Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Another PDF Compilation, Again

This post links to a PDF compilation of recent space fantasy material, including an asteroid settlement known as the Grotto, an article about creating a calendar for a campaign world, and writeups for four factions in that setting.

Aetherial Adventures 5

-Nate


Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Navigators

This post presents another faction that could be used in a space fantasy or nautical Pathfinder campaign.

-Nate


The Navigators
Ostensibly a professional organization dedicated to studying the galaxy and practicing the art of charting courses between bodies floating in the aether, this group is in fact the cover for a secret society. Them are obsessed with the idea that interaction between the (as they see it) male sun and the (in their view) female earth is the source of all creation. While some promote belief in the Universal Architect, they see the aforementioned relationship as a necessary emanation from that being in order to facilitate the rest of the creative act. Such notions are, it should be noted, controversial.

Goal: Discovery and, um, Knowledge
While their publicly stated goals focus on exploring the galaxy and promulgating knowledge of the planets, asteroids and other bodies that can be found in it, their unofficial activities that focus on the male-female relationship mentioned above. Indeed, in said act they see a ritual that can promote the essential virility of life in the universe, one that should be conducted over and over in order to promote such vital energies. As such, they're also dedicated to worshiping the Goddess of Love and Beauty.

Alignment: NG
Given the nature of their rituals, members of the Navigators are not accepting of social strictures that impede natural desires. On the other hand, given their respect for all living things, they also don't like doctrines that are enforced against the will of common people.

Leader
Although the hierarchy in this organization is not as strict as those in other groups, the acknowledged leader is a mystic theurge named Giovanni di Savilla—an individual who combines the studies of a diviner wizard with the passion of cleric who worships the Love Goddess.

Headquarters
Instead of just one location that provides a focus for the group's activities, the Navigators maintain a variety of places in which they conduct their trade and undertake their rituals. A typical example of this is a well-regarded bookshop, one in which buyers can find a variety of tomes and maps detailing the worlds of the Sol System, along with assorted curiosities and other, more mundane texts. 


1. Front Room
In the front of the shop there is a table at which the shopkeeper is stationed to receive customers.

2. Stacks
All manner of books, maps and other such items can be found throughout this area. Additionally, in the space behind the front room is a table at which visitors can sit and take their time in examining items.

3. Office
This room is furnished with a bookcase, desk and storage trunk. The latter item is sealed with a good lock, and contains the bookstore's working capital: 124 gp, 381 sp and 274 cp. There's also a ledger with a record of the shop's legitimate business transactions.

4. Stairways
In addition to the stairs that lead up to the building's upper level, a secret door (DC 20 Perception) provides access to the basement, in which the organization's more private entertainments occur. 

 5. Bedrooms
Each of these rooms is comfortably appointed, due to the relative affluence of those who run the bookshop. Furnishings include a bed and a wardrobe—along with a desk in the smaller room.

6. Study
The larger bedroom (see above) connects to a small library, a room lined with bookshelves and filled by a large writing desk. It is from here that the group's leader steers the organization, writing texts that present sacred instructions, responding to letters from the faithful, and the like.

7. Kitchen
Given their hedonistic tendencies, it should come as not surprise that this group provides plenty of food and drink for its members. As such, the kitchen is outfitted with all manner of pots, pans, dishes and utensils, along with a pantry stocked with beverages and foodstuffs, and a closet containing linens, silverware and the like.

8. Dining Room
A table and chairs here provide a place where the shop's everyday inhabitants can take their meals.

9. Lounge
This is where the society holds its meetings. There's a smaller semi-circle of chairs for more intimate groups, or a ring of couches for larger gatherings.

10. Storage
The shelves that line the walls of this room are stocked with all manner of beverage, along with dainty preserved foods and sweetmeats. There are also candles, incense, linens and the like.

11. Meeting Room
A broad table surrounded by high-backed chairs fills this space, which is reserved for those times when the group holds more formal meetings.


