Tuesday, September 30, 2014

City of Curses: Five Things All Ithish Know

Five Things All Ithish Know

1.  What Sorcery Looks Like:  Ithish all know Sorcery when they see it.  Even those Ithish without any hint of sorcerous power will claim that they "know" Sorcery when they see it.  As a point of pride, any Ithish worth their salt will tell you "how to sniff out magic"- even when they don't have a clue how to cast a single cantrip.
2.  The Legend of Ith and his principles:  Every Ithish has their own version of the tale, but all Ithish agree on Ith's principles of liberty and self-governance.  Ith the Archmage spoke throughout most of the Ithic city-states over a thousand years ago, his principles of Liberty and Self-Government became cemented in the character of Ith at that point.  Most Ithish are quick to quote Ith's principles from time to time, especially when discussing freedom, liberty and government.  "All people are born free."  "The pursuit of happiness is the highest pursuit."  "No one's liberty should be abridged for any reason, be it sex, love, faith or creed."
3.  The Best Music:  All Ithish know the tunes and melodies of the most popular musicians, Divas and composers.  Their urban centers often ring out with Bards or artifice that carry the best tunes, making most Ithish apt at least at humming a popular tune or two.
4.  Which Paper Lies, Which Paper is Honest:  All Ithish read their newspapers, often at a religious pace.  Most even subscribe to papers they openly disagree with, mainly so they can participate in the lively discussions at the local pub or coffeehouse.
5.  An opinion or two on the Government:  Most Ithish have opinion on politics, especially on the subject of Citizenship.  Many in the North advocate for repealing the Sorcery requirement for Citizenship, while those from the South disagree.  The subject always generates fierce debate.


Just a quickie.  Bit of a thing about Crux to explain some inner flavor to those interested in it.  :D

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Crux Fate Build 1

I find myself about to run Crux in a Fate build.  So, my thoughts turn to how I'm going to do that.

I have two different Pathfinder Fate builds I could use or hack: Green Ronin's Fate Freeport, and this FAE Pathfinder build I stumbled upon awhile back.  My needs lean toward using more of Core Fate over Fate Accelerated this time.

I also plan to port in Icons as well.  Because I like how Approaches work, I want to also do something I've thought about: blending Approaches and Skills.  This seems like it could create more diversity, while allowing for the kind of specialization I prefer for players overall.

Approaches add a how, meaning players can use them to explain how they approach an action or skill while being both narrative and mechanical enough for my needs.  

Right my most work is getting Races and some stunts converted over, and prepping some character gen documents for my players.

This is more of a "blog" post than some of my normal stuff, so... enjoy?

Specialization versus Generalization feels like something I need to spend an article to explain.  Its part of my own personal theory on what makes an entertaining character: generalization tends to make less interesting characters than those who specialize in my opinion.  Most interesting characters do specialize, using one set of tools in unique and different ways, while generalists get by on everything.

Generalists "always" have what they need... but Specialists have holes.  Weak spots they can't quite make up for.  Hence, more interesting.

Welp, I might be posting more about this Crux game now I get a chance to run it in IRL.  Wish me luck!

Random Musing: Lords of Waterdeep Legacy

So time for a blog post.  More rambly, but whatev.  Enjoy it peeps.

After playing Lords of Waterdeep last night, I decided that the game lacks some depth in some flavor in a few ways.  And after hearing that Pandemic is getting its own Legacy version (I wants it already), I feel like I should hack Lords of Waterdeep a bit.

Lords of Waterdeep is a german-style worker placement game that uses the themes of Waterdeep, with its lords and all that Faerun jazz.

Here's the idea for a hack:

Adventuring Parties.  Each lord has a particular adventuring party that they are using as agents in Waterdeep.  Each of these parties has their own powers, etc.  Your Adventuring Party is in addition to your faction or lord, its another kind of thing to help define your game.  And each time you play, you can get a different selection of adventuring parties, factions and lords, potentially wrenching up replayability.
Design Names for Now: (Need five)

Arcanists Party: Start the game with a Wizard.
Martial Party: Start the game with a Fighter.
Pious Party: Start the game with a Priest.
Treacherous Party: Start the game with a Rogue.
Manipulative Party: Start the game with an extra Intrigue card.

Note that if you use parties as the legacy component, you could have them gain different abilities as sessions go by.  Perhaps the Martial Party can learn Weapon Training, making it possible to regain a Fighter after having spent one on a quest.  Or maybe Power Attack, letting you spend two fighters and take away one cube of your choice from an opponent's tavern.  Ways to use your agents to be aggressive, while losing the chance to continue building up your end of things.

I'd rely on someone more versed in Faerun lore to come up with cool names for the adventuring parties.

Possible other ideas:

  • Certain Factions start the game with particular quests, regardless of Lord.  I think that each faction has enough flavor that they should have a "core quest" they begin play with.
  • Sleeve up the Intrigue Cards so I can add in a few more direct problems for people.  Like, a quest type that isn't mandatory, but like a plot quest: it gives that player constant problems until they solve it.  Like, Red Wizards or something like that.
  • Crises.  I think maybe the game might benefit from something I enjoy in the Game of Thrones boardgame, something that throws up problems every other round or possibly changes how board stuff works.  Like, a turn where buildings that create Rogues cost a gold per Rogue, or something like that.
  • More Legacy Stuff: At the end of five or sessions, the player with the most wins can select a building and it always is in play at the beginning of a game from then on, not owned by anybody.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

City of Curses: Oddfellow

A part of my face had melted from the heat of the fire.  Half of my face must've looked like it was sweating.  Hot wax dripping from the part of my face not covered by the faceplate.

I stood up, my gears stuttering from the stress of it of the fall.

"Are you okay?"  I gazed down at the pair of children I had deposited on the ground.  Both were covered in black soot, coughing out ash.

The taller tiefling child blinked at me.  She continued to cough, but I saw tears in her eyes.

"Android!  Does you master know you saved these children?"  I heard a voice shout at me.  I looked over to see a bright light.  A pair of figures stood out to me.  One of them held a box, one of those cameras the university had created.  "Does he own this factory?"

"In the name of the-"  I sighed.  Reporters.  They made some of my business more of a pain these days.

"Who?  What?"  The taller tiefling child's question made me pause.

I ignored the reporters.  I knelt beside her or him.  I could never really tell.  Gender always seemed so strange to me.  Such is the curse of the android.  Somethings always remain unknowable.

"I am called Oddfellow."  I explained.  I wonder if my face, half covered with a crimson plate helped matters any.  "I am a Knight of the Flame."

"Oddfellow!"  The Reporter called.  "Do you know what caused this fire?  Can you attest to your master poor practices leading to the fire?"

I gritted my artificial teeth.  "I'm not owned by anyone.  I am a free android and I-"

I stopped when I noticed the black squirrel on one shoulder of the Reporter.  The same little monster that I had seen spraying oil and lighting gun powder inside.  It still hissed at me.  I focused my eyes on it and onto its master's shoulders.

"Foul deeds this night."  I pointed a finger at the reporter.  "You sir.  I challenge you to a duel.  You are dishonorable-"

A bright flash caught me in mid finger thrust at him.  I felt a hand clutch tight to my hand.  I looked down to see the Tiefling child crying.

"Nothing.  All we had was that job."  She sobbed.  "What are we going to do now?"

I looked up to see the Reporter smiling back at me.  I wanted to punch him in the jaw.  He tossed me a piece of paper.

"Sorry buddy.  I don't truck with that.  See you in the paper this evening eh?"  The reporter left, his black squirrel jeering at me all the while.

I hesitated.  Part of me wanted to follow.  Instead I stood there.  I learned my lesson: newspapers will burn children to make their headlines.  But someone has to stay there for the children.

Even if that is a burned, half-melted Android paladin.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Center Cannot Hold: Classes 7

More on Classes in Crux.  Still doing some dabbling in both PF and Fate Core.  A part of me wants to also play with 5e backgrounds as well.  I think I have enough, however.

Paladin: The class of Paladin is as old as Antipaladin, although the name Paladin itself remains a young word.  Holy champions in service to churches are as how as the churches they serve.  Perhaps earliest known was the Dragon Goldflame, who died slaying the horrific Lich of Stormwood, allowing the Ursyklon to reclaim and settle that land.

Paladins as a class are flavored by the Church they serve.  Some Paladins serve churches in which their own version of the faith is regarded as heresy, as in the Revolution or the Church of Shraxes.  Other churches support the more traditional view of a Paladin- the Church of the Summer Rose, for example.  Amongst paladins, each church's order has their own sobriquet as well:

The Twins: The Paladin
The Summer Rose: Knight of the Flame
The Black Rose: Knight of Silence
The Machine: Gear-Knight
The Singer and the Song: The Diva
The Revolution: Red Knight
Shraxes: Justicars
Kazism: Sacred Keepers
The Wolf Mother: Wolf-Rider
*Note: Each of these Paladin variant orders can also be used for the sake of a class aspect.

Usually Paladins undergo some form of seminary training prior to be allowed out into the field.  In Crux, most Paladins are rare- the particular moral strength needed for it isn't as common in Crux as some might like.  They tend to be loyal to religious icons, often working for them in some capacity: the Archdruid, the Archbishop, and the Archwitch.

More than a fair number of Paladins work as Eagles for the Eternal Order of the Eagle and the Crow.  Although the local chapters are run as an extension of the Church of the Twins, the Archbishop is open to those of any faith who are willing to show a loyalty to the fundamental principles of the organization.  To him, the faith and loyalty to tradition outweighs any religious conflicts for the sake of the future of the organization.

