands and are essentially nonexistent in Thule. (Lawful)

The elves have, at their heart, a spirituality that is governed by “Li’vicor” or the idea of “Ruling Passion” or “True Will” – while at the same time having an appreciation for the universe that is similar to the pantheistic view of the Old Faith combined with a respect for the “E’lin” (the “Elect”) who seem to have a special relationship with what the Old Faith would call the Old Powers. (Good)

The dwarves don’t speak of their spirituality or religion, but seem concerned with “forging their souls” and “anvil of the world” by those outsiders that they trust enough to speak about such things with. They also have a great venerance for the living stone and their ancestors, how this all fits together is unknown. (Lawful)

There is also the En Khoda Theos Kirk – the Dragonborn’s Kirk (Church) with its worship of the four “Great Dragons” that are generally thought to encompass various aspects of the natural world and the elements. A complex religion, there is no higher authority than each kirk’s Dorje (priest), and it is a deeply contemplative religion that focuses on meditative practice, often in a monastic or other secluded setting. Primarily followed by the Dragonborn it is also followed a surprising number of members of other races and small Kirks can be found in most major cities. (All Alignments)

The Teotl is the pantheon of the Old Gods of Ith. A bloody state religion marked by human sacrifice and the veneration of the Ithian Serpent Folk. Of all the major human religions, it is the one that is closest in some ways to the philosophies of the non-human races and has it’s roots in the mysticism of the Serpathians.  (Neutral and Evil)

The goblins, ogres, and trolls worship the Formorians, a collection of beings known as “the Goblin Court”. Generally hateful and destructive, the Goblin Court is still opposed to Dearth and Arras-Kol, the Great Goblin, is ever vigilant for the seeds of corruption in his children. (Evil)

The Lords of Chaos – The greatest of the powers of Chaos, sometimes known as the Wyld, often accept worship and service in exchange for favor. With some of their members being corrupted by the Dearth (known as the Forsaken, Tiamat and Typhon), they are quick (perhaps overly quick) to act against the Five Demon Emperors. (Chaotic)

Then there are the Godlings, sometimes known as the Disparate Names, a mixture of demigods, quasi-deities, and lesser deities that work alone, in conjunction with, and in opposition to themselves and the other pantheons. They are commonly described and organized in what is called the Lords Tarot, though this may be a purely human invention rather than a true reflection of the Godlings actual relationships (All Alignments).

Finally, opposing and at the same time including the Dearth are the Bel En Khoda – the Thirteen Great Gods. These are almost like reified Platonic Forms. Though, truthfully, this isn’t worship (save in the Shadowlands where the Unborn are revered above all), but their presence is always acknowledged, by everyone with any level of mystical or magical knowledge, and many mystical or spiritual organizations are essentially organized around a philosophical allegiance to one of them even if it doesn’t exactly qualify as “worship”. (All Alignments)

I’ll probably detail those out more in future posts.

TTFN!

D.

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