Sunday, May 28, 2017

Recruiting a Crew

This post solidifies some ideas that I've had bouncing around in my head about a process for PCs recruiting sailors. 

-Nate 


Recruiting a Crew
Whether it happens because of encountering natural hazards, losses in combat, acquiring a larger vessel or other reasons, it is inevitable that a captain at some point will need to hire new crew members. When that time comes, the Pathfinder core rulebook contains a valuable tool for adjudicating that effort: its description of the reincarnation spell. 

More specifically, the table on page 332 provides a means of determining the species of those sailors in port who are looking to hire on with a new vessel. The GM should roll on that table, and then consult the chart below to determine just how many sailors of that race are present and available for hiring.
% Chance / # Available
1 / 1d4
4 / 1d6
10 / 1d8
12 / 1d10
15 / 1d12

Note that the PCs may always continue seeking available candidates with additional rolls on the chart, but each roll after the first decreases the number of characters available by one die type. After all, passing up on the more prominent candidates means that they might need to accept whomever they can find. 

For example, Captain Horace and the crew of the Skylark pay a visit to the Crossroads asteroid colony; while there, they stop in at the Sign of the Ourobouros and look for new crew members. When they do so, the GM or a player rolls percentile, resulting in 70. Given that, the next roll is 1d10, with a result of 4. Thus, the PCs find four halfling sailors who are looking to sign on with a crew. While they could undertake negotiations to hire those NPCs, they might seek other candidates to supplement or replace the first group. 

In that case, the GM or player should roll again. This time, the percentile result is 01, which would normally yield 1d4 bugbear candidates, but that is reduced by a step to nothing, and thus yields no candidates. Eventually, of course, this means that the PCs could run through any chances of finding potential crew members at a given location, and thus must go somewhere else in order to find new candidates. At the GM's discretion, that failure could mean that the PCs receive no more attempts in that location. As always, the GM can adjudicate unusual circumstances, such as if the PCs make successful Diplomacy checks, offer large signing bonuses for recruitment or the like. Note, too, that the GM should feel free to substitute other races depending on the particular location in which they're doing the recruiting.

First Impressions and Negotiations
Recruitment also provides a good opportunity for roleplaying, as the PCs meet potential new recruits; feel out their personalities; discuss and determine shares and accommodations; and the like. At the GM's discretion, this could also involve a Diplomacy check to determine the first impression that the PCs make on these recruits, and might even have long-term implications regarding those sailors' loyalty to the captain and other crew members. 

To determine the difficulty of making a good first impression, compare the alignment of the new sailor(s) with that of the captain. Each step of difference between the two, decreases the starting attitude of the sailors one step from Helpful (and thus increases the base DC of the Diplomacy check by 5). Success on that check means that the captain has made a good impression, and thus they are more likely to remain loyal during difficult times; failure, on the other hand, could lead to dissent, factions and possibly even mutiny. Here again, the GM should apply bonuses or penalties to this check based on good or bad roleplaying or reasoning, or due to other factors.

Character Stats
Presented below is a base stat block for NPC sailors; the GM need only apply ability score modifiers and add special abilities based on the characters' race.

Typical Sailor
CR 1/3
XP X
Various expert 1
N medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +5
DEFENSE
AC 11, touch 11, flat-footed 10 (+1 Dex)
hp 8 (1d8)
Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +3
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Dagger +0 (1d4)
Ranged Dagger +1 (1d4)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 11, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 9, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 11
Feats Skill Focus (Profession: sailor)
Skills Climb +4, Knowledge (nature) +3, Perception +5, Profession (sailor) +8, Survival +5
Languages Common
SQ None
Combat Gear Clothing, knife, miscellaneous personal possessions


Adding Some Personality
Finally, Table 4-4 on pages 95-6 of the GameMastery Guide can be a helpful tool for bringing this new batch of crew members to life, providing an inkling for their general disposition.
Continuing the previous example, the GM rolls an 90 on the aforementioned table. For that reason, the four halfling sailors come from a different culture, and thus frequently ask for explanation of seemingly mundane activities. Note, too, that the GM may wish to keep the result of this check secret, thus allowing for surprising drama at some point in the future.




Friday, May 12, 2017

Campaign History, Legends and Mythology

One thing I always liked about the old Al-Qadim campaign setting for D&D was that many of the supplements contained stories that were part of the setting's tradition, ones that helped explain certain aspects of the world or that set up a particular adventure. Inspired by that idea, I'm trying my hand at developing a mythological background for a space fantasy campaign setting. With that in mind, here's one such story.