New Trait: Paladin Eagle: You're a member of the Eternal Order of the Eagle and the Crow, an Eagle through and through.  You can always identify a fellow member of the order on sight or by name.  Whenever you use your lay on hands ability, you treat any 1s rolled as though they were 6s instead.

New Stunt: Lay on Hands: Once per session you can lay on hands, healing yourself or another by calling on the power of your deity.  Whomever you touch regains all their physical stress or you can spend 1 fate point and remove 1 mild consequence from them.

Ranger: The Ranger class came into being when the Ursyklon first invaded Orphos.  The class itself was invented as part of the Ursyklon's war with the Aboleth.  Durand the Bloodsong had been the first Ranger, a ursyklon Druid whose choice to defend a remote outpost alone let her become the first Ranger.  Although the first rangers were strongly in favor of hunting aberrations, which populated the notion of Rangers as specialists.

Rangers in Crux cover a variety of tasks.  The insane and illegal monster hunters- especially those who desire to hunt vampires.  The Police Commissioner also favors Rangers for his patrols,
augmenting his investigators with muscle and talents for tracking.  Of course, Rangers in the illegal and secret Crimsonspire Detectives find themselves in the unique position of performing something banned for the sake of the rest of the city.  Crux University helps to train a fair number of Rangers, offering classes in anatomy and biology for the various kinds of favored enemies that Rangers train to hunt.

New Trait: University Anatomy Training: You've studied anatomy at Crux University, gaining an insight on how some monsters' biology works.  You can always identify an organ of any living creature you come across.  Also, when you make a Knowledge (nature) or Knowledge (dungeoneering) to identify a monster, you always roll twice and take the better result.

New Stunt: Favored Enemy: Select one type of monster (undead, aberration, etc.) whenever you make take the attack option against that kind of monster, you gain a +2 bonus on the roll regardless of the skill involved.

Rogue: Thievery has always been a part of the world- and as such, the history of it remains somewhat a dark thing.  The earliest known Rogue called himself a thief.  Alhadim was born in Maliph, and committed many legendary crimes in the region prior to the rise of the Khans.  Alhadim created his own sultanate, stealing a crown some say.

Rogues today have so much variety that they have a variety of options in Crux.  The criminal organizations of the Demon's Orphans, the Blood Barons or the Prince have plenty of room for a eager thief, as do more legitimate organizations like Eternal Order of the Eagle and the Crow or the Metropolitan Police.  As always, such rogues find work as spies, thieves, undercover agents, thugs, and dozen or so other kinds of jobs.

Crux offers perhaps the best sorts of places to learn the trade of the Rogue class, home to mentors of dozens of different takes on the class, from Tengu Ninja to Android Runaways.  All of these sorts are always looking for the next innovation in the class.  This creates a sort of fraternity amongst most rogues, who sometimes overlook who they work for in order to find someone to share a story or a drink with.

New Trait: Reformed Crow: You used to be a part and party to the criminal underlife of Crux.  But the order helped you to reform yourself, to find a new path for your life: you are now a Crow.  You always know another member of the Eternal Order of the Eagle and the Crow on sight, and as a Crow, you always know who to talk to in order to find a order safe house.  Whenever you make a Bluff check to send a secret message, you roll twice and take the better result.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

City of Curses: Icons: The Chancellor

The Chancellor of Crux University

Possible Aspects*: Scholarship of Beyond; Knowledge is Power; The Scientific Method; Doctorate of [Insert Magical or Scientific Field]
Quote: "Academic Freedom- that is what we promise.  This is our goal above all others- knowledge unrestrained by the tyrannical whims of society, religion or the state."

The Chancellor position at Crux University has always been one of the main political players in Crux.  The Chancellor controls how Crux functions, its administration, heads the local branches of the Esoterium Machina and direct all research funds for the university as a whole.  He even controls admissions to some degree.  He represents the loftiest goals of Crux University: research unlimited by legal, philosophical or moral bounds.

Common Knowledge
The Chancellor's name has been synonymous with the University ever since the position was created seven centuries ago.  Everyone know who he is.  They also know that any student at the university has to be approved by the Chancellor.

The other thing well known about the Chancellor are jobs he provides throughout the academic year.  The university will purchase some goods, especially if they are key to certain experiments.  Just as the Chancellor is known for the jobs and goods he'll have the purchase, many also associate him with the goods the university produces.  The magic goods produced at the university tend drive price for all magic goods even lower.  Common folk own pieces of quasi-magic artifice thanks to the work of the University.  Even though the Chancellor has no part in the creation of such innovation, he is the face for the University most recognize.

Many adventurers that also take classes at Crux University will find themselves tied to the Chancellor.  Such students can easily be on positive or negative terms with the Chancellor, although he is always open to those who pursue new forms of research.  He also does employ adventurers for missions for the university as well, preferably selecting those adventurers with ties to the university for missions into the catacombs beneath the Skullmount.

The Chancellor often employs the services of many other Icons through the university, often asking them to acquire resources or having them help a particular project for the university.  The Archwitch often acquires research materials from less reputable sources the university needs.  The Police Commissioner has come to lean on the Chancellor for training of his magical resources, more than a few of which are illegal detectives.  The Chancellor keeps his relationships with all his allies quiet, yet is unafraid to blackmail anyone if it could benefit him.

The Chancellor, like all his predecessors, finds his work at odds with both the Prince and the Tinkerer.   He has no ill will against either, but both would put restraints on him and the university he can't abide.  Both the Archbishop and the Archdruid proudly make pronouncements against the Chancellor and the university, often pointing to various arcane and technological inventions they find blasphemous.  If anyone tries to restrict his university or the research it aims for, they draw his crosshairs.

The position of Chancellor of Crux University is one of the oldest positions in the city.  It was created by the Esoterium Machina itself, and therefore the position has little to no origin in other Icons.  The Prince has long butted heads with the Chancellor and whoever held its position, long despising the independence the University held within "his city."

The strongest part of the Chancellor's support comes from the Esoterium Machina, especially those members who also take part in the Sundered Star cult.  The ideals of the Sundered Star believe that ancient technology left behind by the Ursyklon and the Aboleth lie all over Orphos, waiting for the right mind to reactivate them.  By "fixing" the star, this cult is certain that ancient wonders can be theirs once more.

It is important to note that the University of Crux is far older than the position of Chancellor.  The current Chancellor is the 45th to have held that position, and only has been Chancellor for the last five years.  Even the Chancellor doesn't know all the secrets and things to be found in the ancient University.

The Sundered Star Restored: Some like the Archbishop or Archdruid worry about what would happen if any ancient technologies were to be found by the University.  The fear of anything that might bring the Aboleth free, or worse, attract other entities from beyond to Orphos, drives both of them to act wherever they can to prevent the chance the University might succeed at finding such a thing.
Experiments Loose: Sometimes the Necromancy and Alchemy departments will violate or skit the line of the Old Agreements, the only bans the University has in regards to animating corpses.  These experiments sometimes get loose, and get out.  Worse, some of these "experiments" prove infectious.  Often adventurers and others are brought in to contain the situation.

Sidebar: The Other Icon 
What Follows Isn't Meant For Players.  If you want to play in Crux, this information is possibly spoiler-worthy.  The Chancellor of Crux is representative of another Icon, one whose influence is only really felt through the Chancellor's efforts.  The Chancellor represents the Sundered Star and the cult surrounding it.
The Sundered Star is a metaphor for the Aboleth and their own masters.  It is the void: the freedom to do what they want, unrestricted.  This tie between the Chancellor and the Aboleth isn't unintentional; the Chancellor represents the left handed path of technology.  The darkest fears of the Ursyklon lie within the Chancellor, even though they have no idea how close the Chancellor is to manifesting them.
*For use in Fate Core, or any other game that uses such things.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Center Cannot Hold: Skinwalkers v1.0

More Pathfinder oriented stats for Skinwalkers.  Also including a Fate Core addendum too, I think.

Same as core Skinwalkers, except where changed below:
Change Shape: Remains the same, except that the skinwalker can choose two animalistic features, not just one.
Speak With Animals: This ability remains the same, except it is at will instead of once per day.
Moon-Touched: Skinwalkers gain DR 5/silver.
Skinwalkers retain access to all their variant heritages as options, I think they keep in flavor with the Skinwalkers of Crux.

Skinwalker Favored Classes
Brawler: Add 1/4 to the brawler's effective level to determine her unarmed strike damage.
Cleric: Any celestial or fiendish animal you summon with a Summon Monster spell gain +1/2 to their Strength and Constitution scores.
Druid Add +1/3 to the druid's natural armor bonus when using wild shape.
Gunslinger: +1/3 bonus on Initiative checks as long as you have at least 1 Grit point available.
Hunter: +1/2 bonus on Handle Animal and wild empathy checks with the same kind of animals as your animal companion.
Paladin: When using Lay on Hands, add +1 to the amount of damage healed.
Ranger: +1/2 bonus on Handle Animal and wild empathy checks with one kind of animal chosen (you can select different animal kinds, gaining a bonus with those animals each time you select this bonus).
Slayer: +1/2 bonus on Perception and Survival checks against your studied opponent.