Using the Navigators 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.
  • Ostensibly, characters can seek out these Navigator chapter houses in order to find information about other planets as well as the space that lies between them. Given their expansive knowledge, members of this group are accomplished scholars and herbalists.
  • In a similar vein, a Navigator could seek to hire the PCs as part of an expedition to acquire some lost relic, bit of lore or potent magical component that the organization needs for one of its rituals or projects.
  • When the son or daughter of a high-society family decides to join the Navigators, that young person's parents asks the PCs to bring back the wayward individual. Will the PCs do so, or will they develop sympathy for the youth?
  • Those who are strong warriors, beautiful magicians, charming bards or the like might be invited to participate in one of the organization's secret rituals.
  • Indeed, this group can be used to add some drama to a campaign, should a PC fall for one of its members—one who does not believe in committed relationships. This might create difficulty for the PC in question, or for an NPC who becomes jealous and vengeful as a result.
  • One of the Navigators begins trading in secrets gained from intimate interactions with outsiders, and decides to sell that information to a rival or enemy. What is the secret, and what are others willing to do to learn it, or to see that it remains unknown?
  • A foul murder, using poison or some other stealthy means, happens at one of the Navigators' meetings that's being held as a masquerade; the ensuing investigation becomes complicated because of the illicit nature of the group's ritual activities.
  • These matters become even more complicated when an opponent of the organization accuses the Navigators of summoning demons and devils as part of their rituals. Is this claim true, or just an attempt to sully the group's already delicate reputation?
  • When a crusading group of clerics—possibly followers of the Sun God or the Universal Architect—decides to shut down this organization, one or more of its members could look to the PCs for help in leaving town quickly.

Giovanni di Savilla
CR 8
XP 4800
Male human cleric 3/wizard 3/mystic theurge 3
NG medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +3
DEFENSE
AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10 (+0 Dex)
hp 38 (6d6+3d8)
Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +11
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Quarterstaff +4 (1d6)
Ranged Shortbow +4 (1d6)
Special Attacks Spells
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 10, Con 11, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 14
Base Atk +4; CMB +4; CMD 14
Feats Extra Channel, Scribe Scroll, Selective Channeling, Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus(enchantment)
Skills Craft (writing) +12, Heal +12, Knowledge (arcane) +12, Knowledge (Geography) +12, Knowledge (religion) +12, Linguistics +12, Spellcraft +9
Languages Common, Draconic, Elven, Gnomish
SQ Aura, channel energy 1d6, domains (Charm, Community), orisons; arcane bond (amulet), arcane school (enchantment), cantrips; combined spells (1st and 2nd)
Combat Gear Fancy clothing, masterwork quarterstaff, masterwork shortbow, ring of protection +1, ring of sustenance, cloak of resistance +2, elixir of love, spellbook, silver holy symbol, pouch of writing materials
Cleric Spells per Day: 4/4+1/4+1/3+1
Spells Prepared: Create water, guidance, purify food and drink, resistance; bless, charm person, comprehend languages, endure elements, protection from evil, sanctuary; calm emotions, eagle's splendor, hold person, owl's wisdom, status; dispel magic, locate object, prayer, suggestion
Wizard Spells per Day: 4/4/4/3
Wizard Spells Known: All cantrips; charm person, comprehend languages, hypnotism, identify, mage armor, sleep, true strike; daze monster, detect thoughts, fox's cunning, hypnotic pattern; arcane sight, clairaudience/clairvoyance, heroism, tongues

Giovanni di Savilla is, to put it bluntly, a hedonist. He is good-regarding his fellow people, and brilliant in his study of the heavens, but still a hedonist. That is what led him to develop his theology of divine coupling, as he calls it, and to combine the study of arcane magic with devotion toward the holy. As such, he is content to play the role of a modest research and bookseller, helping others go about their business, so long as he and his followers have time in which to conduct their own rituals.


Cleric of the Love Goddess
CR ½
XP 200
Various human cleric 1
NG medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +2
DEFENSE
AC 13, touch 11, flat-footed 12 (+1 Dex, +2 armor)
hp 9 (1d8+1)
Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +4
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Light mace +0 (1d6)
Ranged Shortbow +1 (1d6)
Special Attacks Spells
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 15, Cha 14
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 11
Feats Extra Channel, Selective Channeling
Skills Heal +6, Knowledge (religion) +3
Languages Common
SQ Aura, channel energy 1d6, domains (Charm, Community), orisons
Combat Gear Clothing, leather armor, silver holy symbol, light mace, shortbow, quiver of 20 arrows, healer's kit
Spells per Day: 3/2+1
Spells Prepared: Create water, guidance, resistance; bless, charm person, protection from evil

Some might call these clerics naive, but they would argue that their message is true: the more love that people have for each other, the better life will be for all. They are truly free spirits, always interested in going somewhere or meeting someone new.