-Nate


Campaign History, Legends and Mythology
This article explores ideas for developing the large-scale, cosmological background for an RPG campaign. Consider, for example, this story from the Sol System; it takes a mythological perspective, and tries to explain the dichotomy of good and evil in a way that provides a genesis story and incorporates the deities inspired by observation of the natural world, along with two taken from real Earth history.

The Tale of Ptah, Sol, Gaea, Lamashtu and the Void
“Once, when the Universe was new, Ptah looked out and decided to start filling it with living beings. To do that, he set out to create two beings, one male and one female. What Ptah did not expect is that each creation actually produced two beings, twins. The male progeny were Sol, who would inhabit the Sun, and the entity known as the Void. The female progeny were Gaea, the Earth Mother, and Lamashtu. Mother of Monsters. Whereas the prior manifested the Earth's potential to provide for all of its children in abundance, the latter embodied the wild nature of living things, survival of the fittest, and thus an evil outlook on life.

“Recognizing the danger that his two unintended offspring represented, Ptah made a difficult decision. He created a star for Sol, so that this deity could be a shining beacon of virtue in the Universe, and also made a planet for Gaea to inhabit. Through the interaction of the two deities, the Earth came to be populated with all manner of plants, animals and other living things. Even so, the situation was not an idyllic one. While the Void absconded to the farthest, darkest reaches of Space, Lamashtu was jealous of her sister and thus took up residence on Earth. There she began to spawn offspring of her own, including many of the monsters that now exist, corrupted versions of the ones that Gaea and Sol created.

“This, then, is the origin of good and evil in the Universe, and thus the source of all conflicts that have plagued Homeworld—along with the rest of the galaxy—since time immemorial.”



Refer to page 43 of the Pathfinder core rulebook to find details about Lamashtu and her domains for clerics.

The Elven Addendum
The elves, of course, maintain an alternate version of this story, one that supports their worship of the goddess Luna.

The Origin of Luna
“What many humans forget is that the Creator had three female offspring, not two. The third was Luna, who embodied qualities of both Sol and Gaea. For that reason she was given dominion over the moon, a dwelling that illuminates the night sky in the same way as the sun, and that is a companion for the Earth in dark times. She provides light for those who travel in the night, those who explore the Earth but choose to do so without submitting themselves to the dominion of the sun.”



This belief among the elves sometimes creates conflict between them and the priesthood of Sol, since they do not believe that the sun god is the source of all illumination in the universe. Followers of Sol, for their part, maintain that Luna only reflects the sun god's light, and that she does not create illumination of her own.





Saturday, April 29, 2017

Factions: The Guardians of Gaea and the Sol Society, Part 2

Here are stats for novice and veteran members of the two aforementioned organizations.

-Nate


Guardian of Gaea, Novice
CR ½
XP 200
Various human ranger 1
NG medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +6
DEFENSE
AC 14, touch 11, flat-footed 13 (+3 armor, +1 Dex)
hp 12 (1d10+2)
Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +2
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Longsword +3 (1d8+2)
Ranged Longbow +3 (1d8)
Special Attacks Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot
STATISTICS
Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 14
Feats Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot
Skills Climb +6, Handle Animal +4, Heal +6, Perception +6, Stealth +6, Survival +6
Languages Common
SQ Favored enemy, track, wild empathy
Combat Gear Studded leather armor, longsword, longbow, quiver of 20 arrows, cloak, backpack
Spells per Day: None

Although they can be dangerous foes when they believe that their cause is threatened, these rangers are generally gentle souls who love nothing more than spending time amidst the diverse flora and fauna of their Homeworld.


Guardian of Gaea, Veteran
CR 6
XP 2400
Various human ranger 7
NG medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +6
DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 12, flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +1 Dex, +1 Dodge, +1 shield)
hp 57 (7d10+14)
Fort +8, Ref +8, Will +5
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Longsword +12/+7 (1d8+4)
Ranged Longbow +9/+4 (1d8+1)
Special Attacks Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Two-Weapon Fighting
STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +7/+2; CMB +10; CMD 21
Feats Dodge, Endurance, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Two-Weapon Defense, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (longsword)
Skills Climb +13, Handle Animal +10, Heal +12, Perception +12, Stealth +12, Survival +12
Languages Common
SQ Favored enemy x2, track, wild empathy, combat style feats, Endurance, favored terrain, hunter's bond, woodland stride
Combat Gear Studded leather armor +1, longsword +1, longbow +1, quiver of 20 arrows, cloak, backpack, cloak of resistance +1
Spells per Day: 2/1
Spells Prepared: Entangle, pass without trace; barkskin

This grizzled veteran, in addition to protecting the well-being of Mother Earth, is also dedicated to leading and protecting comrades in battle.