Skinwalker Traits
Illegal Family (Ithic Skinwalker) Your immediate family consists of Lycanthropes who are in hiding throughout Ith.  In addition to helping cover for family who are illegal lycanthropes, you've learned a knack for covering up things.  Whenever you use Bluff, Disguise or Stealth to cover up the truth from an authority, you can roll twice and take the better of the two rolls.
Southern Honor (Ithic Skinwalker) You come from the southern forests of Ith, where Lycanthropes are either legally permitted to live have taken power for themselves.  Where they do hold power, they maintain a sort of honor and decorum- you are used to dealing with those who might besmirch your honor.  Once per day, you can declare an Affront against a target- until you next successfully strike that target, you can roll next your attack against them twice and take the higher of the two rolls.  This lasts until you declare a new affront or use the affront bonus against the target.
Maliphi Wanderer (Maliph Skinwalker) Born in the hot lands of Maliph, you are used to using your more savage and feral side to survive.  Whenever you are using your Bestial Form, you gain a +2 bonus on fortitude saving throws and constitution checks to resist the effects of a environmental factor (like heatstroke).
Exiled Noble (Ainesian Skinwalker) Despite your family's long struggle with its Curse, you were nobles in Ainesia- the lands under you rebelled, slaying most of your lycanthropic relatives while you escaped as a child.  You still retain some measure of understanding about noble knowledge: in regards to Ainesian nobility, if given a family's name, you know the name of their estate and their title without effort.  You also gain a +1 bonus on Will saving throws, retaining the hope of one day being able to return home.

Most skinwalkers in Crux have no distinct Icon that defends only their interest.  Most come to identify with a particular Icon based on more personal beliefs.  For example, the Archwitch is always willing to find a place for Skinwalkers in her organization, even though she is loathe to help Skinwalkers to overturn the ban on Lycanthropy in Crux.  Others do find ways to appeal to Icons, like the Chancellor (who finds the chance to experiment upon skinwalkers to be a unexplored subject), the Prince, or the Spice Khan.  To a few other Icons, skinwalkers hide their feral natures, lying enough to garner the aide of the Archbishop or the Police Commissioner.

Suggested Racial Aspects For Skinwalkers
[Son/Daughter] of a Werewolf; Exiled Noble of a Feral Nature; The Skinwalker Belle; Your Laws or My Family
Further ideas are centered on using the variety of Skinwalkers introduced in Pathfinder's Blood of the Moon.  Each of these names for a  kind of Skinwalker tie into a specific animal and could be great for the basis of an aspect: Witchwolf, Ragebred, Scaleheart, Coldborn, Bloodmarked, etc.

Thanks for reading!  All comments are welcome, unless they promote bigotry.  Good ideas are welcome, bad ideas ignored while great ideas are stolen outright.  See ya around the bend...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Find the Path: The Role System

As I am prepping Crux Character Creation rules, I started to write up the Role System for it, wanting to try out the idea for a first time.  Then I realized that I hadn't bothered to share the idea at all on the blog, so here I am.  The Role System is an attempt at a Character Creation tool: at a particular step of character creation, a player is randomly assigned their Role.  A role isn't intended to be a straight jacket.  Instead, Roles use stereotype of pop fiction groups to try and help players find places where they can shine and help the rest of the group shine too.

The Blank Page Problem
If you've ever created a character for a RPG, you will find yourself stuck at times with a problem you
Four Links: Hmm.  Different kind of Party, I suppose.
can't quite overcome right away.  You know you want to have fun, and you know what you'd like to play.  However, you can't quite think of a character to play.  This gets even more true in games that are point-based and eschew classes altogether.  The more options presented to you as a player, the harder it is to think up of something.

This is the Blank Page problem.  It comes up on occasion.  Its when you have more solutions than problems and no one solution looks superior to others.  Some players are quick to overcome this- Minmaxers for example, while prioritize the most game winning mechanics over ones they deem less powerful.  This is a advantage of having these players- they know what they want to play, and they can dream up their character super quick, so long as they have a context for a character.

The Blank Page Problem rears its ugly head especially for players who don't minmax- the ones who instead aren't focused on game-maximization.  These players still lack a basic filter to weed out the infinite of choices to something finite.  The Role system is intended to be a filter for both kinds of Players.  It'll guide Minmaxers into a context that leaves room for other players to shine, while other players will, because of the limits put on them, have a filter that helps them overcome the decision paralysis the blank page problem creates.

Areas of Concern
So how does the Role System work?  It creates a list of roles, and each of these roles are randomly assigned to each player.  As a GM, you should put a list of options available to each of these roles.  Defining what each "means" in your game is important.  What also is important to explaining to players they aren't limited to these choices, just that their focus should be the same as their role.  Each role therefore needs to have a "area of concern."

In each Role, these areas of concern can be maintained through a variety of choices, but just creating the limitation in and of itself helps players become creative.  A player used to playing fighters assigned the Priest role in the Four Adventurers system, will be forced to think in new terms.  Perhaps they go the Paladin route, or maybe they take on Cleric as a Cleric of some war god.  Either way, the player's role has got them started on thinking of a character different than they'd normally have played, and while they still honor the area of concern of their role.

In the case of the Priest, this is handling divine magic, which is big enough of a subject that the character can serve their role while subverting the expectations of it.  Of course, a player may still want to just step in the stereotype of that role as well.  Which is fine- so long as the player has fun with this process, that is all that matters.

Classic Foursome (D&D)
The original four roles are Mage, Priest, Thief and Warrior (you can also do this alternately, using the four classic elements instead).

The Mage is the classic wizard with all the tropes: arcane magic, area effect spells and powerful effects to bypass or find things through arcane power.  Classes in Pathfinder that suit the role include Alchemist, Arcanist, Bard, Magus, Sorcerer, Summoner, Witch, and Wizard.  Sometimes Bloodragers, Monks or Rogue can fulfill this role.

The Priest is the holy man or woman: divine magic, healing, and miraculous powers to provide support.  Classes in Pathfinder that suit the role include the Alchemist, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Hunter, Inquisitor, Oracle and Witch.  Sometimes Anti-paladin Monk, Paladin, Ranger or Rogues can fulfill this role too.  The variability inherent in Clerics and their gods means that they add a great deal of further blank page to deal with- consider even dividing up Clerics in three or more other "cleric of particular flavors"- putting specific clerics and their gods under specific roles.

The Thief is the sneak, the criminal and scoundrel: backstabbing, stealth, dirty tricks or bypassing traps and locks without much effort.  Classes in Pathfinder that suit the role include the Alchemist (yeah, alchemists are that versatile), Bard (Same with Bards), Gunslinger, Inquisitor, Investigator, Monk, Ninja, Rogue, and Swashbuckler.  Sometimes Ranger, Fighter or Wizard can fulfill this role too.

The Warrior is the tank and main hitter: melee combat, ranged combat, taking hits and handling combat threats.  Classes in Pathfinder that suit this role include any martial class, especially Barbarian, Cavalier, Fighter, Gunslinger, Hunter, Magus, Monk, Paladin, Ranger and Swashbuckler.  Sometimes Bard, Rogue, Inquisitor or Druid can fulfill this role too.

You'll notice some big overlap, and that a few classes seem to blur the lines between multiple roles with no problem.  This is because the Roles used here are very broad, while Classes in Pathfinder (and D&D et al) are all designed with an literary archetype in mind.

This isn't the only way to approach this,  And I chose to use Pathfinder classes as examples of mechanics you can tie to it.  For other permutations of handling these four roles, you could tie each role to restrictions on traits and skills- simply telling a player that one of their starting class skills must be X can get the idea across as well.

The Trinity: Kirk-Spock-McCoy
This role variant is for three characters.  The Kirk-Spock-McCoy invokes the Star Trek TOS vibe, but it hits on three key functions, forming the Freudian Trio of Id, Ego and Superego.  There are plenty of other threesomes you can use for theming, but Id, Ego and Superego oft isn't a bad way to think about it.

The Id (The McCoy) is the emotional one, using their feelings as their main strength- artists,
doctors, or any sort of character that acts with instinct over thought.  Think of fire.

The Superego (The Spock) is the logical one, who puts thinking and planning before doing anything else- scientists, your archetypical smart character or anyone who prizes reason over impulse.  Think of ice.

The Ego (The Kirk) sits between both, and keeps the three together, acting as the glue that makes them work.  This character balances out the weaknesses of the rest of the trio, often acting as a leader, other times as the heart of the team.  Think of Lightning.

Other Variants
There are more variants too.  There is the five-man band or more complex further team mixes you can touch on for fodder for setting up Roles.  There are other things you can do when you implement these rules too.  If you want to do a four person setup, but have five players, you can use the roles above and add something a bit more snowflake as a fifth option.

You also can double up on some roles, or even use one role to define the group concept or campaign's core concept as well.  Trying to define four Rogues for example, but through the use of using the Roles twice (once to define thief, a second time to further refine them), also works.  The key to using the roles is that they are for generating creativity, not stifling it.


Thanks for reading!  All comments are appreciated, unless they propagate bigotry.  Good ideas are praised, bad ideas ignored, while great ideas are stolen.  See yah around the bend!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

City of Curses: Icons: Archwitch

The Archwitch

Possible Aspects*: Indebted For a Wish?; The Archwitch Always Pays Her Debts; Savior of the Tieflings
Quote: "Anything is Possible, everything comes with a Price."
Crux Region: The Wish Quarter

The Archwitch is the matron of the Demon's Orphans and she is the leading Priestess of the Church of Shraxes, the Caged One.  The Archwitch can grant any wish- as long as you are willing to pay the price.  Her "wishes" are tied to the whims and power of the Demon's Orphans.  Criminals of all kinds, the Demon's Orphans are loyal to the Archwitch- helping her to complete her many "wishes."

Common Knowledge
To most, the kind Head Priestess of Shraxes is also head of the most prominent charities in Crux.  She runs Orphanages and Poor houses in the Wish Quarter.  And of course, she is the voice that begins the start of every Wish Festival every year.  That annual holiday alone colors what most think of when they think of the Archwitch.