Wizard Enchanter
CR ½
XP 200
Various human wizard 1
NG medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception -1
DEFENSE
AC 11, touch 11, flat-footed 10 (+1 Dex)
hp 7 (1d6+1)
Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Quarterstaff +0 (1d6)
Ranged Light crossbow +1 (1d8)
Special Attacks Spells
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 8, Cha 14
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 11
Feats Scribe Scroll, Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus(enchantment)
Skills Craft (writing) +6, Knowledge (arcane) +6, Knowledge (geography) +6, Linguistics +6, Spellcraft +6
Languages Common, Elven, Draconic
SQ Arcane bond (amulet), arcane school (enchantment), cantrips
Combat Gear Clothing, spellbook, quarterstaff, light crossbow, case of 10 bolts, amulet, pouch with writing materials
Spells per Day: 3/2
Spells Known: All cantrips; charm person, comprehend languages, hypnotism, identify, sleep

While a little more business-minded than their cleric colleagues, the wizards who work in Mr. di Savilla's bookshop still delight in using their magic to influence the minds of others. They are friendly people who enjoy good food, good drink, and good company.



Friday, January 6, 2017

The Freebooters' Fellowship

As the first post of the new year, this one presents a band of space pirates who prey upon commercial traffic in aetherspace.

-Nate



Freebooters' Fellowship
While a number of organizations—especially the Elven Navy, the Royal Interplanetary Company and the Dwarven Mining Guild—seek to monitor and even control commerce and other activities in space, there are others who wish to pursue any opportunity for profit in a completely unbridled manner. Some call them pirates, while others prefer “ladies and gentlemen of fortune,” but they refer to themselves as Freebooters.

Goal: Profit
Ultimately the Freebooters seek to turn an easy profit so that they can live comfortably. For some, that means earning enough to spend some time living well in a settlement before heading out on another voyage; others, though, seek to make that one big score that would let them settle down once and for all, leaving life on the account behind themselves and perhaps even setting themselves up as part of the local aristocracy.

Alignment: CN
While some Freebooters seek more to “rob from the rich and give to the poor,” others are bloodthirsty and wicked in their ways. The common thread, though, is a lack of concern for the laws of the Known Worlds and the space that lies between them.

Leader
This organization is unique in that it doesn't have one individual in control of it. Rather, individual captains command their own vessels, and have banded together in a loose affiliation that agrees not to interfere in each other's business. Sometimes this is more easily said than done, of course.

Headquarters
While they don't have their own specific base of operations, the Freebooters can often be found at the Sign of the Cup and Loaf in the asteroid settlement known as the Grotto (follow the link below for details). There are rumors of other hideouts, too, with each captain favoring a particular location. 


Using the Freebooters' Fellowship 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. 
  • PCs who share this organization's outlook on life could seek to join the Fellowship and then work their way upward to gain influence in it. They might have to deal with rival captains, especially those whose motivation and methods differ from their own.
  • Alternately, the PCs could find their own vessel, or one on which they're employed, under attack by cutthroats who wish to plunder valuables belonging to them or to their employers.
  • For a twist on that premise, the PCs could learn that a member of their crew is in league with the pirates and has sold them out for a share of the booty.
  • Expanding on that notion, they might even discover a broader conspiracy, one that involves high-ranking members of influential groups.
  • Once the pirates have established themselves as a system-wide menace, one or more of the powers that be offer the PCs letters of marque and reprisal to help deal with the problem once and for all.

