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The Burned Lands Part 4 – The God Wars

The God Wars were the worst event in the history of The Burned Lands.  As the Gods decended into madness, their followers followed suit, creating a world where great knowledge, art, and magic were lost for all times.  For a thousand years, the war killed and maimed generations of people.  Thankfully, that madness has been over for a century.  No one knows what started it, but they all know what ended it.

By the time the war was over, only three gods were left.  Today, I’ll introduce you to each of them.

First there is Antarus, God of the Sun.  Antarus was a philosopher and artist prior to the war, but he turned into a fierce combatant after his wife, Lura (Goddess of Magic) was killed when her temple at Ka-Saroth fell.  He was responsible for killing the last of the Dark Gods to fall.

Next is Vania (pronounced van-EYE-uh), Goddess of Elves.  Originally the elven goddess of war only, she was the last of the elven gods early in the war.  It was then that she created her chosen people, the Vandrosin Elves, fierce warriors who are devoted solely to her.  As such, she was able to secure the safety of her people and ensure thier survival.

Last is Darketh, God of Hell.  Darketh is the last of the Dark Gods.  Originally, he was a God of Torment, but took over the realm of Hell after the rest of the Dark Gods fell.  He too is a fierce warrior, but he is also practical.  It became clear that Antarus was working to get Vania to rejoin the fight against him, so offering a peace was the only choice.

Now, the gods rest in an uneasy peace.  Only their numbers keep them in check today.  Instead, they wage any wars by proxy, through their followers, creating an uneasy world power struggle.  In time, perhaps this too will end.  But only time will tell.

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September 8, 2008 Posted by | RPG | | Leave a comment

The Burned Lands Part 3 – Class Groups

With the blog carnival in full effect, here’s the latest addition to The Burned Lands, my homebrew world that is currently in development.  The term class groups may sound like roles from 4e, but really they aren’t.  Instead, these are classes that have some sort of bond based on common origins, common command structures, etc.  This was actually inspired by the druidic orders from history, and spiraled from there.

As it was ripped off from historical druids, why not start there?  The Druidic Order consists, obviously, of druids.  However, bards are also part of this order.  Anyone can be a troubedor, but not everyone can be a bard.  In The Burned Lands, PC classes are unique, and the bard is no exception.  Bards are trained by the Druidic Order and are responsible for keeping the Lore alive through their stories and can, if necessary, serve as judges and diplomats.  Druids, since they worship nature rather than dieties, survived the God War realatively intact and are not the most plentiful healers on the island.  The order also has the NPC class of Brehon, which is basically a judge/lawyer class.  While druids and bards can fill this role, the brehons are specially trained for this.

As I’m a huge fan of the martial classes, let’s visit them next.  The Martial Path is made up of fighters, rangers, berserkers (which are just barbarians renamed), scouts, and warblades.  It also contains the NPC class of warrior (as outlined in the 3.5 DMG as opposed to Unearthed Arcana).  Their niche in society is pretty obvious.  Rangers could easily fit within the Druidic Order, and will often serve the druids, but most of their abilities are martial in origin which is why they are in this path.  Now, you’ll notice that there are no monks here.  Unfortunately, the monk class doesn’t fit within the context of The Burned Lands at this time, so unfortunately they’re not there.  As more of the world is explored, it’s possible they’ll show up.

What would a fantasy world be without magic?  The Arcane Path is made up of wizards and warlocks.  Based on the magic system I’ve outlined recently, there was no reason to keep around the sorcerer, so they’re gone.  Warlocks, on the other hand, offer something a bit different to the table.  Now, I honestly like the 4e version better, so warlock characters will need to outline how they formed the pact and with what.  NPC adepts, as outlined in the DMG, also reside in this path.  In The Burned Lands, adepts are viewed with the same awe as any other magic user, due to there being so few of them.

Lastly, is the Religious Path.  Clerics and Paladins reside here, as to NPC priests with no spellcasting abilities.  Their extensive training to follow the Gods (there are only three left, which will be outlined later) forges a bond between these two classes, which only makes sense really.