But she also gains her power from a variety of sources.  Some of these are dark powers, others
unconfirmed rumors.  Her magic and skill at performing wishes isn't a thing born of her worship to
Shraxes, but instead a thing of Witchcraft.  In a former age, she'd have been cast out for such a thing.

 But in Ith, she is a considered a prominent citizen, with accusations of her ties to the Demon's
Orphans seen as slander to some, or as an encouragement to others.

The Archwitch always seeks special individuals, often because only those sort can perform the kinds of tasks her clientele ask her for.  The Demon's Orphans have skills, but sometimes she needs something beyond their capabilities.  Such adventurers always are welcome in her service.

There are other adventurers who owe her a debt, too.  A wish from her allowed them to overcome something they couldn't handle alone- sometimes a curse, other times something their family needed to survive.  These debtors owe the Archwitch, and she is glad to use their services as payment.

The Archwitch is vital in that she controls the Demon's Orphans- providing a counterbalance for many against the Prince and his secretive agendas.  The Blood Barons often help the Archwitch in her schemes against the Prince, always certain she'd lose in the long run- they do so for the short term gain, which the Archwitch doesn't mind or care.  Its an advantage, and she understands manipulation far better than then the vampires think she does.

The Chancellor of Crux University has long spent efforts to hire the Archwitch for all sorts of services in his interests.  In turn, the Archwitch often finds herself in debt to the Prophet of Winds, who can call on Ninja that outperform even her best.  Perhaps her relationship with the Publisher is the most odd, one where both are always trying to convert the other to their cause.

For all her claims of seeking free will, the Archwitch actually finds the anarchy of the Revolution the
most frightening.  She uses the Publisher as often as she can, always to keep him from spiraling things too far out of hand.

The Archwitch opposes the Prince, and both of them have long feuded for control of Crux's shadows.  She also is in direct conflict with those that would try to restrain her, especially those like the Voice, the Archbishop and the Police Commissioner.

She also strives to contain the Publisher, often because her goals as Archwitch include the preservation of the Demon's Orphans.  She acts Frenemy to the Publisher, helping him while trying to manipulate the revolutionary into making mistakes.  She worries about the possible conflict he could create, and her manipulations so far have kept his many terrorist acts contained.

Among those in the know, the Archwitch's position makes sense: the leader of the Church of Shraxes has always had some sort of political power in the city.  Her alliance with that of the Demon's Orphans is a recent advent, something the Archwitch cultivated herself.

The Archwitch herself is a Tiefling of interdeterminate years.  No one knows how old she actually is-
only that she wears veils, has long dark hair and a pair of ever-burning red eyes.  Her powers are a mix of various sources, but most of them are from deals she'd manipulated.  Many have claimed this includes a form of immortality or eternal youth.  Others claim that the position of the Archwitch is hereditary- with each Archwitch always leading the Church of Shraxes.

The Prince plays a critical part in all the myths and legends of the Archwitch.  The oldest stories about her say she knows how the Prince is tied to Shraxes, and that she alone lives to remember how he bound the Demon Princess.  Perhaps most disturbing is the idea that the entire Church of Shraxes might truly be the creation of the Archwitch and her descendants, if she isn't immortal.

The Demon's Orphans grew from the many orphanages that opened the Tiefling Soul had been printed.  Although the Church of the Twins managed many of them, more than a few of those orphans would find themselves alone on the streets after a certain age.  They turned to crime and formed their own gangs.  The tiefling ghettoes in the Wish Quarter spent the better part of the last century being ground zero to their wars.  The Archwitch countered that, working as a middle ground.

Today, all of the gangs that form the Demon's Orphans regard the Archwitch as their own adoptive mother, always referring to her as "Ma" or "Mother Witch."  They speak of her in hallowed tones, and her word often is all they need to be motivated.  They have come to form a devotion to her and all that she represents to them: a way to make Crux their city, as it was always meant to be.


In Debt: Desperate folk turn to Shraxes for help.  Even more desperate people find themselves approached by the Archwitch- who is always willing to help out another for the chance of a future payment.  But sometimes the debtor tries to skip out on a payment.  And when that debtor is an Icon of Crux, then things start to spiral into conflict rather quick.  The Archwitch always find a payment- even if it means using the Demon's Orphans to steal, murder and extract that payment.  In blood as well as coin.

The Printer Mad: Should the Publisher find out that the Archwitch has been countering some of his insurgencies, things spiral out of balance between the two.  Without her constraints on him, the Archwitch finds herself facing a war she truly can't handle: a public relations war.  Such a conflict would also stall her efforts to contain the Publisher, leading to more of the Revolution coming out into the open, while protests form against the Demon's Orphans.  War between icons can be tense in Crux, and a PR war between these two might tip the balance of Crux toward anarchy.

Witchdeath: The Archwitch goes missing or is found dead.  Many worry about the old infighting coming back should that happen in the Wish Quarter.  But those who know the Demon's Orphans know better.  If the Archwitch goes out, then they know who did the dirty deed.  No Orphan would let the Prince get away with it- not without burning down the City of Curses in retaliation.

New Flaw: If you take the following flaw, you get the option to start the game with one additional trait of your choice.

Indebted To the Archwitch: You poor soul.  You struck a deal with the Archwitch, getting a wish in the process.  Whatever the outcome of that wish, it saved you.  It fixed a problem, and now you are alive because of that.  The Archwitch knows this, and you owe her.  Once per session the GM can have a representative of the Archwitch appear and ask the PC to do something they wouldn't otherwise do.  Your debt to the Archwitch never really goes away, as you can't really put a price on how much life you've gotten out of the deal.  But sometimes, it can put you in a real bind...


*If using Fate.  Otherwise, ignore.

Stories and Such

From time to time, I post stories and the like up here.  Most of the time, these are just me getting practice in or focusing on loose worldbuilding.  I try to keep my favorite projects as goals for the future.  I don't think I'll ever truly get published, but I'm more than certain that most of the content here wouldn't be published, especially my stories.

The thought of trying to create money for my stories has completely gone out of my head, though.  My blog isn't as easy to monetize, however.  This blog is me venting my ideas onto paper.  It isn't organized to be tied to only one or two kinds of content.  I vary from reviews, to stories, to writing gaming content to actual "blog" entries like this one.  And posts like this one are me stepping out of the woodwork to attempt explain some things.

The story end of content is one of my biggest creative sinks.  Some of my latest stories weren't intended to be all text.  Instead, I've been meaning to try and blur my writer side a bit with my artist side.  My art never has been what I consider 'worthy.'  But the idea of getting a webcomic or at least telling a story in comic form has always interested me.

So I think parts of recent stories are going to undergo a bit of conversion to comic form.   These stories were already interrelated, tied to Crux as a setting.  Maralda and Lahm, Letters to Othebea and the short 8511 piece all are good fodder for a Crux-based comic I think.

I don't normally post these sort of blog posts, but I figured I tried to see if this interests folks or not.  I'm going to start scripting out a 30ish comic page story in Crux, based on my recent short stories.  I suspect I need to also do some other things too.

Stories are an important part of this blog, and will continue to be.  However, if I plan to create a story that is tied to a paywall or otherwise, I'll post the linkage to it.  Despite the urge in me to try and get self-published, this blog is for me as work in progress.  I want to be a better writer, storyteller, game designer and artist.

Comments are appreciated.  Thanks for reading.  Good ideas are praised, while bad ideas are ignored.  Great ideas are stolen outright by the author.  See yah around the bend.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Flash Fic: Never Say No (Noir Badarte)

Noir stepped out into the open street to cross it.  Burnside was dead quiet this time of night.  The stormy mugginess of the pacific northwest made the night sky grey.

He shivered, cold despite the time of year.  He walked over to the street corner.  He stooped down, touching the red splotch sprayed across the concrete of the curb.  Noir shivered because his senses tingled, and despite all the other things he had going on... when a spirit called, the necromancer couldn't say no.  He had to try and help.

Closing his eyes, Noir let the magic flow.  Then in a very quiet tone, he spoke the most polite words he could think of.

"How can I help?"

A stranger's memories came into the necromancer.  They flooded into his thoughts.  Lonely thoughts, straying thoughts.  Last wishes.  Regrets.  Forgotten worries.

It hadn't been a clean death.  This apparition still didn't know what had happened.  It was confused.  It mourned its own lack of understanding.  He could hear it try to ask him over and over the same thing.

Noir nodded.  He sat down on the curb.  He waved the spirits onward.

"Go ahead.  Take your time.  I've got all night.  I'm here to listen."

After all, that's what he did.  Necromancer with a heart of gold.  Helping the lost dead.  He could never say no.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

City of Curses: More Regions of Crux

More Regions of Crux!

This should round out most of the regions of importance in Crux.  Outside of the 13 areas tied to each Icon of the City, there are some other regions I felt I needed to include.

Most of these come with traits.  Enjoy!

The Grand Bazaar: Nestled between Palace Hill, the Wolf Quarter and the Wish Quarter is one of the landmarks of the city, a region known as the Grand Bazaar.  Filled with merchant districts of all sizes, surrounding a central, ancient square and fountain known as Avard's Spring.  The most powerful Icon of the Grand Bazaar is the Publisher, who runs his newspapers out of the busy heart of Crux.

New Trait: Bazaar Papernewsie: Ever since you were a kid, you've worked the corners of the Bazaar, selling the Publisher's papers to passersby.  You know most of the Bazaar like the back of your hand, and always know where to find the right shop if asked.  In addition, you gain a +2 trait bonus on Perform (Oratory) checks to try and sell things.  On Perform (Oratory) checks to sell things, you always roll twice and take the better result.

The Skullmount Catacombs: An ancient temple to Shraxes is rumored to be located deep under the skullmount.  The catacombs are more than that however.  Its a maze of old dungeons, tunnels, complexes and more from Crux's long history.