Also, refer to the description of the elven Arkship to find stats for druid members of this faction.

Paladin of Sol, Novice 
CR ½
XP 200
Various human paladin 1
LG medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +1
DEFENSE
AC 16, touch 10, flat-footed 16 (+4 armor, +2 shield)
hp 11 (1d10+1)
Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +5
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Morningstar +4 (1d8+2)
Ranged Light crossbow +1 (1d8)
Special Attacks Smite evil 1/day
STATISTICS
Str 15, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 16
Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 13
Feats Iron Will, Weapon Focus (morningstar)
Skills Diplomacy +7, Knowledge (religion) +3
Languages Common
SQ Aura of good, detect evil, smite evil 1/day
Combat Gear Chain shirt, morning star, heavy steel shield, light crossbow, case of 10 bolts, silver holy symbol

These paladins have dedicated their lives to the notion that shining Sol's light—that is, teaching others of his faith, and encouraging them to live good lives—can make the universe a better place. While some might consider them to be overly zealous and stodgy, they know that their chosen life paths are righteous.



Paladin of Sol, Veteran 
CR 6
XP 2400
Various human paladin 7
LG medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +1
DEFENSE
AC 20, touch 10, flat-footed 20 (+7 armor, +3 shield)
hp 50 (7d10+7)
Fort +11, Ref +5, Will +11
Resist Divine grace, aura of courage, divine health
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Morningstar +11/+6 (1d8+4)
Ranged Light crossbow +7/+2 (1d8)
Special Attacks Smite evil 1/day
STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 16
Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 13
Feats Extra Channel, Extra Lay on Hands, Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Weapon Focus (morningstar)
Skills Diplomacy +7, Knowledge (religion) +3
Languages Common
SQ Aura of good, detect evil, smite evil 3/day, divine grace, lay on hands, aura of courage, divine health, mercy, channel positive energy, divine bond, mercy
Combat Gear Chainmail +1, morning star +1, heavy steel shield +1, light crossbow, case of 10 bolts, silver holy symbol, phylactery of faithfulness
Spells per Day: 2/1
Spells Prepared: Bless, protection from evil; bull's strength

Veteran members of the Sol Society are just like their less experienced comrades, but more so in every way.




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Factions: The Guardians of Gaea and the Sol Society

Detailed below are two more factions for use in a space fantasy (or more traditional) RPG campaign.

-Nate


Guardians of Gaea
More a loose band of confederates than a group with any real structure, the Guardians of Gaea are those individuals who choose to protect Homeworld—the planet itself, and not any of the political entities upon it—from artificial harm. In that they make an important distinction; while natural disasters are acceptable, since they heed the will of nature, those calamities brought on by people's efforts must be prevented. Examples of the latter include sabotaging logging operations in ancient forests, defending a sacred mountain against invasive mining, thwarting excessive hunting practices, and the like. As such, it boasts numerous rangers and druids among its members, especially humans and halflings; less common are barbarians, dwarves and elves.

Goal: Protection, Cultivation
Ensuring that Homeworld—the Earth Mother—will always bear enough fruit to feed her children is the ultimate goal of this group. In addition to defending pristine locations in a firm but compassionate manner, the group also works to preserve animal and plant types that are threatened.

Alignment: NG
While they are committed to protecting their Earth Mother, the Guardians of Gaea are generally non-violent and seek to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner. They are not so concerned about the laws of the lands in which they work, because those laws are sometimes made by individuals who are motivated more by power and wealth than by preservation.

Leader
Unlike many other organizations, the Guardians of Gaea do not have a single reigning leader. Instead, their members make decisions through debate and then vote of all who are present.

Headquarters
Just as they lack a single leader, the Guardians also do not have permanent bases of operations. Instead they move about in nomadic encampments, forming temporary tent towns or, when conditions permit, living directly in nature's embrace. When it becomes necessary for members to meet in the city, they prefer to use garden space for doing so. 