Pirate Captain
CR 8
XP 4800
Various fighter 9
CN medium humanoid
Init +5; Senses Perception +1
DEFENSE
AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 15 (+1 Dex, +3 armor, +1 Dodge)
hp 72 (9d10+18)
Fort +8, Ref +4, Will +3
Resist Bravery +2
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Cutlass +15/+10 (1d6+7)
Ranged Shortbow +13/+8 (1d6+2)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10
Base Atk +9; CMB +12; CMD 23
Feats Critical Focus, Dodge, Improved Critical, Improved Initiative, Lunge, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Skill Focus: Profession (sailor), Weapon Focus (cutlass), Weapon Specialization (cutlass)
Skills Climb +8, Profession (sailor) +11
Languages Common
SQ Armor training 2, weapon training 2 (light blades, bows)
Combat Gear Studded leather armor, +1 cutlass +1, shortbow +1, quiver of twenty arrows, miscellaneous personal items

The captain epitomizes the very nature of a pirate, as befits one who leads such a band of scallywags.

Pirate Crew Member, Novice
CR ½
XP 200
Various fighter 1
CN medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor)
hp 11 (1d10+1)
Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +0
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Cutlass +3 (1d6+1)
Ranged Shortbow +1 (1d6)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 13, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 9
Base Atk +1; CMB +2; CMD 12
Feats Skill Focus: Profession (sailor), Weapon Focus (cutlass)
Skills Climb +5, Profession (sailor) +7
Languages Common
SQ None
Combat Gear Leather armor, cutlass, shortbow, quiver of twenty arrows, miscellaneous personal items

While individual personalities show a tremendous amount of variation, one quality that all of them share is the desire to win a profit for themselves no matter the legality or risk. They are intrepid souls, but also ones who sometimes are given to squabbling amongst themselves if they think that a given course of action might not be lucrative.

Pirate Crew Member, Veteran
CR 4
XP 1200
Various fighter 5
CN medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +1
DEFENSE
AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+1 Dex, +3 armor, +1 Dodge)
hp 42 (5d10+10)
Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +1
Resist Bravery +1
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Cutlass +10 (1d6+5)
Ranged Shortbow +7 (1d6)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10
Base Atk +5; CMB +8; CMD 19
Feats Dodge, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Skill Focus: Profession (sailor), Weapon Focus (cutlass), Weapon Specialization (cutlass)
Skills Climb +8, Profession (sailor) +11
Languages Common
SQ Armor training 1, weapon training 1 (light blades)
Combat Gear Studded leather armor, masterwork cutlass, masterwork shortbow, quiver of twenty arrows, miscellaneous personal items

These grizzled souls are, for the most part, just like their less experienced comrades, but their time sailing the spacelanes has taught them some important lessons—and turned them into much more dangerous foes.





Friday, December 30, 2016

Factions in a Space Fantasy RPG Campaign

An intriguing element of the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign is the inclusion of factions, power groups in the campaign setting by which the PCs can be employed. In that vein, detailed here are some organizations that could be part of a space fantasy campaign. 

Note that additional information about the the two groups presented here can be found in other articles on the blog, which are linked below. 

-Nate


Elven Navy
As mentioned above, it is the elves who first dared to board aetherships and venture out among the planets and, eventually, the stars. (Credit for inventing the solar vessel, and then putting it together with flying sails, wind cordage and an orb of control goes to clerics of the Sun God, of course, but it is the elves who first really made use of the resulting vehicle. That is, at least, according to them.) What none can argue is that the elves have also built the premier fleet of aetherships and organization of sailors and soldiers throughout the Known Worlds.

Goal: Exploration and Defense
Given the fact that their long lives allow them to undertake missions that would require commitment from generations of humans, it should come as no surprise the elves are interested in exploration. In order to pursue that end in a safe and orderly manner, however, the elves have also been given cause to develop a strict military organization, one that, if it seems to go against their free and independent natures, also has let them become the power with which to reckon in the galaxy.

Alignment: LG
In addition to promoting the general well-being of all that is favored by many of their race, these elves also possess a deep and effective sense of discipline.

Leader
Currently, the highest-ranking member of the Elven Navy is Admiral Solinus (refer to a previous article to find stats for him, as well as for his underlings).

Headquarters
The Elven Navy is based out of Starfort Station, located on an icy moon with underground seas that orbits a gas giant planet (refer to a previous article to find a map and location descriptions for it).