Perdition Hill: On a hill north of the Skullmount and west of Havershill is Perdition Hill, known for its prisons and asylums.  Its collection of prisons date back centuries, some of which still sit unused, empty and full of squatters.

New Trait: Perdition Guard: You work in the prisons of Perdition Hill, and you know them like the back of your hand.  As long as you are told a prisoner's full name, you know which prison they are currently in- if they aren't a prisoner or have escaped, then your knowledge might fail.  In addition, you gain a +2 trait bonus on nonlethal damage rolls.

Port of Crux: On the southwestern edge of the Skullmount is a morass of docks, harbours and wharfs.  The Port of Crux is as old as Old Crux is.  Much of the trade in the Maru Sea visits these docks, in one form or another.  The most powerful Icon in the Port of Crux is the Spice Khan.

New Trait: Portside Worker: You work the docks, and have done so like your parents before you.  You've also done work on boats to and from Crux for years, having gained a variety of skills.  You have a knack for identifying ships- you always know the name of the most recent ship to have docked in Crux.  You gain a +1 trait bonus on Swim and always treat it as a class skill.  You roll twice for this skill and take the better roll.

Poorfellows: Former home of a long dead hermit, but Poorfellows has since been reclaimed and turned into cramped slums centered around its lone chapel.  The most powerful Icon in Poorfellows is the Tinkerer- who is well-liked in the neighborhood, especially by those Androids that have settled around her.  Poorfellows sits on the massive island east of the Skullport, connected to both north and south crux via bridges.

New Trait: Resourceful Poorfellow: Raised in the slums of Poorfellows, you know how to get by on very little.  You always know how to get a meal, by crook or by hook.  In addition, when in Poorfellows, you gain a +2 trait bonus on Stealth, Survival and Perception.

Gallowsford: Located atop overlooking cliffs east of Poorfellows, Gallowsford has been one of the main burial sites of the dead in Crux for centuries.  It always seems smaller than necessary- which is true.  Necromancer have long used Gallowsford's penny burials to purchase fresh bodies.  The first agreements that formed Ith have outlawed the practice, although some still suggest that the Chancellor lets them dig up bodies from time to time.

New Trait: Gallowsford Graverobber: You got a sense for the dead, enough to be able to sneak up and take bodies without being noticed.  You gain a +2 trait bonus on Stealth checks you make at night.  In addition, when making a heal check to appraise a corpse's value, you roll twice and take the better result.  Lastly, your Strength Score is considered 2 higher as long as you are dragging a corpse.

* * * * *
So I've drifted with Trait design toward more and more less mechanical benefits; some of these traits could be seen as being worthy of a feat, not a trait.  Welp, lets see.

Thanks for reading!  I appreciate any suggestions/feedback.  Good ideas are praised, while Bad ideas are ignored.  Great ideas are stolen, however.  See yah around the bend.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Center Cannot Hold: Maralda and Lahm 5

In which we learn about 8511's mirror and its importance.  This is part 5 of a short story.  To read from the beginning, click on part 1 below.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

The old Ramelin man frowned.  His salt and pepper beard obscured part of his face's cold emotions.  Behind his eyes I could sense the purplish, cold power of his magic.  The master of the Necromancy department glared down at 8511.

"My property, finally.  What took you so long, tool?"  Maxmidan ignored the two of us.  I wondered if Lahm's own look of anger even registered.  "I assume these two were simply trying to help return you.  I'd hate to have to report any theft."

"We thought it'd dangerous to leave someone alone in a place known for what it does to those who know nothing of world."  I said, my mouth opening before I could think.  "She looked lost and mentioned you Professor.  We thought to help her get back to you as soon as we could."

"It is not a 'she'." Maxmidan corrected.  "Androids are tools.  They may be people-shaped, but don't be fooled.  They oft think like tools: useless unless used."

I swear I could hear a pin drop in the awkward silence.

"Either way, sir... here she is."  I waved my left arm around, as if displaying her to a audience.  I let my right hand drop down to under my coat.  My family's amulet felt warm as I clutched onto it.  Just in case, I might have to use it.

"Yes.  I suppose."  Maxmidan analyzed 8511.  After a moment, his voice switched to a command.  "Tool.  Did you find the necklace?  That is not what I sent you after."

8511's body froze, paralyzed as if by magic.  I cringed, recognizing the enchantments.  For anyone but an animal or Android, such cruel enchantments were illegal.  I thought I heard Lahm's teeth grit.  He recognized the same domination magic I had.

At first, the Android girl didn't answer.  I could sense the spell weaving its way.  I understood the basics of this version of the spell.  Pain and negative emotions would well up inside the subject if they didn't respond.  It was another layer to the enchantment, a cruelty to just be cruel.

Maxmidan's eyes glowed a bright purple, crackling with energy.  He stared at 8511.

"Answer, Tool."  Maxmidan lifted his cane up from the ground, hefting it up in one hand.

"No, I didn't find it.  No one could find that stupid necklace.  Perhaps the one who dropped it should
"All Power is Finite.  All Cages Open. All Chains Break."
-Shraxes, the Caged One
try retracing his own steps."  8511's eyes streamed tears of pain.  I heard the sound of her sarcasm, the anger and the pain.  She opened her mouth to continue the tirade against Maxmidan.  "Why do I have to-"

Maxmidan swung at her with the cane.  He hit her in the face, knocking the Android to the ground.  "Tool.  Shut up."

Just as he was about to lift his arm up in another swing, I dove for 8511.  As I did, Lahm grabbed the can from Maxmidan.  I put myself between her and Maxmidan.  Lahm threw the cane away.

"You do not strike a innocent."  Lahm said, his voice full of contempt.  "No matter what rules or lies Ith gives you, that is one thing you do not do."

Lahm pulled out a dagger.  That didn't matter.

"Ex nihilo."  Maxmidan threw blackness at Lahm.  Lahm fell to the ground, his muscles warping.  Necromancy writhed all over him.  I didn't recognize the spell, but took note that Lahm wasn't dead.  "You live, Tiefling because I'm kind enough to keep you alive.  You talk like a Crow.  Maybe a bit of enervation will teach you, hmm?"

"No."  8511 whispered to me.  She looked up to me.  "He's a monster.  I..."

"It's alright."  I told her.  "Lahm... has this thing about helping.  He's right.  You need our help."

"You don't understand."  She shook her head.  "I didn't want you two to get... Believe me when I say I'm sorry, ok?"

I blinked.  "Sorry for what?"

8511 ignored me and pulled up the mirror she'd been clutching since we found her.  She gazed into it.

"O Shraxes, I agree.  I ask for one wish and I shall break this mirror as you ask in return."

My eyes widened.  Maxmidan and Lahm must've kept talking or something, because neither of them saw what I did: 8511 threw the mirror to the ground, shattering it.  In the instant before it struck the ground, I saw a face.  A demonic face, like that of a woman but so unholy and beyond anything human or ursyklon.  She had been smiling, her horns covered in black energy as the mirror shatter.

I then heard a feminine voice rumble through the hallway.  "Your wish, then, young one?"

8511 pointed past me.  I nearly fell over in surprise.  She pointed past Lahm, to Maxmidan, his eyes still crackling with necromantic magic.  "Him.  I want his power, his magic and all he has wrought from them."

Then the demon woman laughed.  I felt my stomach turn.  Lahm gazed upward, his face pale yet worried.
"What did you do?" I asked.

8511 didn't answer me, but I could tell she was ashamed.  That's when it happened.

Maxmidan's knees buckled from underneath him.  Purple energy pulsed out of him, like water from a river.  It poured out, a torrent of magic.  The stench of brimstone filled the air.  My hair started to stand up, static in the air clinging to it.  I moved away from the river of power that poured out of Maxmidan.

And into 8511.

She then stood up, taking in all the magic and power her wish had taken.  Maxmidan fell to the floor.  8511's eyes started to glow purple, her wax face smiling.  She looked like she was experiencing revelations, like a child that has found the joy in reading on their own for the first time.

"This is his power.  All yours."  The demonic voice echoed, its source still unseen.  "This daughter of Shraxes thanks you for your aid.  Ask again, and perhaps even my mother will find a use for you, my little witch."

Then Maxmidan screamed in pain.

I looked over to the professor.  His salt and pepper beard had gone gray.  Then the hair started to fall out.  The gold gear on his lapel fell, then turned into rusted iron.  His clothes turned into rags.  I saw wands, rings and other magic fall from his person, turning to dust.  Their energy flowed back into the Android.  He held up one hand, and called out a staff from a glove, and he tried to use it to counter and stop the flow of the energy.  It didn't work, and the staff turned to dust along with everything else the professor had been wearing.

But it didn't end there.  The spell agonizing Lahm ended, returning into the maelstrom about 8511.  Maxmidan's flesh grew pale, then shrunken.  He aged as if decades, his body turning to a shell.  When it did end, he had become skeletal.

Lahm checked him.  "He's still breathing.  But... I don't know if he'll..."

Lahm shook his head.

"What did you do?"  I asked 8511 again.  I stared at her.  She'd... changed as well.  The Android we'd met had been covered in ragged clothes, cheap and covered in sewerage and the other detritus a crawl underneath Crux will give you.

Not this Android.  She wore a purple, black and red set of robes.  They covered her in a golden hood, framed with sigils that resembled bones and skulls.  Her hand held up a staff, bright with gold and amethysts.  Both her eyes had a dark shade of purple.  The rune on her forehead having become an enlarged omega symbol.