An example of this is the meditative garden, an element favored by a number of eastern cultures. It consists of a walled enclosure that contains a carefully maintained orchard and garden. Usually there is a pond in the center, surrounded by various trees, shrubberies, flowers and other plants. Lining the exterior wall are a number of small, simple buildings that boast numerous windows, albeit ones that can be sealed with shutters during inclement weather. Such gardens provide a large, open space for full-group gatherings, as well as smaller, more intimate areas for private business.



Using the Organization in an Aetherial Adventures Campaign
This organization can provide plenty of plot elements for a space fantasy RPG campaign; presented here are a few of the possibilities.
  • This group sometimes comes into conflict with the elves of the Royal Navy, since most of that body's members revere the Moon Goddess instead of the Earth Mother. While some elves look down upon others who mingle with humans, halflings and dwarves, others are more accepting—especially when seeking aid in outfitting an arkship for a voyage to another world.
  • The same bias exists in many dwarves, who tend to favor the Universal Architect. Even so, the rare dwarves who espouse faith in the Earth Mother usually prove through their skill at working metal that their beliefs are not misguided. Such exceptional individuals are much more likely to be female than to be male.
  • Recently a controversy has arisen when certain members of this group—along with adherents to the Sol Society—became involved with the Navigators, a group of scholars whose beliefs some consider to be scandalously licentious.

Sol Society
Believing that much evil happens in the dark of night, members of this organization seek to shine the Sun God's light into every corner of the Universe. Indeed, they maintain that the Light of Truth (as they see it) can bring enlightenment and thus happiness to all places. It should come as no surprise that clerics and paladins make up most of this group's members. Additionally, many lay people pledge their loyalty to this group. Finally—although it is not widely known—a growing contingent of sorcerers threatens to pollute the purity of the Society's mission, as detailed below.

Goal: Illumination, Protection and Punishment
Spreading the Sun God's teachings and the spiritual light that they bring is the foremost mission of the Order. A close second to that is protecting the faithful, follow by bringing to justice those who do harm to his followers.

Alignment: LG
In theory, members of the Society seek to promote justice and well-being for all. In practice, however, this zeal can sometimes lead to a sense of self-righteousness that borders on intolerance for, and even persecution of, those who profess other beliefs.

Leader
Sir Cyrus is the elected leader of the group, a paladin of the Sun God who has earned the respect of his peers through wise judgment, fair dealing and bravery in battle. He divides his time between the local Church of Sol and pilgrimages into the desert, where he fasts and atones.

Headquarters
Some might be surprised by the fact that this group's headquarters in any given city is a simple, modest affair, generally a church building consisting of a few rooms and built of wood, brick or stone. Those who are familiar with the organization, of course, recognize that anything more ostentatious would embrace vanity rather than altruism. 

Said church usually boasts a broad entry area (1)—in this case, with two sets of double doors opening into it—that has a spiral staircase leading up to the bell tower. Many pegs line the walls of this room, providing a place for visitors to hang their cloaks. More double doors lead from there into the main sanctuary (2), which is filled with orderly rows of benches for the congregants. There is also a raised pulpit in the front of it. Beyond that room is a rear vestibule (3), which itself leads into a storage room (4) and the presiding priest's office (5). 


Using the Organization in an Aetherial Adventures Campaign
This organization can provide plenty of plot elements for a space fantasy RPG campaign; presented here are a few of the possibilities.
  • It almost goes without saying that the Cult of the Void is one of the Sol Society's staunch enemies, and these followers of the Sun God generally seek to expose and even eliminate those who worship the Space Between the Stars.
  • As mentioned previously, some of this group's adherents are also involved with the Navigators, an association of which the rank-and-file leadership does not approve.
  • Worshipers of Sol sometimes experience conflict with elves and others who revere the Moon Goddess, whom the elves see as striking a balance between the Earth Mother and Sun God—and thus being superior to a faith that lacks such balance. For their part, members of the Sol Society don't approve of Luna's association with the darkness of the night.
  • Given the righteous zeal of this group's members, they are not on good terms with members of the Freebooters' Fellowship. 
  • Members of the Sol Society have a special reverence for the phoenix, and send mission groups to seek out that creature whenever its location becomes known.   
  • As mentioned above, a number of sorcerers have recently taken interest in the organization. While some might be faithful who share the group's beliefs, others are thought to be zealots who associate the cleansing power of fire with the Sun God's light, and who are more interested in building up their own power than in doing good works. Indeed, some even suspect that one or more efreet might be behind this infiltration of the Society.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Elf Arkship Crew

Detailed below are statblocks for the typcial arkship crew.