Using the Elven Navy in an Aetherial Adventures Campaign
The aforementioned previous article has plot hooks involving the Elven Navy, too.





Temple of the Universal Architect
While many of the deities people worship have specific spheres of influence, there's one who is regarded as the mind behind all aspects of creation: the Universal Architect. Worshipers of this god believe that there is immutable truth and reasoning in the galaxy, if only one properly seeks it.

Goal: Discovery, Education and Support
As they seek to reveal the mysteries of the universe, clerics and other followers of the Universal Architect also work to share there knowledge, believing that doing so helps to empower others so that they can pursue their own paths to illumination. In a similar vein, they also promote charitable work that helps meet people's basic physical needs, since it's a lot easier to work at bettering oneself when those needs are being met. Additionally, the Temple has been known to hire parties of adventurers to help lead expeditions, both to remote areas on Homeworld as well as to other planets throughout the solar system.


Alignment: LN
This god's followers believe that only by promoting and preserving order can people lead the kinds of lives that will make this world a better place.

Leader
Upon ascending to the rank of High Priest, the leading cleric of this order takes the honorary name of Imhotep. The current individual to do so, a powerful human cleric, is the thirty-second person to take that name. (Refer to a previous article to find stats for Imhotep and other clerics.)

Headquarters
The followers of the Universal Architect are based out of a temple in the Holy City on Homeworld (refer to a previous article to find floorplans and area descriptions for it).

Using the Temple of Ptah in an Aetherial Adventures Campaign
The aforementioned article has suggestions for plot hooks involving this organization, too.





Thursday, December 29, 2016

Dwarf Asteroid Miners

To go with yesterday's post, here are stats for dwarf asteroid miners.

-Nate


Dwarf Asteroid Miner (Rookie)
CR ½
XP 200
Various dwarf fighter 1
LN medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +1; Darkvision, 60 ft.
DEFENSE
AC 13, touch 9, flat-footed 13 (+4 armor, -1 Dex)
hp 12 (1d10+2)
Fort +4, Ref -1, Will +1
Resist Hardy
OFFENSE
Spd 20 ft.
Melee Dwarven waraxe +3 (1d10+1)
Ranged Heavy crossbow +0 (1d10)
Special Attacks Hatred
STATISTICS
Str 13, Dex 9, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 6
Base Atk +1; CMB +2; CMD 11
Feats Skill Focus (Profession (miner), Weapon Focus (dwarven waraxe)
Skills Climb +5, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +4, Profession (miner) +8
Languages Dwarven, Common
SQ Slow and steady, defensive training, stability, stonecunning, weapon familiarity
Combat Gear Clothing, chain shirt, dwarven waraxe, heavy crossbow, case of twenty quarrels, backpack, mining tools (pick, shovel, sacks, rope, hammer, iron spikes, lantern, etc.), miscellaneous personal items, potion of cure light wounds, stash of 5d6 gp

Each of these miners is a daring and hearty soul, one who accepts the risks of life in aetherspace in the hope of becoming comfortably wealthy from the profits that can be had in asteroid mining. While the typical dwarf miner is all business during a delve, he can relax and share a good story or song over a cup of ale once the day's work is finished. These dwarves can be fierce foes, too, when they think that their territory or livelihood are threatened.

Dwarf Asteroid Miner (Veteran)
CR 4
XP 1200
Various dwarf fighter 5
LN medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +2; Darkvision, 60 ft.
DEFENSE
AC 13, touch 9, flat-footed 13 (+4 armor, -1 Dex)
hp 42 (5d10+10)
Fort +6, Ref +0, Will +3
Resist Hardy, bravery +1
OFFENSE
Spd 20 ft.
Melee Dwarven waraxe +9 (1d10+4)
Ranged Heavy crossbow +5 (1d10)
Special Attacks Hatred, weapon training 1 (axes)
STATISTICS
Str 13, Dex 9, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 6
Base Atk +5; CMB +6; CMD 15
Feats Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Reload, Skill Focus (Profession (miner), Weapon Focus (dwarven waraxe), Weapon Specialization (dwarven waraxe)
Skills Climb +9, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +8, Profession (miner) +13
Languages Dwarven, Common
SQ Slow and steady, defensive training, stability, stonecunning, weapon familiarity, armor training 1
Combat Gear Clothing, chain shirt, masterwork dwarven waraxe, masterwork heavy crossbow, case of twenty quarrels, backpack, masterwork mining tools (pick, shovel, sacks, rope, hammer, iron spikes, lantern, etc.), miscellaneous personal items, potion of cure moderate wounds, stash of 6d20 gp

Those dwarves who stay on in the business acquire some wealth, and thus are able to afford better equipment.