Now, you haven’t seen the rogue.  Don’t worry, they’re still around.  They simply follow no particular path.  As rogues, they tend to be outside of society anyways, so they continue this so far as the path system is concerned as well.  OK…honestly, I wasn’t sure where to put them, but this seems to work just as well, don’t you agree? 😉

Now, you may be wondering why I bothered grouping these classes.  It’s a fair question really.  Character interactions are often adlibbed with no real guidance.  Different paths have approached the world differently, creating philosophical differences between individuals.  By grouping the classes, we can see where these tensions lie.  Classes within a group will get along as a whole, but obviously there are exceptions where an idividual is the issue, rather than the class.

The Druidic Order gets along with the martial path and that’s about it.  There is always tension between the druids and the religious path.  There also tends to be a great deal of tension with the arcane path as well.

The martial path gets along with druids and the religious path, but doesn’t get along to well with the arcane path (with exceptions based on individuals).

The arcane path tends to see themselves as slightly superior to the other paths, but will work with them when essential.  However, they don’t get along with any of them.

The religious path gets along well with the martial path, but view the druidic order with mistrust and, at times, open hostility.  They also mistrust the arcane path, but only because of the devestation that wizards left in their wake after the God War.  They can’t help but feel that wizards are a true danger to the entire world!

So, there’s the latest of The Burned Lands.  I hope you all enjoy what I’ve laid out so far.

September 4, 2008 Posted by | RPG | | 4 Comments

The Burned Lands Part 2 – Magic…Magic is What Brings Us Together…Today

Continuing along with my entry into the RPG Blog Carnival, I thought I’d take a moment to share the Burned Lands magic system for a moment.  This is one place that I actually go way, way off from the core rules.  So far, I haven’t actually play tested it, and frankly it could suck major ass, but I’m going to try it anyways.  To start with, let me say that I have some issues with spell casters in general.  It’s simply that the classes are to under powered at lower levels, and to plentiful for the power they achieve at higher levels.  Of course, as with all things, this is just my opinion, but since it’s my world, I get to act on them ;).  Of course, this system actually changes all magic, not just wizards, but I digress.  Wizards makes a pretty good example class for this discussion.

The first thing I did was rip away all “fire and forget” spells.  Wizards have to make an attack roll on everything.  This was to balance out the other changes and take away any “game breaking” aspects.  Armor does protect a target from magical effects somewhat as well.  Wizards have two seperate attack bonuses to keep up with.  One is the BAB, but the other is their magical attack bonus.  Basically, it’s their level just like a fighter’s is.  Wizards can add their INT bonus, and Clerics add their WIS.  Bards add their CHA bonus obviously.  This is a 4th Edition rule that I actually like.  Frankly, it makes sense on all levels, so why not use it, right?

Another thing I’ve done is merge the Wizard and the Sorcerer classes.  I call the combined class “Mage”.  They have the known spells of a sorcerer and the spells per day of a wizard.  However, they have to study their spells each night to retain them.  If not, they have a 25% chance to forget.  The chance increases another 25% each day until it’s forgotten or they study the spell again.  The assumption is that the mage will study until it’s fully replenished.  The ability to forget a spell gives the mage a flexibility that I feel is important for the whole group.  After all, if they come across the Knock spell, but the mage already has all his spells for that level, he may want to learn that spell.  This mechanic is there for that reason.

Now, another thing that 4e does for wizards that I like is the at-will powers are spells that they can cast whenever, making it so a wizard will never run out of spells.  At low levels, that is fantastic!  I like that so well that I’m working on a feat called Ingrained Spell.  The mage has studied a spell so well, it has permenantly engrained itself into the mage’s mind so he can not forget it.  However, it takes up the slot of two (or possibly more) known spells.  This way, the mage will always have something like Magic Missile. (Can you tell that there’s a lot about 4e wizards that I like? ;)).