Elf Arkship

-Nate


Arkship Crew
Refer to the stat blocks below to find details about a particular elven crew—usually a number of elf druids who command the expedition. Additionally, the elves often recruit one or more unicorns to make the journey, since their wild empathy ability helps the elves keep the peace aboard the arkship.

Unicorns: Refer to page 269 of the Pathfinder Bestiary.

Ordinarily, elves only stock their arkships with ordinary animals—that is, ones with the animal type. At the GM's discretion, however, they might include other, magical beasts brought aboard for some extraordinary purpose.

Elf Druid
CR ½
XP 200
Various elf druid 1
NG medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses Perception +8; Low-light vision
DEFENSE
AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+4 armor, +2 Dex)
hp 8 (1d8)
Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +4
Resist Elven immunities
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Quarterstaff +0 (1d6)
Ranged Sling +2 (1d4)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 14
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 12
Feats Animal Affinity
Skills Handle Animal +8, Heal +6, Knowledge (nature) +6, Perception +8, Survival +8
Languages Elven, Common, Druidic
SQ Elven immunities, elven magic, keen senses, weapon familiarity, nature bond, nature sense, orisons, wild empathy
Combat Gear Hide armor, quarterstaff, sling with 10 bullets, healer's kit
Spells per Day: 3/2
Spells Prepared: Create water, mending, stabilize; speak with animals

While some dismiss the elf druids as aloof, overzealous nature lovers, others respect their deep affinity for the natural world and their dedication to preserving it. Although they tend to be dispassionate when dealing with sentient beings, the druids can be very dangerous when pushed to defend the plants and animals in their care.


Owl Companion
CR NA
XP NA
Small animal
Init +2; Senses Perception +6; Low-light vision
DEFENSE
AC 14, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+1 natural, +2 Dex, +1 size)
hp 11 (2d8+2)
Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +2
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 10 ft., fly 80 ft. (average)
Melee Bite +2 (1d4), 2 talons +2 (1d4)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 6
Base Atk +1; CMB +0; CMD 13
Feats Alertness
Skills Perception +6
Languages None
SQ Link, share spells, bonus trick (fetch)

Many of the elf druids favor owls as animal companions because the birds can be used to deliver messages to others aboard the arkship.




Elf Druid Leader
CR 6
XP 2400
Female elf druid 7
NG medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses Perception +14; Low-light vision
DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+5 armor, +2 Dex)
hp 35 (7d8)
Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +8
Resist Elven immunities
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Quarterstaff +6 (1d6+1)
Ranged Sling +7 (1d4)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 14
Base Atk +5; CMB +5; CMD 17
Feats Animal Affinity
Skills Handle Animal +14, Heal +12, Knowledge (nature) +12, Perception +14, Survival +14
Languages Elven, Common, Druidic
SQ Elven immunities, elven magic, keen senses, weapon familiarity, nature bond, nature sense, orisons, wild empathy, woodland stride, trackless step, resist nature's lure, wild shape 2/day
Combat Gear Hide armor +1, quarterstaff +1, sling with 10 bullets, masterwork healer's kit, scroll of flame strike (for use in only the most dire of emergencies)
Spells per Day: 4/5/4/3/1
Spells Prepared: Create water, guidance, mending, stabilize; calm animals, cure light wounds, hide from animals, magic stone, speak with animals; barkskin, hold animal, lesser restoration, owl's wisdom; cure moderate wounds, dominate animal, neutralize poison; cure serious wounds

While male leaders are not uncommon, it is the women who are more frequently chosen to lead the druids aboard and arkship because of their ability to bond with a unicorn. In this way, both beings then work to maintain the harmony aboard the ship, helping to make sure that the balance of natural life doesn't tip too far in any given direction.