Variations on a Theme
The stats presented above represent typical dwarven miners. As part of their operation, however, some of the dwarves specialize in crewing an aethership, while others craft weapons and other items. To represent that, one only needs to change around some skills and feats. For example, a craftsman would give up Profession (miner) for Craft (weapons), while an aethership captain would exchange it for Profession (sailor). Similarly, certain feats such as Skill Focus should be changed to match the character's given focus.

Delve Captain Rudrig, son of Ragnar
CR 8
XP 4800
Various dwarf fighter 9
LN medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +2; Darkvision, 60 ft.
DEFENSE
AC 13, touch 9, flat-footed 13 (+4 armor, -1 Dex)
hp 72 (9d10+18)
Fort +8, Ref +2, Will +5
Resist Hardy, bravery +2
OFFENSE
Spd 20 ft.
Melee Dwarven waraxe +14/+9 (1d10+7)
Ranged Heavy crossbow +11 (1d10+3)
Special Attacks Hatred, weapon training 1 (axes) and 2 (crossbows)
STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 9, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 6
Base Atk +5; CMB +6; CMD 15
Feats Critical Focus, Improved Critical, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Reload, Skill Focus (Profession (miner), Weapon Focus (dwarven waraxe, heavy crossbow), Weapon Specialization (dwarven waraxe, heavy crossbow)
Skills Climb +14, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +12, Profession (miner) +17
Languages Dwarven, Common
SQ Slow and steady, defensive training, stability, stonecunning, weapon familiarity, armor training 1
Combat Gear Clothing, chain shirt, dwarven waraxe +1, masterwork heavy crossbow, case of twenty quarrels, backpack, masterwork mining tools (pick, shovel, sacks, rope, hammer, iron spikes, lantern, etc.), miscellaneous personal items, potion of cure critical wounds, stash of 300 gp

Rudrig is the son of Ragnar, one of the dwarves who accompanied the first expedition into the Asteroid Belt. His personality is quite similar to those of the men who serve on his crews, but is combined with an iron sense of loyalty and desire to see all of them find success—something he regards as a legacy inherited from his father. He is somewhat distrustful when it comes to dealing with members of the Royal Interplanetary Company, whom he regards as greedy rivals, and the Elven Navy, whom he thinks are elitist. Those who demonstrate integrity and an ability to do hard work can earn his respect, however.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Dwarven Mining Guild

This post is the first in a series that presents in greater detail various factions for a space fantasy RPG that I've mentioned in previous posts. 

-Nate


Dwarven Mining Guild
Only the elves were faster in embracing aetherial travel than were the dwarves. Indeed, the first members of that stout, earth-minded race quickly identified the asteroids of the Belt as a source for considerable mineral wealth, and immediately started working to claim it. To that end they acquired a few aetherships, and then used elemental obelisks to convert asteroids into floating facilities for smelting and smithing. Now those structures drift through the belt, providing the dwarves with facilities from which they earn considerable wealth.

Goal: Discovery, Craftsmanship and Wealth
The goals toward which Guild members work are simple: Find valuable ores among the asteroids of the Belt, mine and smelt them, and then use that metal to create items of supreme beauty and function.

Alignment: LN
By and large, the dwarves who belong to this Guild respect law and order, since that makes for a safe, secure and efficient society. They're not overly concerned about big moral issues, as long as they can find a market for their wares.

Leader
While individual captains are in charge of their own mobile facilities, they all ultimately answer to Rudrig son of Ragnar, a dwarf who participated in the First Delve and who has worked his way up through the ranks to lead the guild now.