"I took the only thing that mattered."  8511 walked over to Maxmidan and spat at him.  I then noticed something else.  8511 was taller than me now, even a bit taller than Lahm.  Even Maxmidan's height had been taken to her.

"Power."  I shuddered.  "We... Lahm-"

Lahm waved a hand.  "We can't stay here.  It's alright, I've got a guy."

Lahm stumbled over to a nearby door.  I followed, turning back to 8511.  "You coming?"

She blinked.  "Oh.  Of course."

We left the rat bastard of a professor right there.  Meanwhile, I felt tingling go up my spine.  I let 8511 walk in front of me.  Suddenly have a Android Mistress of Necromancy behind me felt really, really risky all of a sudden.

"I apologized before because I didn't understand."   8511 told me as we followed Lahm.  "I wanted his power because he's a cruel man.  I didn't know if doing it that would've hurt you or Lahm.  I didn't want that."

"Uh..." I searched for the right thing to say.  As a Bard, I should have an analogy or something to use.  Something witty.  Dang it.

"But now..."  She blinked.  "Are you shorter or..."

"Yeah.  You're taller now."

"Oh.  That-"  She banged her head on a door as we walked threw.  "Ow."

That made me smile a bit.  "You okay, 8511?"

8511 rubbed her head.  Then I heard her whisper.  Something hissed.  Then metal clanged onto the ground.  Her metal name plate was on the ground, cut as if by acid.

"I am okay.  But that isn't my name.  I never want to heard 8511 ever again."

As always, thanks for reading.  Sharing and +1s are appreciated, especially if you liked the story.  This isn't the end of these characters, but its probably the end of this short story.  I hope you enjoyed it.   The characters and setting are based on Crux, the City of Curses, a Pathfinder homebrew setting I've been dabbling with.

Comments are beloved here!   Good ideas are welcome, while bad ideas are ignored.  Great ideas are stolen outright.  Thanks and see yah around the bend...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Status (The Alt Version)

Rule 1.  Ignore gp values, character wealth by level and keeping track of gp altogether.

Rule 2.  Can your character justify what they own at 1st level?  No 1st level character owns any sort of outrageous magical gear.

Rule 3. There are seven kinds of wealth: Poor, Lower Class, Middle Class, Upper Class, Wealth, Very Wealthy and Super-Rich.  Only people who are Middle Class or higher can own magic items or create them.  Only those who are Very Wealthy or higher can own artifacts.

1st level characters begin at Poor status.  If a Character takes the Rich Parents trait or the Noble Scion feat, instead begins play at the Upper Class status.  Any character with a rank in a Perform, Craft or Profession skill begins at Lower Class.

Rule 4.  Anyone can only any item, any time.  However, if those of your status are normally allowed to own a magic item or artifact, you don't fear the danger of owning such items.  Anyone lower than Very Wealthy who owns a Artifact have to fear retribution and danger for owning that item.  Anyone lower than Middle Class owning a magic item have to fear retribution and danger for owning that item.

Retribution and danger include: legal disputes over ownership, police investigations, rivals for that item, criminals wanting to take that item away and other consequences.  If your status supports your ownership of a item, then you have no problems- people support your claims of ownership, unless they have a non-societal reason to take that item from you.

I'll repeat this for good measure: Anyone can own any item.  Only those in the right status can own item without fear of the dangers that brings.  A beggar with a magic sword gets arrested as a thief, or a regular fellow with an ancient artifact crown is harassed by criminals and those'll take it from him because he is a easy target without the means to protect it from theft.

Rule 4a.  Magic items come in three values: Least, Lesser and Greater.

Rule 5.  If you find a way to increase your status, you get a roll to do that.  If you make that roll, then you go up a category.

Rule 6.  Your status determines your living conditions too.

Rule 7.  You can take out loans for things.  You can pay them off, but if you don't acquire the right story means to do so, you can't and you face the consequences of that.  So Loans can help you get stuff easier.

Rule 8.  Some places won't let you go there because of your status.  Its a social thing.  Tied to Charisma and your status.  You need both to be able to get in.

Rule 9.  You have a number of NPC sidekicks.  How many?  That's fluid.  Why?  That's up to you to explain why you have a butler or a good friend sidekick.

City of Curses: The Destreza, a Prestige Title

This is a prestige title set in Crux, the City of Curses.  Click here for more information on that.  
Maister of the True Art: The Destreza

Prior to the advent of firearms, martial schools flourished throughout the Maru Sea.  The Destreza is one such school, native to Crux.  The Destreza are known for their miraculous skills, capable of acts that border on actual magic, so much so that some confuse Destreza with Magi.  Some of them are, but most often Destreza just learn how to use their martial arts to subtly warp reality around them.

The Destreza specialize in what they consider to be the beauty of swordplay and martial arts.  To a Destreza, each time a blade moves or a combatant maneuvers, it needs to be done to find the truest way that could be done.  There is a true art to what they do, and uncovering it is one of the biggest motivations of the Destreza.  These days they are so few in number that this search for the True Way often falls in priority to surviving.  Most Destreza these days struggle to find new students, to make sure their art doesn't fade away in an era defined by the gun.

This uses my Prestige Titles Variant.  Click here for more on that.

Base Attack: +5
Feat: Weapon Focus (Any Slashing Melee Weapon), Destreza Style
Skills: Acrobatics 5 ranks, Perception 5 ranks
Special: You must be inducted into the Destreza school by a recognized master of the school, passing a test of skill and ability in order to do so.

Favored Saving Throw: Will
Bonus Skill Points At Each Achievement: 2
Bonus Hit Points At Each Achievement: 5
Prestige Class Skills: The Destreza's class skills are (and the key ability for each skill) are: Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Bluff (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Local)(Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Dance) (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex) and Swim (Str).

Title Feature: The True Art: All Destreza gain access to a Martial Pool of points.  This pool of points is equal to the half the character's class level plus their Int modifier.  As a swift action, you can spend a martial point to gain a +4 bonus on a single attack roll or CMB check, as long as it is with a weapon you have weapon focus in.

1st Achievements
Attack Mastery: Increase your Base Attack Bonus by 1.  You can take this Achievement multiple times.

Combat Training: You gain a Combat feat of your choice, as long as you qualify for it.

Minor Destreza Strike: You select two of the following Destreza Strikes to learn.  To use a Destreza Strike, you must pay a Martial point before attempting the strike.  If your attack roll is successful, you can add the Strike's effects on your attack.

  • Iron Wind Strike: You immediately gain a second attack, but you can only performt that attack against a different opponent than the one you first struck.
  • Shattering Blade Move: Your opponent's melee ability is broken.  For the next minute, all your opponent's melee attack rolls are rolled twice, and they must use the worse result.  
  • Speed of Steel: You gain a +10-foot enhancement bonus to your speed.  If you move at least 10 feet during the rest of this turn, you gain a +2 dodge bonus to your AC until the beginning of your next turn.
  • Muscleslicer: You also deal 1d3 points of Strength damage to the opponent as well.
  • Iron Punishment Blow: You deal an additional 1d6 points of damage.  This damage increases by additional die for each extra attack you could make.  You take a -2 penalty to your AC until the start of your next turn. 
  • Glorious Trip Slice: You get to make a free Trip attempt against the opponent, without provoking an attack of opportunity.  For this trip attempt, you roll twice and take the better result.
  • Gasp of the Art's Truth: For a brief moment, your blade moves so beautifully that your opponent's defenses shatter in surprise by it.  Your attack resolves against your opponent's touch AC instead of their normal AC.

You can take this Achievement multiple times.

Destreza Training: You add your number of Destreza Achievements to Acrobatics, Climb and Swim checks as a competence bonus.  In addition, you can spend a martial point to reroll your Initiative roll.

3rd Achievements
Counter: You react as soon as a opponent's attack touches you, taking advantage of the opening they've given you.  As a immediate action, you can spend 1 martial point to make a attack of opportunity against any opponent that has struck you in melee combat.  Their hit still resolves, however.  You roll twice on this attack, taking the better result.

Major Destreza Strike: Select one of the following Destreza Strikes.  To use one of these Destreza Strikes, you must spend two martial points before you make your attack roll.  If the attack is successful, you add the Destreza Strike's effect to you attack.

  • Strike thy Heart:  Your attack also deals an additional 2d4 points of Constitution damage to the opponent.
  • Seven-Pointed Strike: Your attack targets a critical junction of muscle and nerves, and doesn't deal any damage.  Instead, your opponent must make a Fort Save (DC 10+ Your Strength Modifer +1/2 your character level) or become Paralyzed for 1d4 minutes.
  • Recovered Glory: You become healed from the glorious moment of your attack.  You heal 2d6 plus your character level worth of hit points.

You can take this Achievement multiple times.

Capstone: Perfect Blow:  You learn the best of the True Art, unlocking the capacity to strike with a weapon in the Perfect way.  You can spend 1 martial point to double the amount of damage you deal on a successful attack.  If it is a critical hit, you must 3 martial points in order to double it.  This doubling of damage doesn't double precision damage dice (like sneak attack), but it does double damage from magical enhancements or Destreza attacks (like Flaming or Iron Punishment Blow).

Sidebar: Martial Points and Other Points
Your pool of Martial points can be combined with other pools- if you are a Magus, it will combine with your Arcane pool, while for a Ninja it'll combine with your Ki pool.  This is one of the benefits the Destreza have in the modern era, although they still struggle to find ways to make melee weapons matter in the face of guns.

Destreza Feats

Dodge Bullets [Combat]
Prerequisite: Dodge
Benefit: You gain a +4 Dodge bonus to your Touch AC, but only against bullets and gunfire that you are aware of.