Lastly, the mage class has some fluff that must be dealt with.  In The Burned Lands, magic users are pretty rare.  Magic is just as powerful, and it’s not some epic quest to become a magic user, but there just aren’t to many of them left.  Most of them were killed during the God War that lasted a thousand years.  There are very, very few mages left.  In fact, there are only three high level mages still alive, and they don’t get along well enough to have a school.  As such, there are fewer spells just laying around and no magical items shops to speak of.  Higher level spells must be either researched all to hell and back, or a quest must be taken for these lost tomes of arcane lore.  This helps to keep higher levels in check just a bit…or at least I hope so.

The magical system here is still in the highly experimental stage.  This is just a rough outline to hopefully spur the imagination of some of you folks.  Any feedback is welcomed, as you may (and probably) see something I missed.  So enjoy! 😉

September 2, 2008 Posted by | RPG | , | 4 Comments

The Burned Lands Part 1 – The Beginning

I’m a huge history buff.  One of the most fascinating eras for me is found in Britian after the Roman’s pull out, but before it converted to a Saxon realm.  This is the time that any historical King Arthur would have lived, and the era is beyond cool in my opinion.  This has inspired me to create a world based on this era of our own history.  Since Donny the DM has started the second RPG Blog Carnival, and I missed the first completely, I figured “what the hell” and figure I’d post my world.  The name, The Burned Lands, is tenative.  This series, however, will not continue uninterrupted. 😉

History

For over 1,000 years, the followers of the Gods battled for dominion over the world as the Gods themselves battled for dominion in the heavens.  The war itself practically destroyed the mighty Intarian Empire, and left most of it’s citizens on their own.  Most of the great cities are now independent, the lords of those cities having lost all sense of Intarian citizenship during the time since the Empire fell.

Now, people are having to fight for their homes against savage humanoids who seek to take the lands by force, particularly on the islands.

Land

Most everything starts off on the Island of Arius, which is the equivelent of Britian roughly.  Across the Ellian channel is the main contenent.  The primary city of the continent now is Ellamore, an elven land surrounded by ocean for half, and mountains for another half.  During the Intarian Empire’s hey day, they generally left Ellamore alone.  As such, the elven peoples were independent and weathered the effects of the Intarian Empire falling fairly well.  However, they did NOT escape the ravages of the God War.

Races

All the 3.5 Core races are present, along with one custom race.  I’m also considering adding Warforged from the Eberron campaign setting.  Other races could, theoretically, be played without it being a problem for the world to handle.  However, at this time I don’t feel comfortable running a bunch of exotic races.

Classes

Most of the 3.5 Core classes are present except Monk…at least for now.  Frankly, the class just doesn’t fit with the world as it is now.  In time, as the world is explored, it’s entirely possible to discover a culture with Monks.  Three classes that aren’t Core classes are the Warblade, which I like alot to fill the role of a student of single combat rather than a fighter with extra spiffiness, the Scout, and the Warlock.  I do require that Warlocks have a background explaining where their power came from (using the pacts from 4e as a guide works for me).

For most PC classes, there are equivalent NPC classes.  For example, there are the 3.5e DMG warriors for fighters and warblades, adepts for wizards (which work differently in my world…but just a bit), and priests for clerics (priests can’t cast any type of magic, they just minister to the masses).

One additional note is that the Barbarian class is called the Berserker class.  In this world, barbarian is a culture, not a class.  Berserkers are the elite warriors of the barbarian cultures.

Magic

As noted above, magic works differently in this world.  However, this will require a post all it’s own.  However, magic is just as powerful as any high magic world.  However, there just aren’t a lot of wizards.  As such, a 1st level Adept looks to the masses like a powerful wizard!

Conclusion…sort of

That’s about all for this post.  Obviously, there’s still plenty left to cover here, but I think this gives one an overview.  I hope others find this world as interesting as I personally do!

August 31, 2008 Posted by | RPG | | 3 Comments