Owl Companion
CR NA
XP NA
Small animal
Init +3; Senses Perception +11; Low-light vision
DEFENSE
AC 20, touch 15, flat-footed 16 (+5 natural, +3 Dex, +1 size, +1 dodge)
hp 33 (6d8+6)
Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +4
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 10 ft., fly 80 ft. (average)
Melee Bite +5 (1d4+1), 2 talons +5 (1d4+1)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 12, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 6
Base Atk +4; CMB +1; CMD 13
Feats Alertness, Dodge, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Perception +11
Languages None
SQ Link, share spells, bonus trick (fetch), evasion, ability score increase, devotion


Life aboard an Elf Arkship
To some, the idea of living and working aboard an elf arkship is idyllic. After all, the vessels are filled with lush plants and animals more well-behaved than is typical. Although the work can be hard, it is also quite fulfilling. To others, it might seem tedious and uneventful. Only those who've undertaken this challenge recognize that the truth lies somewhere in between those two extremes—and that it can also be filled with danger, depending on the circumstances of the voyage.

Daily Routines
For the most part, life aboard the arkship consists of arbitrating conflicts between different animals, making sure that all of them have adequate food, tending to any injuries they might have suffered, and cleaning out the arkship when needed. That is why the previously presented stat blocks feature spell selections oriented toward those tasks. During a long interstellar voyage, the druids spend most of their time engaged in such tasks. 

Throughout all of this, the druids maintain the same religious observations that they would back on Homeworld. These include the full moons, during which they harvest mistletoe for use in rituals, along with the solstices and equinoxes that govern times for planting and sowing by the fluctuations in the seasons. 

There are two additional considerations to keep in mind, however. First, the arkship is almost always accompanied by a galleon of the Elven Royal Navy. This means that the druids can, if they wish, take a longboat over to the galleon for a change of scenery. Second, said galleon usually tows the aforementioned interstellar portal, allowing individuals to pass through it and back to their home planet.

Defensive Measures
Should the arkship suffer an attack, the druids can muster some impressive defenses. Most notably they use their summon nature's ally spells to rally a variety of animals in battle. More powerful druids have access to other spells, too, such as call lightning and flame strike. This is especially the case when they have forewarning about danger and thus can prepare their spells accordingly.



Thursday, April 6, 2017

Elf Arkship

A previous article presented the interstellar portal, a device that can be towed behind an aethership to facilitate travel between the stars. Detailed here is the vessel that the elves generally use for towing it, the arkship. 

To look at the interstellar portal, please check out this link. 


-Nate 


Elf Arkship

This huge aethership is some 250 feet in length and 70 in width. Rather than having numerous cabins and compartments of predetermined sizes, it provides an open, modular structure that allows captains and crews to customize the layout based on the combination of passengers and cargo that they're carrying. This is especially important when they are loaded with various plants and animals, helping to establish settlements on far-flung alien worlds. 


Upper Deck
The arkship's upper deck is a broad, open space. It boasts three masts—mizzen, main and fore. Spaced across the deck are four ten-foot-by-ten-foot cargo hatches that provide access to the lower deck. There are also four ladderwells for crew members to use. Both fore and aft the ship's keel projects upward, in a manner similar to a Viking longship. 

This deck is most commonly loaded with planter boxes containing all manner of trees, shrubs and other such greenery. Note that arkships don't usually carry armaments, but rather are accompanied by elven galleons for protection during their interstellar voyages. They do generally carry one or two aetherial longboats that they can use for shuttling crew members back and forth between the escort vessel as well as the interstellar portal, thereby allowing them to visit friends and family who've stayed back home. 


Lower Deck
Only slightly narrower and shorter than the upper deck, this level also features a series of support struts to which additional bulkheads can be attacked if there is need to compartmentalize the hold. In this way the lower deck is often divided into pens for different types of animals, along with sections that are filled with barrels, crates and other containers. Some crew members string up hammocks on this level, while others sleep in the open amidst the plant life on the upper deck. 


Type of Ship
Solar Vessel
Flying Sails
Wind Cordage
Orb of Control
Total
Elf Arkship
250,000 gp
125,000 gp
125,000 gp
62,500 gp
562,500 gp

Elf Arkship
Colossal aetherial vehicle
Squares 350 (70 ft. by 125 ft.); Cost 225,000 gp
DEFENSE
AC 2; Hardness 5
hp 5250 (2625)
Base Save +0
OFFENSE
Maximum Speed 180 ft. (magical); Acceleration 30 ft. (magical)
CMB +12; CMD 15
Ramming Damage 15d8
DESCRIPTION
This massive aethership can carry 1500 tons of cargo in addition to its normal crew complement.

Propulsion magic (three masts, 60 squares of sails, hp 300)

Driving Check Profession (pilot) +10 to the DC

Forward Facing the ship's forward

Driving Device orb of control

Driving Space the square or squares occupied by the pilot with the orb of control

Crew 20 (not including weapons crews)

Decks 2

Weapons Typically, none.





Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Factions: The Royal Interplanetary Company and the Order of the Lion

This post rounds out two more factions that were previously introduced as part of the Crossroads asteroid colony.

-Nate




Royal Interplanetary Company
While many of Homeworld's inhabitants remain blissfully unaware of life beyond their own planet, some few not only know about those possibilities but actively work to exploit them. A good example of this is the Royal Interplanetary Company, a group founded with funding from investors and approval from the local sovereign. Its members stand to turn a considerable profit, or lose all of their money, depending on the intrepid captains and crews who conduct their business.

Goal: Colonization, Trade and Profit
This group's goals focus on creating new settlements throughout Known Space, providing them with the goods they need to survive and thrive, and exploiting the inherent wealth of those worlds—eventually passing on a considerable profit to the investors as well as the sovereign.

Alignment: LN
Since law and order makes for an easier distribution of profits, members of this organization generally support the powers that be. There are occasional exceptions, however; such individuals exploit the existing legal system for their own gain. Sometimes that means bending the law, and sometimes it means blatantly breaking it.

Leader
The Company, as it is known to its members, is ostensibly controlled by King Edmund III, insofar as he can overrule any decisions made by the merchant captains. Even so, in practice those captains have tremendous autonomy, and the fact that they serve on far-flung planets and moons means that it can take a long time for the king to learn of their activities.

Headquarters
King Edmund III oversees operations, of course, from his royal palace on Homeworld. Individual captains have their own homes, ranging from small but comfortable affairs in remote colonies to grand and opulent mansions in more civilized and cosmopolitan locations. Refer to the description of Reda Manor in the Crossroads Asteroid Colony for an example of one Company base of operations. 


Using the Royal Interplanetary Company in an Aetherial Adventures Campaign
This organization can provide plenty of plot elements for a space fantasy RPG campaign; presented here are a few of the possibilities.
  • At the start of a campaign, the PCs could easily be part of a crew on a ship operated by the R.I.C.; as such, they would take orders from a Company captain and help protect the vessel against pirates and other hazards.
  • Those who amass some wealth and are interested in such activities could pursue their own captaincy, thereby becoming involved in the Company's politics.
  • Members and/or employees could be involved in exploring strange new worlds and meeting new cultures—all in the hope of discovering valuable resources and fostering trade with new markets, of course.
  • Business could require interaction with numerous rivals, including the Royal Elven Navy, the Dwarven Mining Guild, the Church of Ptah, etc.
  • Scandal erupts when it is revealed that some of the Company's captains have been involved in smuggling and, even worse, slave-trading. The PCs could be recruited to help discover the culprits and bring them to justice, or could partake in these illegal but lucrative activities.




Order of the Lion
Although this organization began as an order of knights based strictly on Homeworld, they have been charged by the King with protecting members of the Royal Interplanetary Company and their business interests. To that end, they are now commonplace aboard R.I.C. vessels as well as in settlements where they have warehouses.

Goal: Protection
Given their mandate, the sole focus for knights of this order is to protecting the personnel and material holdings of the Royal Interplanetary Company. By serving aboard R.I.C. vessels, they sometimes become involved in exploration and diplomacy as well.

Alignment: LN
These knights take promotion of law and order to an extreme, following the commands of their King as if they are gospel.

Leader
Archduke Sigmund is the chief knight of the Order; he resides at the palace of King Edmund III on Homeworld.

Headquarters
Rather than having their own bases of operations, these knights are stationed in R.I.C facilities. Refer to the description of the R.I.C. warehouse on Crossroads to find stats for knights of this Order and their commander. 


Using the Order of the Lion in an Aetherial Adventures Campaign
This organization can provide plenty of plot elements for a space fantasy RPG campaign; presented here are a few of the possibilities.
  • One or more of the PCs could, of course, be members of this organization and thus receive their marching orders from a higher-up in it; as such, they could become involved in any of the plots suggested previously for the R.I.C.
  • The Order is fond of holding parades, along with jousts and other tournaments—ostensibly, to help members hone their prowess, but in fact because some members enjoy the pageantry and spectacle of it all.
  • When scandal erupts in the R.I.C., the PC(s) could have to decide between being loyal and doing what is right.
  • This organization also provides the muscle for the R.I.C., acting as enforcers for those who run afoul of the Company.