Headquarters
Rudrig son of Ragnar can be found on his own ship, the Edifice, which is detailed below.

Using the Dwarven Mining Guild 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.
  • If the PCs are seeking to buy weapons, armor or other metal goods, then a visit to one of the Mining Guild's ships is their best bet for finding what they want.
  • Alternately, they could be hired to deliver foodstuffs and other important cargo to the floating facility, possibly even live animals such as goats of sheep. Naturally, such a voyage would not go smoothly.
  • Alternately, they could be hired to help guard the delivery of a valuable cargo that pirates are plotting to steal.
  • The PCs could be present when—or might come along shortly after—the dwarves find something unexpected among the asteroids, perhaps a monster such as a xorn or a purple worm, or even evidence of a lost civilization.
  • Arriving at one facility, they find that all of its inhabitants are dead. What is the cause of this calamity, and is it still a danger to the PCs?

Mining Guild Mobile Mining, Smelting & Smithing Facility

These facilities consist of a small asteroid outfitted with an elemental obelisk, outfitted to function as a smelting facility and smithy, and towed by an aethership such as a dhow. 


 Refer to the maps above and below for the following location descriptions.

1. Mess Hall
This small building has a hearth against the wall opposite the door, with a spit for roasting meat above it. There are also barrels of water, beer and wood, along with tables for preparing and serving food. Additionally, there are platters, utensils, pots, pans and the like.

2. Barracks
The walls of these structures are lined with eight beds, each of which is accompanied by a footlocker (hardness 5 and 15 hit points; DC 30 to open and DC 23 to break). These chests contain the valuables and personal items of each inhabitant. There are also two table, surrounded by chairs, at which those who aren't working or sleeping can sit, relax, and enjoy some conversation or a game of knucklebones.

3. Warehouse
This building is sealed with an iron-bound door of thick oak. Inside it is lined with shelves that are stacked with various supplies and equipment items. The middle of the floor is filled with chests and barrels that contain metal ingots, forged weapons and the like.

4. Elemental Obelisk
In the middle of the asteroid's surface level stands this magical item, which provides heat, gravity and fresh air for the facility.

5. Lift
A ten-foot-by-ten-foot platform here can be raised from the bottom level to the top via a crank mechanism, allowing items to be hauled up from below and vice versa.

6. Stairwell
From the upper level, stairs here wind down to the lower level.

7. Interior Chamber
Inside the asteroid has been hollowed out, providing room for the smelting operation and a number of individual smithing stations (detailed below). The ceiling here reaches to forty feet in height at the center of the chamber. In addition the locations here, a number of mine carts are located throughout to help with moving materials and finished products.

8. Smithing Stations
At each of these locations there are an anvil and a barrel of water, providing places where the individual dwarves can take heated pieces of metal and hammer them into useful implements and then quench them afterward.

9. Smelting Crucible
This big, cylindrical stone structure is almost as tall as the ceiling. Three side hatches open into it—one for stoking the fire, one for adding unsmelted ore and one for removing refined metals and the dross that is left behind. Characters within thirty feet of it suffer the effects of very hot conditions, while those within ten feet are affected by sever heat (see page 444 in the core rulebook for details). 


  

Monday, December 26, 2016

Creating an RPG Campaign Calendar, Part 2

Here's another batch of ideas for developing a calendar. While I'm on the subject, I'd like to take a moment to observe the seventh anniversary of this blog. 

-Nate


Holidays
In addition to laying out the basic days, weeks and months of the year, it's important—and it adds depth in the background of a campaign—to determine holidays for the setting. As mentioned above, these can provide plot hooks for the PCs, individualized for clerics and others based on the cultures from which those characters come. Suggested below are a few of the possibilities based on previous material that describes the different religions and societies of the setting.

Winter and Summer Solstices
It should come as no surprise that these days are sacred to priests and followers of the Sun God, since they represent the sun at its strongest (summer solstice) and weakest (winter). Practitioners observe them in two different ways. Just prior to the winter solstice, they fast for the day and spend their time in quiet meditation, considering all the ways in which they still have darkness in their lives. The next day—New Year Day—is a time for feasting and giving gifts: ones that have religious value, among those who lead comfortable lives, or alms for those who do not. The summer solstice, on the 14th of Cancer, is celebrated with major festivals that involve religious rituals and various entertainments such as processions, public dramatic performance and the like.