Destreza Style [Combat, Style]
Prerequisites: Weapon Focus (Any Slashing Weapon), Int 13, BAB +3
Benefit: While using this style, you can use your Intelligence modifier in place of your Strength modifier on melee attack rolls.

Destreza Dancer [Combat, Style]
Prerequisites: Destreza Style, Weapon Focus (Any Slashing Weapon), Int 13
Benefit: Each time you successfully strike an opponent using Destreza Style, you gain a +2 dodge bonus to your AC until the start of your next turn.

Destreza Master [Combat, Style]
Prerequisites: Destreza Style, Weapon Focus (Any Slashing Weapon), BAB +8
Benefit: Anytime you would threaten a Critical hit, the critical hit is automatically confirmed.  In addition, the critical hit damage multiplier for any slashing weapon you use is increased by 1.

In Crux: The Destreza style is allied with a few different icons, but most notably receives support from The Chancellor, The Blood Barons and The Voice.  The Chancellor has long supported Crux University teaching multiple martial arts styles, and the Destreza has long shared the same philosophical goals of truth and freedom that the Chancellor often seeks.  The Voice and those who serve her interests love the Destreza's emphasis on the beauty of their style, often hiring Destreza as bodyguards or as part of some performances.  The Blood Barons, of course, have one or two members of their own families that practice ancient forms of the same style, and feel a traditional loyalty to the school despite the current age.

Other Icons have lambasted and mocked the old school of the True Art as well.  The Publisher isn't afraid to publish stories of the lone Destreza that harasses the poor.  The Police Commissioner continues to look for new innovative ways to train his officers, indirectly causing many to abandon support of the Destreza instead to learn more gun-oriented styles.  The Demon's Orphans too, have a old grudge with the Destreza School, long having supported their rival martial school, The Viper School.  The Vipers emphasize on cunning and distraction, focusing on fooling their opponent where the Destreza focus on finding the perfect way to deliver a blow.

Find the Path: Status, a Wealth Variant

Status: A Wealth Variant
This is a variant that replaces the need to track coins in Pathfinder.  It doesn't replace magic items or
anything like that.  It just focuses on replacing coin tracking and some very minor item stuff.  Status eliminates the coin tracking in normal Pathfinder with a system that assumes wealth is more complicated than simple numbers, using abstract categories to explain what and what not some people can do.  Wealth here is a series of permissions, unlocking options based on which category you belong to.

This system assumes some trust from the players- something I as a GM prefer over being restrictive.  Permissions and distrust serve no one.  The goal is to have fun, and I just want to remove some accounting from my games.  Most of this variant is about removing coins as costs for items.  Minor items are just free items, and have the least amount of cost to obtain in terms of time.

I'm going to go instead with this very crunch-lite version I created instead.  Go here to see what my alternative to this is.

Minor Items
A minor item can be anything item under the base minor value- your level times 10.  If a item costs less than this amount, a character can obtain a minor item with minimum effort.  You have always have enough coin on hand to purchase it.  Anything outside this value requires at least an hour to find and purchase.

In addition, your Minor Item value also determines how much coin you have easily available to craft items with each day.  If you have any item creation feat, this value is doubled for crafting magic items.

Shop Status
In addition, you can't shop any establishment that only serves those of a higher status than you.  Most magic shops serve higher level clientele, and are used to turning away anyone of questionable status.  This is beyond the means of a diplomacy or intimidate check; its a societal effect.  If you lack the status of the right kind, you just can't shop at some places.

For most items you find at shops, if you spend the requisite time looking at a shop within your status' range, you can acquire it as long as its under your Ownership cap.

Ownership Cap
On top of that, status helps to determine your Ownership Cap.  That is, the highest possible gp value any item you own can have.  You aren't allowed to exceed this limit.  You can try to break it- but you have to deal with the social, legal and other ramifications.  Trying to own something beyond your station attracts attention, and often legitimate authorities will think you stole the item.  Others will try (and probably) to steal that item from you, because well, you obviously can't be its legit owner.

Ownership Cap = Status Modifier x Character Level x 500 gp

Changing Status
Whenever your character obtains a great deal of Wealth, there is a chance she might move up in status as well.  This is a Status check.  The character rolls 1d20 plus their total character level plus their Charisma modifier.  If you beat the DC for your current Status, then you advance upward.

Unlike most things in d20, Status has finite room for growth.  It doesn't scale upward forever, and some may never see any reason to want to persue a higher Status.  Any Character can choose at anytime to drop in status, forsaking enough wealth to drop down to the category below.  You can't do the reverse, but some do find happier lives with a low status.

WAIT!  This means Potions Are INFINITE!
Yes, there are some parts of this that read like "players get infinite resources."  The time costs of items still apply, as do the practical restrictions as well.  This is where GM fiat comes into play as a lever to stop somethings.  Potion shops can't supply a infinite supply of potions- the ready supply of potions for any given shop can't possibly supply an infinity.  Besides that, each potion purchased costs a player time to purchase if its outside their Minor Item value- an hour each time.

This assumption of a time cost for getting items replaces the main costs of getting items altogether.

Categories of Status
Each of the following eight categories of status list their status modifier, what living conditions for them are like, your character's appearance because of them, their status DC and any other relevant modifiers.

Poor and Destitute (DC 10; Status 1/10): You are poor enough that you sometimes sleep on the streets, and to rely on begging, theft or charity to get something to eat.  To anyone outside your Status, you take a -4 penalty on Diplomacy or Intimidate checks.  Your Minor Item value is always equal to your character level minus 1, making it hard for you to hold onto much of anything.  

Lower Class (DC 15; Status 1/2): You have found some form of work, or at least a means to afford the shack or leaky roof over your head.  You always manage to get something to eat, although it always never seems like enough.  To those of Wealthy or higher status, you still take a -2 penalty on Diplomacy or Intimidate checks.

Middle Class (DC 20; Status 1): You own a house, or have a decent apartment, have enough food to eat, and always have little extra you can spend on things other than surviving.  You take a -2 penalty on Diplomacy or Intimidate checks with those of Very Wealthy or higher status. For crafting magic items, the ready available cash you have to spend is equal to half your ownership cap instead of your minor item value.

Upper Middle Class (DC 25; Status 1.5): You have decent means and probably have a servant or two on the payroll.  You can afford the occasional extravagance.  You suffer no penalties for dealing with those outside your status.

Wealthy (DC 30; Status 2): You own a spacious home and don't really worry about most daily needs at all- thats what your lackeys and servants are for.  You suffer a -4 penalty on Diplomacy checks with those of Poor Status.

Very Wealthy (DC 40; Status 5): You own a grand manor or sizeable castle.  You live with extravagance, with a army of servants at your beck and call.  Those of much lower means aren't always sympathetic to you- take a -4 penalty on Diplomacy checks with those of Lower Class or Poor status.

Super-Rich (DC 50; Status 10): You are as wealthy as some nations.  You are one of the richest in the world, with countless servants and easy access to minor artifacts if you so wish.  You treat your Minor Item value as though it were ten times larger than it was otherwise.  You take a -4 penalty on Diplomacy checks with those of Middle Class or lower status.

A character of a lower status can obtain a higher one, albeit only for temporary.  By taking a Loan, the character advances up a social status.  Eventually the status reverts back to where it was before, but not without causing the Character to gain the Debt condition.  The character keeps the Debt condition until they can find some ways to pay it off or remove it altogether.

A loan can also be used to purchase or acquire something beyond a character's normal means.  Any item with a cost beyond the character's ownership cap can be paid for with a Loan.  Buildings, airships, very potent weapons, all of these are things a character who takes a Loan can obtain.

A debt can always be paid off by the Character choosing to drop down two whole status categories.  If the character can't drop down two (if dropping one category would put them at Poor, for example), then they are unable to pay the debt off.  The character remains stuck at that status until they have an opportunity to raise their status again.  If the character has taken a loan for increasing their status, they can only pay off the loan by dropping their Status after the loan's increase in status has expired.

Starting Characters
PCs start at Poor Status, unless they have a trait or feat that lets them begin at a higher status. (Edited: 9/14/2014)


I'm unsure if some parts of this scales well or not.  Its an untested system I suspect that will favor low to middle levels right now.  I'm still looking to test it, and I'm looking for any feedback on it.  Some of the basic numbers feel like they are in the right ballpark.  I also will see about creating some mechanics that design well into this, feats and spells and the like.  Whatcha think, does this replace coin counting well?

Thanks for reading.  All comments are appreciated.  Any good ideas are praised.  Bad Ideas are ignored and the great ideas are stolen outright.  See ya around the bend.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The City of Curses: Regions and Quarters of Crux

Regions of the Crux In Brief

Here are some of the regions of Crux.  Each region is comprised of dozens of neigborhoods and districts, landmarks and streets.  These aren't the only regions in Crux.  There are many more, but these ones are of most interest to Crux's Icons.

Blood Quarter: A region of the Crux under city populated primarily by vampires and their Dhampr descendants, located beneath Havershill and Old Crux.  The most important Icon in the Blood Quarter are the Blood Barons.

Wish Quarter: On the outskirts of the southern edge of central Crux, the Wish Quarter is located along the refuse, landfills and industrial garbage heaps that only the poorest on the edge of Crux can afford.  The most important Icon in the Wish Quarter is the Archwitch.

Havershill: North of the Skullmount, over looking the Sleeping Straits is Havershill, dominated by old ruins and tall, magically constructed apartments and towers.  The most important Icon in Havershill the Police Commissioner, who runs the Crux Metropolitan Police out of his home in Crimsonspire.

Old Crux: Located south of the Skullmount, Old Crux comprises the oldest neighborhoods that survived last Great Fire of Crux.  Here can be found Crux's oldest bazaars and most historic buildings.  The most powerful Icon of Old Crux is the Prince.

The Skullmount:  Home to the University of Crux, the Skullmount perhaps the most well known landmark in Crux, built atop the skull of a long forgotten god the size of a mountain in the middle of the cliffs and waterways of the Sleeping Straits.  The most important Icon of the Skullmount is the Chancellor of Crux University.

Northcrown: Along the North coast of Crux is Northcrown, dominated by new manor houses and estates.  It is home to the wealthiest elite of the City.  The most important Icon of Northcrown is the Banker.

Palace Hill: South of Old Crux and the Grand Bazaar is the fortified hill that once was home to the Tomasi Emperors for a thousand years-  as well as home to a myriad of palaces and other crowded tenements.  It is also home to various theatres, opera houses and ampitheatres, including the ancient marble theatres from centuries ago.  The most powerful Icon of Palace Hill is the Voice.

The Wolf Quarter: Nestled beside the Skullmount and Old Crux is the Wolf Quarter, dominated by parks and wilds kept by the Archdruid.  The most powerful Icon of the Wolf Quarter is the Archdruid.

Gruudl:  Deep beneath the Wolf Quarter and Palace Hill is Gruudl, once a proud citadel the Ursyklon erected when they first conquered Crux and the Skullmount ten thousand years ago.

The Aerie-Towns: Located throughout Crux, but centralized above Havershill, are the Tengu ghettoes, the Aerie-Towns, when they keep their own community separate from the rest of the city.  The most powerful Icon in the Aerie-Towns is the Prophet of Winds.

The Rose Quarter: Straddling the easternmost docks in Crux, the Rose Quarter sits east of the Wolf Quarter and Palace Hill.  Here are is St. Raham's Cathedral, the largest Cathedral dedicated to the Twins west of Othebea.  The most powerful Icon in the Rose Quarter is the Archbishop.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The City of Curses: Icons of Crux

The City of Curses

So, I've done a lot of World-building for Crux.  I've got races, nations, histories and all sorts of things going on for it.  The Center Cannot Hold series of posts focused on a Macroscopic setting reveal of Crux, going sort of stroke by stroke on the world Crux occupies.

But what about the City of Curses?  It sits at the center of the World right?  Stuff about Ainesia is nice and all.  In Crux, how does all that information on Maliph and Ainesia interact?  Hows does the ancient city deal with its Othebean roots?  Which neighborhoods like androids and which riot over them?  Where are its Ursyklon ghettoes, its Tengu Aerie-Towns, its foreign hideaways?

I've written up factions, but where are the big named NPCs?  The rumors or stories?  The faces that haunt this town?  Sure, there are Dhampr, one might ask, but another could pointed out that my Vampire Clans don't have leaders.  Who are the big movers in the Demon's Orphans?  Who runs the Esoterium Machina in Crux?  Who?  Who and what do these people want?

This merits a different series of articles, with a different focus.  The City of Curses focuses on this aspect of Crux: the rumors and plot hooks.  The faces and themes in the City.  Its a microscopic look at Crux, enough to perhaps shift gears from major world-shifting forces to what makes the city tick.

The Icons of Crux
There then lends a question, which may seem silly: who leads in Crux?  Who shapes its mood, its politics?  Who represents the factions, themes and urges of the City of Curses?

I know what themes I want for Crux, the kinds of stories I want to tell in it.  I've created factions who have stakes in the City of Curses.  But they need faces.  People to represent them.  Icons that are those factions for the PCs that interact with them.  In 13th Age, Icons are a major mechanical underpinning, NPCs that serve significant roles, with interactions and rules and a lot of stuff going on.  I'm not focusing on a interaction of using those rules in Pathfinder or anything like that at the moment.

I'm going to use Icons to define the most significant movers and shakers in Crux.  These are the people who represent the major factions, forces and powers at play in the city.  They are significant, powerful NPCs whom the PCs may/may not have relationships with.  Like in 13th Age, I see a benefit in letting PCs be tied to specific forces of my setting.

First time out, we're just going to go around and define the Icons of Crux.  Although they have "actual names" I'm going to follow the 13th Age model and name them as titles or roles.  I'm borrowing the same numbering, 13 for my purposes here, as I see no reason not use a unique number.  Also following the basic patterns of Crux, the morality of these Icons isn't crystal clear- they aren't either villains or heroes in most cases.  They have goals, reasons for these goals, self-contradictions and their own bitter rivalries.

(Although I'm calling them Icons, you'll note the scale they are designed for.  Their power to affect the setting is limited to Crux and its surrounding environs.  I'm borrowing a few ideas from all over, but especially from Rob Donoghue's concept of Anchors.  I've just chosen to go with Icon instead of Anchor for the sake of wordplay.  Alter as you see fit.)

 1 The Publisher: Publisher of the most popular newspapers in Crux (The Crux HeraldThe Daily Stargazer and the Skullmount Gazette), the Publisher also advocates and prints the most radical editorials, helping to agitate and bring Ainesia's Revolution into Ith.  He opposes traditional and older power, and uses the press as his main weapon to bring the Revolution to the masses.

 2 The Voice: The most famous and celebrated performer of Crux (and perhaps the entire Maru Sea), The Voice is also the highest ranked Priestess of the Singer of the Song.  She often does her own advocacy for city improvements and government reform, often in favor of repealing the bans on unionization and advancing the position of the Unsorcerous.  Even her enemies recognize her skill in song and verse.

 3 The Archbishop: Leader of the Church of the Twins in Crux, the Archbishop also coordinates the
local lodges and chapters of the Eternal Order of the Eagle and the Crow.  The Archbishop advocates much in the interests of Othebea, such as hunting monsters, advocating traditional values and working against new and old blasphemies.

 4 The Archwitch: Most prominent leader of the Church of Shraxes, the Archwitch is well-known as being able to grant wishes to any who can afford to pay her.  She also is the spiritual mother of the Demon's Orphans, often acting as their public figurehead while still working in their best interests- especially to topple the Prince and his rival criminal organization.

 5 The Banker: One of the wealthiest Dragons in the Maru Sea, the Banker controls the most prominent lending institution in the Maru Sea, the Bank of Crux.  The Banker looks to maintain her riches, but always believes that her own wealth enriches the world around her, often working on philanthropy despite her own interest in advancing industrial practices, opposing unions and increasing manufacture of Android slaves.

 6 The Spice Khan: The Spice Khan is the wealthiest of all the Khans of Maliph- yet she chooses to reside outside her own nation, in a luxury ship in the Docks of Crux.  The Spice Khan controls most of the Spice Trade of Maliph, influencing the economy of the entire Maru sea in the process- the Spice Khan always seeks to protect the spice trade, but she seeks ways to avoid the impending economic decline she foresees destroying it.

 7 Prophet of Winds: Central to all Tengu immigrants of Crux, the Prophet of Winds controls the Tengu Ninja clans, offering their services to any who pay them- while simultaneously trying keep her people's culture and identity safe from outside influence and assimilation.  Her potent foresight often is sought out on its own.  Her neutrality in many other matters often draw her out as well, as she often has no stake in some conflicts between other icons.

 8 The Police Commissioner: Created by the President of Ith, the Crux Metropolitan Police are outside the authority of the Crux city government, working against it at times.  The Police Commissioner works to enforce the law of the land, fully aware that even the government of Crux itself is corrupt and working for the criminal organization controlled by the Prince.

 9 The Chancellor of Crux University: Leader of Crux University, The Chancellor directs all its research and controls the overall goals of the university.  He also directs the actions of the Esoterium Machina, and eagerly works on any project that expands knowledge, scientific, magical or metaphysical.  No form of experimentation seem too dire to him, so long as new knowledge is uncovered in the process- especially if it serves the Sundered Star, to unlock forbidden knowledge others have long sought to leave untapped.

10 The Blood Barons: The five leaders of the Vampire Clans of Crux.  Each represents their clans interests, especially within the city at large- they coordinate their efforts, enjoying an age of unprecedented wealth and tranquility for their kind.  The vampires have a vested interested in keeping the status quo, especially if it allows their power to grow.  On the other hand, they remember Shraxes and the curse she put on them, so they often are tempted to vengeance of one kind or another.

11 The Tinkerer:  Inventor of the Androids, the Tinkerer despises their enslavement after the Chancellor sold them wholesale.  She works for any rights for her progeny race, and she never stops tinkering and creating new inventions and discoveries.  The Tinkerer often works to help other inventors and tinkerers, especially if they seek to help Androids in some fashion.

12 The Archdruid: Head of the Church of the Wolf Mother, the Archdruid is also the most powerful
Ursyklon in Crux, possibly all of the Maru Sea.  With control over the ancient ruins of Gruudl, she has sway over many ancient tribes and families.  Her main interest is maintaining and protect the wild and sacred places in Crux- especially against possible incursion or corruption from industry, arcane experimentation or even hypothetical aboleth infiltration.

13 The Prince: The Prince is The Prince.  Countless rumors abound on his nature- many think of him as the same as the Prince in the myths that originally trapped Shraxes underneath Crux long ago.  He controls the city government, its City Watch, and one of the two most powerful criminal organizations in the region.  The Prince looks to maintain his power, often from the shadows- the more subtle he can be, the better.


I'd write up more, but that covers the basics around Crux Icons for now.  I also plan on getting into more detail on the places and faces of Crux as well- that's for a different post, though.  I going to use these Icons like in 13th Age to guide my plots and the like.  It feels like a step in the right direction.

Thanks for reading.  All comments are welcome.  Good ideas are praised.  Bad ideas are ignored and Great ideas are stolen.  See ya around the bend.