Phases of the Moon (Dates Vary)
In a similar way, the elves make their religious observances during full and new moons. Due to the roughly twenty-nine-day cycle of the moon's phases, this means that these tend to shift by a day or so every month. This fact has led some to believe the elves are haughty in their disregard for a regular calendar, but the elves see their own symmetry in the process. They observe the new moon with fasting and meditation, much like worshipers of the Sun God practice on the winter solstice, and celebrate the full moon with feasting in an outdoor or similar natural setting.

Eclipses (Dates Vary)
These events are considered important by the curious group known as the Navigators. They view them as a celestial conjunction between the male and female powers of the sun and moon, respectively. While they are widely known to celebrate with feasting and revelry, accompanied by lengthy discussions of matters important to their organization, some also believe that they engage in other, more hedonistic and possibly even orgiastic, entertainments.

Pilgrimages
Another religiously-related event that can happen at any time throughout the year is the pilgrimage. Depending on the person undertaking the journey, it can be directed toward any number of destinations. For example, elves from Homeworld feel the longing occasionally to visit the great forests of that planet (although this happens less now that they've cultivated pristine forestland on the planet Sylvanus); the dwarves feel a similar yearning to return to the mountain fortresses from which they or their ancestors hailed. This urge occasionally arises among gnomes, halflings and humans, but less often. It is almost unknown among half-orcs and other humanoids. 

Curiously, those who adhere to the Cult of the Void view the Asteroid Belt as a destination for pilgrimages, since the apparent destruction of that world embodies the entropic force of their deity. A small subset of their number even believe that the asteroids, which occasionally drift away into a planet's atmosphere and thus burn up as meteorites, provide some kind of mystic hint regarding what might transpire in the near future.

Birthdays of Important People
Throughout the known planets, the birthdays of political leaders and other influential individuals provide another reason for celebration; just a few examples are provided here.
  • The birthday of Imhotep, high priest of the Universal Architect, occurs on the 21st of Sagittarius. This is a day when the faithful of that god show their gratitude by performing some kind of service for the church, although some of the wealthy just send a monetary donation.
  • Qasim al-Saqr Ra'is, leader of the corsairs who first claimed the Holy City, has his birthday on the 17th of Aquarius. This affair is a chance for members of the Captains' Council to celebrate their successes and show off their wealth, in the form of public feasting, processions and other public entertainments.
  • King Edmund III, titular head of the Royal Interplanetary Company, was born on the 23rd of Virgo. His day is a break from normal work, celebrated with food and drink, song and dance—ranging from the common fare of the working classes to the sumptuous entertainments enjoyed by the nobles.
  • Finally, it should be noted that the elves and dwarves generally don't celebrate birthdays, seeing the course of a year as being but a small part of their long lives.
Anniversaries of Important Events
In the same way as birthdays, the anniversaries of events such as battles, treaties and similarly important occurrences provide another excuse for celebration.
  • Among the dwarves occupied in mining the Asteroid Belt, First Delve is a holiday that marks the beginning of those efforts. Taking place on the 13th of Capricorn, it provides a break from their normal work, a time for singing songs of old and future glories, before returning to work the next day.
  • The elves observe anniversaries of departure dates for their arkships, which set out on long journeys between the planets. These consist of short, somber prayer services, calling on the Moon Goddess to continue her blessings for those travelers.
  • In the Crossroads asteroid colony, the annual return of a familiar comet brings three days of festivities that include various competitions at archery, fencing, footraces and the like, culminating in an aethership regatta inside the asteroid belt itself.
Adding to the Calendar
Another benefit of using a calendar in one's campaign setting is that the deeds of the PCs can eventually be added to it. For example, a hero who hails from the Holy City on Homeworld and who ends up defeating a powerful and dangerous foe could eventually have her birthday observed as a local holiday there. Such would likely also be the case for the other PCs in their hometowns. Similarly, the anniversary of the great victory itself could become its own day for celebration, with tales of the great deed being told forever thereafter.